Chapter 10 : Ai-chan’s Bodyguards
Hatayama Aiko, 25 years old. Social studies teacher.
As a teacher she taught specialized knowledge to the students, she also tried to improve their academic performance. She wasn’t someone who only gave guidance, but someone exemplary. Surely, those were serious matter for her, even more so, were her “allies”; those who thought of her as the most important person. To put it concretely, she was the adult that the kids could depend on outside of their families.
This was influenced by a big event in her student days, but let’s leave it at that. Anyway, as the ally of the students outside of their houses, Aiko’s pride as a teacher became the pillar of support that helped her call herself a teacher.
Therefore, Aiko was extremely dissatisfied by their current situation. Suddenly, while she was stunned after being summoned to another world and arbitrarily forced into a fantastic situation. The student with the greatest charisma in class continued the talks instead of her. And then when she noticed her precious students were preparing for a war.
No matter how she tried to persuade them, the decided “flow” easily swept away her opinion, she was unable to stop her students at all.
“That’s why, I will at least protect my students!”. Is what she was determined to do, but with her rare abilities, she was told to settle with being useful with the duties outside of combat (farmland improvement and development). Although she desperately tried to oppose it, she was persuaded by her students. Aiko herself was unable to object to the point of view of the right person in the right place.
She spent every day anxiously thinking about the students who were fighting beyond her reach. Guarded by temple knights of the Church of the Saints and imperial guards of the Herrlicht kingdom, she visited every farm village and undeveloped area, but when she finally completed that work and returned to the royal palace, what awaited her was a certain student’s death.
At that time, Aiko blamed herself over and over for being unable to force herself to stay with them. “After all, aren’t I just being carried away after thinking myself an ideal teacher!?” Something like that. Certainly, Aiko was perplexed because she couldn’t even be certain if something might have changed with her being there. But, this incident gasun, struck Hatayama Aiko’s head as a teacher, in other words it awakened her.
Toward the students who were unable to stand up because of the overwhelming fear of “death,” the church and the kingdom still wished for them to resume their war preparations. Aiko thought, “As if I would let it happen for a second time!”, stood to oppose the church and the nobles of the kingdom. Using her position and abilities as her shield, she shouted out, “Don’t come near my students,” to corner them.
As a result, she somehow managed to gain victory. There were no students who refused to fight. But their hearts wavered because of Aiko’s persistence. In addition, her already high popularity was grew further. Although she wouldn’t do anything like war, the ironic result was that, at the very least some of the encouraged students appeared to escort Aiko in her duties running all over the place.
“There’s no need for you to fight” and “Because the knights are escorting me, I’ll be okay”, was how she persuaded them to give up, but some of the students stood up and said “We’ll protect Ai-chan”, filled to the brim with determination. Following that, she was eventually overwhelmed, afterward they followed her around the farmlands, and “I was swept around again. I am such a bad teacher…”, while on all fours was still fresh in her mind.
By the way, this time, although the dedicated knights escorting Aiko assisted in persuading the students, somehow it became a situation where the students stubbornly refused to back down. If they asked why they opposed the bodyguards, as a consensus of all the students, they blocked everything with the words:
“As if we can leave Ai-chan to someone we don’t know!”
The students’ sense of crisis was directed at not thieves and demonic beasts on the road ahead, but rather it was turned towards Aiko’s dedicated knights. Their reason was that all of the members were good-looking guys. This was the upper echelons’ strategy to tie Aiko’s talent to the kingdom and church. In short, it was a honeytrap-thing. One of the students who noticed it informed the other students and “Protect Ai-chan from the good-looking military men corps” was formed.
However, there was a miscalculation made by the students. The so-called hunter becoming the hunted scenario. To prove it, these were the persuasive words that the knights gave the students.
Commander of the temple knights and the bodyguard, David:
“There is no need to worry. I’ll protect Aiko. I won’t let her get even a scratch. Aiko is… … my everything”
Vice-commander of the temple knights, Chase:
“For her sake, I will even throw away my beliefs. I am determined to dedicate everything for Aiko. Don’t you feel relieved even by this much?”
Imperial knight Chris:
“It’s my destiny to meet Aiko-chan. Did you think I’ll let my destined person die?”
Imperial knight Jade:
“… … I swore to risk my life. Not as an imperial knight. But, as a man”
This time, the students thought, “Just what on earth happened!? They all had a change of heart!”, something like that. In other words, at first they thought it was Aiko who would fall into the honey-trap, but after hearing those words they shout, “We won’t hand Ai-chan to unknown people!”, as if they were her parents, they didn’t want to part from Aiko’s side.
It should be noted, what happened between Aiko and them… … because it’s a long story it’ll be omitted, but Aiko’s idleness and inborn diligence made a gap. Coupled with her sincerity which permeated her surroundings, they had already become Aiko’s believer ‘when they noticed,’ well something along those lines. When told, it could become an entirely new story… … so a lot happened. A lot of things.
With that said, currently, the students were divided into Kouki’s hero group, which continued to train inside the “Orcus Great Dungeon”, the stay behind group, and Aiko’s bodyguard group.
After that, two months after the messengers of the empire visited Herrlicht kingdom, Aiko and her party that improved and developed farmland were currently using the carriage to go develop a new farmland. Their destination was the lakeside town, Ul.
“Aiko, aren’t you tired? There’s no need to hold back if you’re tired, you know? We’ll immediately take a break, okay?”
“No, I am okay. David-san. Rather, didn’t we just take a break a while ago? I am not weak after all”
Inside the spacious and large carriage, the commander of Aiko’s bodyguards’; David, worriedly talked to Aiko. Aiko’s reply was mixed with a wry smile.
“Fufu, commander just can’t stop worrying about Aiko-san. Because a while ago you were exhausted after just a day of travel… … that’s why I am also worried. Make sure to not hold yourself back, okay?”
“I apologize for the inconvenience that time. That was the first time I had traveled by carriage… … but, I am really okay because I’ve become accustomed to it. Thank you very much for your concern. Chase-san”
At first, Aiko displayed disgraceful behavior because she had yet to experience how a carriage moved, she blushed because she was reminded of her past, and thanked the vice-commander of the bodyguards; Chase. Towards the blushing Aiko, Chase covered his mouth with his hand in agony, and tried to casually take Aiko’s hand… … “Gohonh!”, his hand was stopped by a cough and a sharp gaze. The one who stopped him was a schoolgirl, Sonobe Yuka, who sat diagonally in front of Aiko. She was a member of “Protect Ai-chan from good-looking military men corps.” Because they wouldn’t know what might happen if there were only Aiko and good-looking military men inside the carriage, several members also came to board it.
By the way, there were eight people inside the carriage. Outside were knights on the scale of a platoon, they tried to hold back because it was already too late to tsukkomi about how only the commander and vice-commander were allowed to ride the carriage. These good-looking guys had also tried to give some reason or another to ride the carriage. They seemed to not want to be separated from Aiko.
“Oya, oya, I’ve been stared at. To have gathered so many wrinkles on your forehead, wouldn’t it spoil your cute face?”
Chase said that accompanied with an ikemen-smile. It was an attractive smile that could make an ordinary woman inadvertently blush. But, Yuka’s reaction was, “Peh!”, an expression of someone who wanted to spit on him even now.
“Not only Ai-chan sensei, do you also call other women “cute”? Ai-chan-sensei, this person is surely a bad philanderer. Please be careful, okay?”
Yuka believed a guy that’s capable of saying another woman is “cute” in front of his beloved, wasn’t a good guy. These guys also had realize they were used by their employers to honeytrap Aiko. They knew that their appearances were capable to making women’s hearts flutter. Because she knew that, Yuka was irritated by Chase who was able to smile daringly, and she made a small counter.
“S-Sonobe-san. Don’t be that belligerent. Even though you finally called me “sensei,” you still called me “Ai-chan”… … isn’t it okay to just use Aiko-sensei?”
“That won’t do. Ai-chan-sensei is “Ai-chan,” that’s why nothing else will do except Ai-chan-sensei. That’s the consensus of the students”
“Wh-what’s with that, I don’t understand it. Moreover, is it the students’ common view? Is that the way this generation thinks? Work hard me, this is a trial for my dignity and reliability as a teacher! I must understand how my students think at any cost!”
Toward Ai-chan-sensei who said to herself, “Fight-!”, Yuka and Chase’s awkward interactions, and similar atmosphere became warm and fuzzy. That’s the reason why Aiko’s called “Ai-chan,” but she didn’t notice. Her road to become a dignified teacher was a long one.
Even so, for the reliability part, the students were truly depending on Aiko. Even when seen from an outsider’s point of view, she was the most familiar adult the students had, after all. Her recognition became stronger when she stood up to oppose the leaders of the kingdom and church. Especially toward the students that were brokenhearted because of Hajime’s death, Aiko became their mental support.
As a matter of fact, even for the students who requested to be Aiko’s guards, the desire to simply be near Aiko was half of their reason for doing so. It should be noted that, the members of the Ai-chan’s bodyguards, other than Sonobe Yuka were Sugawara Taeko, Miyazaki Nana, Aikawa Noboru, Kawahara Akira, Tamai Atsushi, and Shimizu Yukitoshi, a total of seven students.
From there, they traveled on carriage for four days.
Good-looking military men tried to approach Aiko, but Aiko, who thought everything they said was for the sake of their employers, just let it pass through her ears. Aiko didn’t notice that they had truly fallen for her. Added with the effect of students glaring at them when they tried to seduce her more than necessary, a heavy mood often came about. But it soon changed into a warm and fuzzy one because of Aiko’s speech and behavior… … and that repeated until the group finally arrived at the lakeside town, Ul.
After recovering from their travel fatigue, they began to survey Ul’s outskirts’ farmlands and made their plan of improvement. Although there were a lot of love-comedies with Aiko at the center during those times… … that was also a story for another time.
Finally, they began to reform the farmlands, and recently she got “Goddess of Good Harvest” as her second name that started to spread from Ul town, then once again, a new incident occurred and squeezed Aiko’s mind.
One of her students disappeared.
Aiko worked the best she could. All for the sake of her precious students. In the end, what awaited her was an impactful reunion that would end in an undesirable outcome.