Diana raised her head and smiled at Yasuo, as though she had sensed his distress.
“I will respect whatever decision Hideo makes… Just as I have family that I want to protect, Hideo also has all of you that he must protect. Please don’t worry, believing my words and agreeing to send Hideo to our world are two separate matters. ”
Diana kneeled in front of Yasuo and said that.
There was not a hint of guile in Diana’s upturned face, and Yasuo found himself unable to look away from her.
“Resteria wishes for Hideo to return. However, both my mother and the King have strictly instructed me to not be forceful. In short, Yasuo and Nodoka, they were telling me to not ignore your opinions under any circumstances, and after coming here, I understand.”
Diana talked while looking at Yasuo and Nodoka in turn.
“I wish we had the opportunity to talk more. Even if that leads to Hideo deciding not to return to Ante Lande, Resteria will definitely protect all of you, and will not do something like taking Hideo away by force. By the name of my father, Alexei, I give you my most solemn vow.”
“Onii-chan, you’re being seriously disgusting.”
Having Diana hold his hand and look him in the eye sincerely, Yasuo, who didn’t have much opportunity for close contact with girls, began to get flustered, and this caused Nodoka to deliver some acidic comments.
“Fufufu. Actually, Madoka, I have a message from my mother to you.”
Maybe because she noticed that it was placing strain on the relationship between the siblings, Diana finally let go off Yasuo’s hand.
“Yes. Assuming Hideo had children, she made me promise to reveal the message only once I was able to convince them that what I said was true.”
“You only had to convince the children? Did she say what you were supposed to do if I hadn’t married that person?”
“Yes. My mother insisted that, “There’s no way Hideo would marry anyone other than Madoka.””
“Oh, Erize, saying things like that…”
“I’m sorry, Onii-chan. Compared to Mom, you’re still better.”
“Stop that. They can hear you.”
Yasuo and Nodoka had no option but to wait with a stony look on their faces while their mother giggled at Diana’s words.
“Ahem. So what’s the message from Erize?”
After noticing the cold looks from her son and daughter, Madoka stopped giggling and returned to the topic.
“Yes, it’s a video letter. Just like that mechanism called a TV, it will allow you to see my mother’s appearance and hear her voice.”
“It’s probably something like taking a video on your Slimphone and burning it onto a disc.”
“Eh? Have the two of you not heard of a video letter before? You’ve never sent or received one?”
While Madoka was flustered over the generation gap with her children, Diana brought out something that looked like a heavy cylindrical can from the room where she had been staying.
Yasuo and Nodoka looked at the can, assuming it had some sort of removable media inside, but for some reason, Madoka looked at the can and made a sharp expression.
“I’ve heard that this is based on new technology that Hideo had brought over as well. Their making is a national secret, and only Resteria’s Techno Weapon engineers are capable of making these.”
“Just a minute, Diana-chan, is that the message from Erize…?”
“Yes. My mother especially had the video recorded onto this to ensure that the video could be played back in Japan. With this, it would not arouse any suspicion, even if I were to lose it.”
Diana opened the can by twisting the lid off, not paying attention to Madoka who looked worried.
Looking inside, Yasuo and Nodoka saw something that looked like a black tape that was rolled around two circular disks.
Nodoka tilted her head after seeing the unfamiliar object, Yasuo furrowed his brow trying to remember where he had seen something like it before, and Madoka put her hand on her forehead and sighed while looking down.
“Just how are we supposed to playback a 8mm tape in this day and age?”
It was a nostalgic-looking 8mm video cassette that had long since disappeared from the homes of ordinary people. Looking at the newly made, yet ancient media storage device that apparently held a video of her old friend, Madoka silently cursed the high rate of development of video playback technology.
Diana had a perfect look of shock upon her face once she was told that regular people didn’t have a device capable of playing 8mm tapes anymore.
After a quick internet search on his Slimphone, Yasuo found that there were several services that transferred the contents of 8mm tapes onto a DVD or a BD, and they would be able to see the video letter from the other world after a few days.
Although that would mean that the person doing the data transfer would end up seeing the video, since the source was an 8mm tape, they would probably conclude that it was just some weird person wearing strange clothes and talking something unintelligible, so that was not a problem.
“Umm, my mother seemed to want to talk about some important matters from the past that only she, Hideo, and Madoka know about, and, well, she wanted you to see this video whether Hideo decided to come back to our world or not… She made it clear that the contents of the video were vital to your safety, and we didn’t expect that the technology used to record the video would be on the verge of disappearing from this world, so, umm…”
After seeing Diana who was flustered, Nodoka picked up the media storage device that was based on outdated technology and looked over it curiously.
“Can you record sound onto this as well? It’s black and white, and looks clunky, don’t tell me the quality is like watching those old videos from during the war time?”
“Nodoka, you’re going to be taking exams soon, so use your brain a little. Just how old do you think I am? Although they were just coming into the market when I was in school, these tapes record video in full-color, along with sound.”
“Oh? Then can’t we just use the VCR at Grandpa’s house to play it? That one is a tape player, right?”
“VHS and 8mm are fundamentally different. You sound so arrogant when you point out the differences between DVD and Blu-Ray to me, but you don’t even know that?”
“I don’t care about such ancient things. It’s not like it’ll appear in my exams either.”
“Ancient… Nodoka, that expression is going to come back to hit you in about thirty years. Things like Slimphones and HDD’s will be relics of the past by then. Your kids are going to say stuff like, “Eh, a Slimphone? What’s that, pottery from the Jomon Period?” okay?”
“Ehh? That’s impossible! And Mom, you’re poking fun at me too much!”
“Umm, both of you, please don’t fight!”
Diana was panicking while seeing the mother and daughter who were arguing over incredibly stupid things, but Yasuo had something he had to confirm because they couldn’t watch the 8mm tape right away.
“So what happened to the Shii that attacked our house earlier? Did you destroy it?”
“Eh? Ah, no. Unfortunately, it managed to get away. To tell you the truth, there is a very good chance that all of you might be attacked again.”
“So, the target of the Shii is Hideo, the Hero, right? In other words, it’s after my Dad.”
Diana replied in a tone lacking confidence,
“That seems likely, but we’re still not sure exactly how intelligent the Shii are. People have postulated that the behaviour of the Shii is greatly influenced by their actions during the time when they were still alive, so the Shii might…”
After hesitating, Diana continued to speak.
“I don’t know if the Shii was after Hideo, or if it waited for Hideo to be away so that it could attack his family. That’s why I would like to act as a guard for you and Nodoka as much as possible.”
There was very little Yasuo and Nodoka could do against the enemy, as it was a fearsome monster that was out to rip their hearts out of their bodies.
“That said, neither of you can take a long break from school because of the circumstances of Ante Lande, right? I’d feel bad about forcing a change in your life because of the circumstances on my side as well.”
Basically, Diana was saying that Yasuo and Nodoka should keep living as they had been until now, and she would accompany them as an escort.
In fact, if Hideo had agreed to go to the other world, the plan was that Diana and a number of other Magitech Knights would be detailed to protect Hideo’s family until the issue was resolved.
“You probably feel that it would be annoying, and I agree that it may cause you trouble. However, I would like the two of you to let me watch over you from as close as possible. It is the responsibility of myself, Resteria, and Ante Lande for getting you involved in this matter.”
“Uhh, ok, sure.”
Yasuo’s heart started to race after Diana spoke those words so close to him that it looked like she was going to cling to him that instant, so he tried to put some distance between them.
He didn’t know what she meant by ‘from as close as possible’, but judging by what had happened at the prep school today, one part of Yasuo suspected that she might demand to sit in the seat next to his at school, and another part of him was happy about getting to spend time in close proximity to a beautiful girl, even though he had been been distrustful of her until half a day ago.
“B-but, speaking of guarding…”
“Ah, umm, I won’t do anything like what I did today. I will do my best to not interfere in your private lives, and will maintain a discreet distance so that I can rush to your side right away in case you are attacked.”
It sounded like she was willing to risk her life to save theirs, but that would allow them to be at peace.
“But there’s just one of you, and two of us….”
“Oh, of course, I will be protecting you as well.”
At some point, his mother had stopped arguing and joined the conversation.
“No matter how strong Diana-chan is compared to the people of this world, she can’t protect both of you at once. Diana-chan will protect one of you, and I’ll do my best to stay close to the other. At least until your father comes home tomorrow night, we should try to maintain that formation as that will allow us to not be worried.”
“I wish we could do something about the door before Dad comes back as well.”
The incident that caused the door to be destroyed, namely the fight between Diana, his mother, and the Shii, was still being treated as an ‘explosion of unknown cause’ by the police, so it appeared that they would be investigating the scene of the incident for some time yet.
Since the possibility of another incident was low, the police weren’t keeping a constant watch on their house. However, since a gas explosion was considered to be one of the possible causes, they had been asked to keep from clearing up the scene of the incident until the gas company could perform an inspection.
“The police are going to be regularly patrolling this area, so we’ll just have to deal with having no door until the matter is resolved. I called the insurance company, but they said they couldn’t make any decision until they inspected the damage. It seems there is a possibility of settling it using fire damage insurance.”
Even the Shii, a fearsome monster from another world, would not imagine that the damage it dealt to the Hero’s house would be dealt with using fire damage insurance.
“In any case, Diana-chan and I will be accompanying you to your schools tomorrow morning. I just hope nothing else happens in the meantime. We can decide what to do after that once your father gets back.”
“Yes! I will do my best to protect all of you!”
“Somehow, this still feels unreal.”
“Same here. But with things as they are, we have no choice.”
Diana strongly agreed, Nodoka unexpectedly agreed without causing a fuss, and Yasuo took a pose of agreeing while being a little irritated.
Although it was for the sake of being a guard, it would mean that Diana would get to watch his life both in private and in public in great detail.
Although she only came along with him to prep school today, he would not be able to take a long leave from school, so he had to resign himself to being guarded at school as well.
He definitely didn’t intend to enjoy the experience, but once he decided to believe her words about Ante Lande, it would be nerve wracking for a teenage boy like Yasuo to be constantly watched by a high-class beautiful girl like Diana.
Maybe something he usually did as part of his daily life would cause girls to dislike him?
To someone like Diana who was already an independent young lady, and a Magitech Knight to boot, maybe something he did would cause him to appear childish and immature?
While he was talking to his friends, he might let something slip that girls would find inappropriate. In the first place, where did Diana intend to watch over him from while he was at school?
Yasuo spent the night worrying about things like that, but…
“Come on, hurry up.”
The next morning, Yasuo looked at his mother who was calling him while sitting in the driver’s seat of the car, and gave a large sigh.
“Haaah… Yeah, I should have guessed this would happen.”
While regretting his foolish worries and the odd feeling of expectation, Yasuo dejectedly sat in the seat beside his mother, who was driving.
Diana hadn’t said that she would be guarding Yasuo. Since his mother said that she would be guarding either him or his sister, he should have expected that his mother might end up guarding him. His mother was a legendary magician that Diana looked up to, after all.
“Take care…. *yawn*”
“Take care! See you soon!”
Yasuo could see Nodoka and Diana waving to them from the destroyed doorway, reflected in the side mirror. While he looked at them with a complicated expression on his face,
“Don’t tell me, were you actually hoping that Diana-chan would stay close to you while guarding you?”
“Ugh! No, about that…”
Since his mother unerringly hit the bullseye, Yasuo panicked and was not even able to deny it properly.
Maybe because she was satisfied with his reaction, a mischievous smile appeared on his mother’s face.
“Diana-chan still doesn’t know much about our world. You take the train to school, and have to go to prep school in the evenings, so there’s a lot of things about your life that she wouldn’t be able to understand. You don’t want her to end up doing something like yesterday near your school, right?”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“I’ve just asked her to take care of Nodoka at home and school today. Once your dad gets back, I’ll get her to learn more about this world properly, and we’ll think of a new formation.”
His mother’s logic made sense, but something like that had happened yesterday just going to prep school.
Wouldn’t something similar happen at Nodoka’s middle school as well? Yasuo was worried about that, but his mother seemed to have misunderstood his expression, and furrowed her eyebrows while driving.
“You really wanted Diana-chan to go with you so badly? You were such a cute and innocent baby until recently, and now you’ve turned into a beast who gets all excited because a girl held your hand. I guess I’m getting too old for you.”
“Stop that! Seriously, stop saying stuff like that. I’m eighteen years old, you know.”
“You may be eighteen, but you’re still a child. Give up and settle for Mommy today, okay?”
“Argh! Stop messing around with me!”
Yasuo directed all his resentment towards his mother, while looking at her from the side.