Toujou Basara had been involved in many decisive battles for the first half of that year; between the veterans and elites of the Demon Realm and the Hero Clan, he additionally had to face the Demon God Chaos of the Current Demon Lord Faction.
In order to protect his precious family, he had to put his life on the line to repel all of the aforementioned enemies; despite his young age, he had grown to be a powerful fighter honed through such experiences.
“Yes. The scope of your exam will cover everything learned up to the end of the term with no specifications. In other words, it’ll cover everything.”
It was the first day of March; Toujou Basara froze upon hearing the teacher’s pitiless words, visibly flabbergasted.
I’m finished…He couldn’t help but think to himself.
To put it simply, Basara had not studied sufficiently for the third term; it wasn’t a stretch to say that he had neglected his studies entirely.
He scanned around the classroom to find Mio’s gaze staring back at him, eliciting the exact expression.
His journey to the Demon Realm had occurred during the end of the year, and as such Basara had not attended school for the first ten days of January; despite being preoccupied with many unforeseen events, however, Basara did not want to neglect his everyday life or any of the sort, and as such he made it a point to attend school—and his classes—whenever he possibly could.
Nevertheless, the amount of tension he’d faced during and in preparation of his many fierce battles—and exactly during his second term, no less, the exact same time he happened to transfer to Hijirigasaka Academy—meant that he’d been a lot more negligent with his studies than usual.
The two had not studied enough, nor did they understand the manner of which they would be tested during the exams.
Basara and Mio maintained eye contact with one another; the two then made the same decision without so much as saying a single word.
“You can count on me,” Yuki said.
Basara and Mio knew full well that beneath her usual composed gaze, Yuki was a very reliable person at heart. The two had approached Yuki at the library of Hijirigasaka Academy, the latter of whom had been studying there much like the other numerous students present there to prepare for the upcoming final exams.
Only the sounds of note-taking stationery could be heard amidst the silence.
“I’m glad to have the both of you rely on me like this.”
“We’re in your debt, then.” “Thank you for helping us.” The two lowered their heads gratefully.
Despite Yuki’s duties as a member of the Hero Clan as well as her disciplined training on a daily basis, she was known throughout the school for being a bright student who excelled in her studies; Basara had reaffirmed the fact that she possessed such a wonderful quality that moment, long after having left the Village and attempting to live a normal life at school, as well after facing the many harsh battles forced upon him.
“Anyone can get a decent score as long as they follow the way I study.”
Hearing her very reliable comment caused both Basara and Mio to view Yuki as if she were a goddess or some other divine existence that was watching over them.
Yuki then opened her mathematics textbook. “First—” Her fair finger pointed at a particular formula, “Memorize this formula.”
I see now, Basara thought. He was confident that Yuki’s predicted formulas would definitely be part of the test.
He would put all his efforts in memorizing those particular formulas—
“Next, there’s this,” Yuki turned the page she was at previously and pointed at a different formula. “And there’s these application questions as well,” She turned to the subsequent page and directed them to the application exercises on it.
“Then we have this formula here, and then these two other derivation formulas…”
The siblings grew more and more nervous as they continued listening to Yuki; she had directed them to up to almost two pages worth of points from the textbook since she started from the first page.
As Basara and Mio paled at the amount of content they needed to memorize, Yuki continued teaching them specific points from the textbook.
“This formula here is mandatory, as is the one below it—”
“No, wait just a minute!” Basara suddenly raised his voice, as Yuki turned toward him in puzzlement. “…We have to study all of this? Down to the last bit?”
“Mhm.” Yuki nodded as if the fact that Basara mentioned was the most natural thing in the world; he and Mio then realized that they were acting rather spoiled.
The two of them had intended to study for their exams by enquiring specific points that were likely to appear during their test, and they had enquired said points from Yuki, whom among all others, possessed a rare, well-rounded fighting style that enabled her to cut down any opponent. She gave off the first impression that she was perhaps a person who was very efficient at dealing with any situation.
Yuki’s true nature was not so, however; Yuki herself was not born talented. Her diverse style was developed through honest and continuous hard work, exposing and forcing herself to harsh, broad forms training that allowed her to accumulate the skills to handle any opponent.
Perhaps Yuki truly was the type to encompass as many styles as she could at her disposal; nevertheless, for them to simply enquire and learn only the specifics from Yuki given how much effort she took…Basara and Mio now felt rather guilty.
“Shall we continue?”
“No, I’m sorry. Just wait a bit…just give me a few moments.”
“Yeah. It seems we both might need a little time to reflect on ourselves.”
“Well, what’s this? Studying for exams, huh? Sounds like you’re in quite the pickle, Basachi.” A conspicuous, familiar voice suddenly addressed Basara.
“Takigawa…” Raising his head, Basara suddenly realized that Takigawa had arrived, apparently holding a book in his hand. “Are you reading that book?”
“Well, yeah. It’s important to give at least an initial review, you know? The book I’ve borrowed this time’s more of something that’s supposedly been the talk of the town, though, so I more or less just wanted to satisfy my own curiosity.” He said, yawning in between the words. “I fell asleep reading it halfway, so I more or less dropped by to return it.”
“You’re quite relaxed considering the fact that exams are coming soon.”
“Do you honestly think that I’m going to settle my exams properly?”
“Oh, come on, you…”
Takigawa had always tampered with matters related to his life at school with magic up until now.
“Well, you got a point there. It’s true that there’s no need for you to take any exams.”
“My life at school is separate from work, after all. Sorry if it bothers you. There’s nothing that needs my intervention or assistance from here on out anyway, and it’s not like you and Naruse would settle for me using magic to fix things, right, Basachi?” The edge of Takigawa’s lips curved upward, “The folks living in this world have it rough, you know.”
“This world, huh…”
“See ya. I’ll go look for another book to read.” With that final remark, he idly waved his hand and left; seeing him off, Basara and Mio glanced at one another again.
“It’s so irritating how he’s always right.” Mio did not hide how she was displeased at him, “It’s true, however, then I’ve chosen to live not as the daughter of the Demon Lord, but as a normal human in this world.”
“You’re right. We can’t say it’s just an exam, after all.”
“I have to admit that I’m annoyed that he of all people had to be the one to rub it in, but I guess I do have to take this seriously.”
“If we’re going to do this, we do it Yuki’s way. It’s only right.”
“Still… you know that we’re in quite the predicament, right? We don’t have enough time.”
“You’re right. We shouldn’t stay up all night just for something like this.”
“…You actually assumed we’d be staying up all night?”
“I wouldn’t be satisfied with just being taught the specifics.”
“You’re right.” Basara turned toward the ceiling, unable to devise an elaborate plan to deal with the situation.
“Exams are just so troubling, aren’t they?”
A familiar voice came from the desk right next to his, as Basara blinked in response.
“Nanao…and Kajiura-senpai, too.”
Rikka and Nanao were sitting at the desk next to where Basara and the others were sitting at; they appeared to be busy with files filled with official papers and the like, perhaps in the midst of settling certain student council affairs.
“You seem to be immersed in what you were doing, so I didn’t want to bother you.”
“Me too. I’d be studying too if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve yet to finish all of this clerical work, though…”
“I see. That doesn’t sound good. Do you guys need any help?”
“I appreciate your concern, but you’re not exactly in a better state yourself to do that, are you, Toujou-kun?”
Rikka suppressed a laugh upon seeing Basara being at a loss for words, as Nanao narrowed her eyes at him from beneath her glasses.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ve already finished our work.”
Taking her attention away from Basara and the others for a moment, she turned to the file she was working on and compiled the last of her documents within it before wordlessly closing the file.
A moment of silence passed before Rikka hesitantly spoke once again.
“H-Hey, Toujou-kun,” She began, her tone slipping toward a higher note for a moment, “Our work at the student council’s done for the day. That said, well, if you’d like…do you want us to help you out? Naruse-san and Nonaka-san too.”
“Is that really okay!?” Mio suddenly stood up.
“I’m almost done with my own studying anyway, and I can review by teaching you guys at the same time. I have experience with these exams from last year, so I think I can come up with a plan for you guys to face the exam…”
“Is it alright if I come along with you guys? I just thought we could help each other out because we’re all in the same year.”
“I would be really grateful. Nanao too. It’s just…”
It would be quite rude to Yuki if they were to ask for someone else’s help after asking her.
“I think it’s a good idea.” Yuki said, agreeing with the idea. “The more the merrier, am I right?”
Everyone seemed to agree with what Yuki had just said.
“Please do then, senpai, Nanao.”
Basara lightly lowered his head as a sign of gratitude, before Mio and Yuki followed suit.
Days passed by since, with Basara and Mio studying every day in the library with the company of Rikka and Nanao.
“Even teachers are bound to have habits when setting questions for exams. Even if they do try to alter the questions from previous tests, the very nature and style of the questions can be narrowed down when you get the hang of it.”
Rikka said, sharing the data that she had personally produced for them. Such data she explained based on logic; she had collected information from her seniors in the student council and sorted them out.
Although her way of processing the exam seemed different from Yuki’s, Basara truly felt that it was expected of Rikka for her to handle the exam in such a way, and thus listened to her plan attentively.
“This is really hard to understand, isn’t it? I found it difficult to digest the first time I was introduced to it too.” Nanao exclaimed, noticing that Mio seemed to be perplexed at the problem she was facing.
“Mhm. It’s really confusing to know which formula is most suitable for this situation.”
“I actually already asked vice president Kajiura to teach me the content on page 45 some time ago.”
“Thank you, Tachibana-kun.”
Basara gave a sidelong glance at their conversation, to which he was reprimanded with a “Focus!” by Rikka. Apologizing, he then returned to concentrating on the problem he was currently working on, simultaneously finding himself seeing Nanao in a new light, knowing that Nanao had also greeted him when Basara was troubled some time ago. She seemed to be a person who was very sensitive to the expressions of surrounding people, and she could tell what others were feeling to some extent after some observation. Perhaps such sensitivity was fostered from her unique circumstances of being born as a half-vampire as well her unpleasant upbringing of being oppressed by the Hero Clan.
Nevertheless, she had aided Basara and Mio many times while they were studying for their exams.
“Basara, you can do these questions next.” Yuki directed Basara to a particular application exercise in the textbook; she had suggested an exercise that was related to a specifically important formula included in the scope of Kajiura’s plan, unlike the approach she had suggested several days ago where she would ask them to study everything generally.
“Multiplication again!? Sigh…”
Despite finding the questions difficult, Mio had yet to stop writing.
Yuki, Rikka, Nanao; a member of the Hero Clan, the student council vice-president and a half-vampire. They possessed the aid of these three people who came from completely different origins and backgrounds.
I’m really grateful to them, Basara thought.
Mio was also working hard; knowing that he couldn’t not persevere while she was trying her best, Basara desperately stifled his drowsiness and focused on his textbook.
They weren’t plotting anything or trying to kill one another; they only wanted to study for the sake of their own future. They would grow accustomed to the hardship of such labour in time.
—That was what Basara thought at least; for a moment in time, Basara lost consciousness in the middle of it all and dozed off.
“Do you want to have a little break?”
Everyone felt as if they were forced to smile.
“No…let’s just hold on for a little longer.”
He couldn’t help but feel embarrassed; he knew that their current way of studying was for their own benefit, even if he would prefer a more normal studying schedule than what he was currently doing now. He would have to deal with the scope of the exam for this term regardless.
“What a pain,” He reflexively grumbled at his resolve to act honestly on the situation.
Hasegawa had been watching Basara study after chancing upon him in the middle of the library; her eyes, narrowed beneath her glasses, gave off an affectionate look as she wore an equally tender expression on her face.
“You’ve created such bonds by your own hand.”
It appeared that Yuki was not the only one helping him out, but Rikka and Nanao as well.
Toujou Basara was no longer a member of the Hero Clan, and he was living his everyday life at present instead of fighting.
“Perhaps I should give him my support as well…as a teacher, that is.” Knowing that she mustn’t interrupt Basara while he was in the middle of studying for exams, she turned away from him. She then withdrew her mobile phone and wrote him a short message.
“Good luck with your studying. I’ll give you an adult’s reward later after you’re done.”
After sending the message, she received a reply before she could turn off her mobile phone; looking slightly surprised, she abruptly turned toward the display.
“Thank you very much. I appreciate how you’ve been watching over me, sensei.”
Reflexively, she turned to meet Basara’s gaze staring back at her from inside the library.
“…What do you know. So you noticed me after all.” Lightly smiling at Basara, she waved him goodbye and finally left the venue.
It was unclear if the breath that Kurumi just let out was a sigh, a yawn, or a deep breath; regardless of what it was, it was accompanied by a deep stretch from her. She sat lightly on the sofa in the living room, a pile of study materials related to the homeschooling curriculum she had participated in as per her responsibilities as a minor of the Hero Clan set out on the table before her.
“Good work today.” Zest placed a cup of coffee on the table beside Kurumi’s materials, the fragrant aroma from the ground coffee beans and the steam from the warmth of the drink wafting in the air.
“Studying is so tiring, isn’t it? I guess my older sister would be glad to do this since she’s so good at it, though,” Kurumi turned toward her almost completed workbook, “Still…everyone’s studying so hard for their exams, so I can’t call it a day ahead of them. They’ve motivated me, after all.” She said, turning toward the kitchen.
The tempting, drifting scent of cooking in the kitchen suddenly entered the room, blending into the fragrance of the coffee on the table. Kurumi’s stomach abruptly growled.
“It seems that you’ve been quite busy as well. I can see the cooking’s quite the big labour.”
“Oh, not at all.” Zest said, shaking her head. “It’s the least I can do for Basara-sama and the others, after all.”
“I’m sure they’ll be pleased with your efforts.”
During the last day of their exams, Zest had immediately set out on making dinner after Basara and the others had left for school; of course, she did not neglect the other household chores while she was at it.
Kurumi could feel the extent of the strength of Zest’s feelings toward Basara
“…Um, by the way, isn’t it about time you guys untied me?”
Kurumi and Zest turned toward the voice coming from the floor of the living room; it was Maria, rolling about on the floor as she was thoroughly restrained.
“You’ve got it all wrong! I wanted to try such act on you guys, not the other way around! Especially you, Kurumi-san! Why have you done this to me!? I just wanted to teach you the basics on phys and health ed again while Basara-san and the others were studying to evoke some sense of immorality in them, Kurumi-san!
“Your reasoning is futile, especially if it’s going to sound like that,” Kurumi said. She was utterly exasperated with her.
Maria had been trying to harass the studying sessions in the household by mixing some erotic elements in the middle of them in an attempt to create something completely new; obviously, Kurumi could not hold out her anger for long.
“Well, today’s the last day of their exams anyway, so I guess I’ll let you go when the others get back.”
“I see now! You’re trying to use the relieving feeling of exams being over to make the self-pleasuring experience all the spicier! As I would expect of you, Kurumi-san! How erotic!”
“Aaaaah!? This is tight, this is really tight!”
Kurumi proceeded to mercilessly tighten the restraints on her.
“We’re home.” The voices of Basara and the others suddenly resounded from the front door.
“Ah, welcome back!” “I welcome your return home.” In response, Kurumi and Zest went toward the door to greet them.
“Eh? Kurumi-san? What about these ropes!? Basara-san’s already come back, so what about me!?”
Not even Zest attended to Maria as she was left alone to struggle.
“It seems the results of your exams ended up alright.”
“Hmm? Well, I guess. We haven’t exactly gotten back our results yet, though, so how can you be so sure?” Basara and Mio gave off looks of puzzlement.
“You guys just seem really happy about it, that’s all.”
I guess you guys haven’t really noticed it yet, Kurumi thought as she reflexively laughed.
“I see…Mmm. The truth is, I really am happy. It’s just that I don’t think I’ve ever felt so touched.”
Basara and Mio’s voices lit up, as the two turned to address Kurumi and Zest, straightening themselves.
“We know that Yuki, and Kajiura-senpai had helped us out a lot—Nanao helped us as well—but we know that the two of you have been helping out a lot at home as well. We really appreciate it.” They were words of sincerest gratitude.
“I really didn’t do anything.”
“I understand we’ve been worrying you. You know, there was last night, as well as the whole fiasco with Maria…” Kurumi said, averting her gaze in embarrassment.
“I’ve simply done what I should have.” Zest shook her head. “You’ve all worked hard today, so please look forward to dinner this evening.”
“Thank you. I’m excited as to what we’ll be having tonight.” Basara smiled upon detecting the delicious smell of cooking from the kitchen.
“Well, why don’t we all go have a break?”
Basara and the others returned to their own rooms, Zest returned to working in the kitchen, while Kurumi returned to the living room to finish studying.
“No! Come on, you guys can’t just forget about me like that! Someone untie me, please!”
Maria’s pained cries resounded across the Toujou household as it settled into a sense of liberation.