“Aiko! It’s schooltime!” I heard a shout from the living room.
Of course, I was already up and ready. I had been up since 5 am studying these so-called high schools, and by studying, I meant reading high school manga. It seemed like high schools were a very dramatic place. Girls were constantly moving from guy to guy and harems were rampant. Suddenly, the hero’s party made a lot more sense to me. It was only natural that the former Aiko would gather a bunch of pretty women around him, considering the environment in which he was raised.
Of course, I had no such fancies. School seemed to be a requirement in this world, and my current goal was to complete it as quickly as possible. That’s why in preparation for the event, I had read each of the textbooks in his bag and made sure to memorize the contents. Such a task was easy for me.
I especially found the book titled Biology to be intriguing. I had gained a newfound respect for this world. Doctors in this world had freely experimented on their kind for centuries gaining all of this knowledge. They thought nothing about cutting up a dead body and using the parts to learn. When I tried to do such a thing, I was called a monster, but this world had done things to humans that would even make me blush. I was particularly interested in an exhibit called Body Worlds. It was supposed to come to a museum near me in a week or two. I reminded myself to save up for it.
I left the room and found my mother in the kitchen. She didn’t have time to make breakfast or anything. Instead, she was just waiting for her coffee to finish. When she saw me enter, she turned to me and her mouth fell open.
“Aiko!” Mom exclaimed. “You look rather nice.”
Mom’s words caused Hina who was sitting at the table with a bowl of cereal to turn around. When she saw me, her cheeks turned pink and she looked away. With her hair back down over her eyes, it had been difficult to see her face, but I believed there were some distinct differences there.
The lopsidedness of her boobs was fixed, and the shape of her eyes and nose were more aesthetically pleasing. However, despite her boost of confidence when the acne had left her face, she was back to hiding behind her hair again. Well, I could fix the flesh. I couldn’t fix people’s minds.
I touched my button-up shirt and then my combed hair. “Is this incorrect?”
“No, it’s just, you normally just wear a ratty old t-shirt, and I’ve never seen you comb your hair. It’s nice.”
Since coming back, I hadn’t focused much on my appearance. This was because I was waiting to get the flesh magic working and also because I was supposed to be sickly, and didn’t want my appearance to improve too quickly as to seem unreasonable. In reality, I only really let my appearance go when I focused too much on my work. In the case of this school, I had thought that a presentable appearance was important. Well, as long as Mother thought that this was an improvement, I saw no reason to change it.
At that moment, the door to the bathroom opened and Kio popped out. She was wearing a very loose shirt that hung low. My eyes immediately went to her chest. Her usual flat chest had seemingly grown to an A cup now. Furthermore, her manly features had been smoothed out and she had a more feminine appearance. These improvements were also going nicely. As her eyes traced my eyes, her face suddenly turned red.
“D-don’t look!” She put her hand on her chest and spun around, running into her bedroom in a panic.
Her behavior was a bit different as well. She would have attacked me normally. I considered such a thing an improvement. Mom watched Kio’s behavior with some interest. She then raised an eyebrow in my direction.
“Did something happen between the pair of you?” She asked.
Hina let out a squeak but otherwise hid in her hair, even more, making it all look even more suspicious.
“We worked out our differences,” I responded simply.
Mom thought about my words for a second and then nodded and smiled. “Good. I’d like to see all three of your growing closer.”
“Mm!” Hina almost spit out her drink when she heard that.
“Hina, are you okay?”
“J-just swallowed it down the wrong hole,” Hina spoke in a throaty voice.
“Well, be careful.” Mom patted her back, but she quickly stood up and then busted her dishes.
“I’ll be going first.” She said before turning and leaving.
“Ah, since it’s Aiko’s first day back, I was going to drive…”
“Not necessary!” She was already out the door.
“What has gotten into her?” Mom spoke absently.
“Shouldn’t we be going too?” I asked.
“We’re waiting on Kio.” She explained before looking up. “Kio!”
“Go on without me! I’ll take the bus!” We heard a cry from her bedroom.
Mom sighed. “I even offer to drive them and they turn me down. Are my girls growing up too fast?”
“It’s only natural that they want to assert independence as they grow older.” I shrugged.
“You also seem to be maturing at a lightning pace lately.” Mom stood up, giving me a slightly sad look. “Soon, you’re all going to graduate, and then I’ll be alone.”
“I don’t see any reason you can’t live with me,” I responded.
I knew from the manga that when children grew up, it was customary for them to leave the home, but in my old world, it wasn’t unusual for several generations to live together. It certainly made things cheaper and easier. Mother could keep cooking and do my laundry. Wait, wasn’t I just looking for a free maid? Well, it would still be helpful.
Mom let out a chuckle. “I don’t think you’re future wife will be all that happy if mommy sticks around, sweetie.”
“A future wife is… unlikely,” I responded.
“Don’t give up just yet.” She declared. “I expect grandchildren, after all.”
It appeared that being part of a family was more complicated than I thought. At some point, I’d need to create grandchildren. It was troublesome, but if that would ultimately aid in repaying my debt to this woman, I guessed I’d have to do it. Mom finally got the keys and left the house while I pondered having children. Mother would likely want grandchildren while she was still young enough to keep up with them. That meant that she’d probably want them in the next few years. Thankfully, there was one person I knew that would be perfect to ask.
We got into the car and drove off. Fortunately, the school wasn’t particularly far away from my place of business. The proximity of the school to such a storefront didn’t necessarily speak poorly about the school, but the size of the town. I had come to learn we lived in a particularly small place. It only had a single school for people around my current age.
Given my experiences from another world, only the biggest cities had a school. Most villages were tiny. In comparison, this place was massive, but the invention of vehicles had seemingly redefined what large was in this world. This city had a population to rival a capital city of that world, and yet it was merely a small fly on the walled city here. I couldn’t imagine just how vast the population of humans was in this world. Well, I had looked the number up, but after a few numbers, I wasn’t able to contemplate that many people.
We pulled up in front of the high school. It was a rather large building. Other than the grocery market, it was the largest building I had ever seen. On top of that, it seemed to have two levels. Such a place might have been considered a palace, an engineering marvel for humans. Well, it was nothing compared to the castle I lived in, but that had been built by demons and magic over years. These buildings were constructed by manpower in a few weeks.
“Sweetie, don’t push yourself today. I know since your sickness you’ve been a bit dazed. Just try to pay attention and do your best.” Mom gave some encouragement as she came to a stop.
“Thank you. I will remember it.” I nodded and then got out.
I found an assortment of other people my age also on course for the main building, and I decided it was best to blend in. I joined behind a crowd of children who were excitedly talking. Some were discussing trivial things, but others were talking about different concepts in science and mathematics. I tended to lend more of an ear to these things.
It was remarkable, and I found myself once again admiring this world. In my world, the literacy rate was less than half. In this world, the literacy rate was much higher. Not to mention that these people also understood mathematics, science, and many other concepts that I could only dream of finding someone who understood. Perhaps I should look for another disciple to teach. Of course, there was Lana, but I saw her more as a budding junior than someone I seriously wanted to train.
As I entered the school, my eyes landed on just the person that I had wanted to see. It was Ivy. I approached her, and when she saw me coming, she frantically looked in both directions before letting out a reserved sigh. I could have lived without such a strong reaction, but that didn’t matter.
“H-hello, Aiko.” She spoke quietly, barely heard over the hustle and bustle in the hallway.
She was at her locker, which she had opened up, but now she ignored it as she looked at me shyly.
“Where is Maya?” I asked.
Her eyes widened and she looked around before she hissed. “I wouldn’t bring her here! She’s with my family. You promised you’d keep it quiet.”
“I see, I apologize. I just wanted to have a private conversation with you about having children.” I spoke quieter, moving closer to her as I did.
Her face turned pink. “Wh-what about?”
“My mother seems to want grandchildren.”
She suddenly broke into a cough. “I’m sorry, what?”
“You’ve already had one. Would a second be too much trouble?”
“You want to… with me!” Her eyes bulged. “Aiko… that, I promised to pretend to be… it is just pretend!”
I frowned, thinking about the linguistics about it. “I’m not saying now, but perhaps some point in the future would be better.”
“Aiko, I’m not mothering your child!” her voice cracked slightly like she couldn’t believe she was saying this.
“That is fine, for now. It was just on my mind.” I responded. “Are you in my first class?”
“I am.” She responded helplessly, not sure what to say. “D-don’t you need your books?”
“Not necessary,” I responded. “It’s all up here.”
I touched my head, and she looked at me skeptically. “Well, the teacher might not be happy about this.”
“Really?” I frowned, looking at the bag on her back full of books.
Had I known that you needed to give lip service in carrying these heavy books all day, I would have done it.
“In that case, sit by me and we will share the book.”
“That is… the teacher might not like it.”
“I don’t see why they would complain.” I dismissed the notion. “If you’re ready, we should go.”
“Ah, just a few more things.” She turned and reached into her locker.
As she did so, her shirt which was a bit short rode up, and I could see her stomach. There were several skin blemishes on her stomach. They were stretch marks from her pregnancy. She finished pulling out her stuff. Her book bag looked about ready to burst. I couldn’t imagine holding that much crap for seemingly no reason. Well, I wasn’t going to offer to carry it for her. It was her choice, after all. When she turned, she looked at me for a second as if she was arguing with herself.
“What?” I asked.
She let out a sigh and then handed me a picture. I looked at it to see it was a picture of her.
“If… we’re going to pretend we’re dating, you probably should have that in your locker. I-it doesn’t mean anything!”
“I see…” I looked at the picture. “This picture doesn’t have stretch marks.”
Her face flushed. “It was photoshopped, Jeeze!”
She reached out to snatch the picture back, but I hid it away with a flick of my hand. She shot me a frustrated look instead.
“Lead me to the next class then,” I responded.
It was time for school.