As always, Johan couldn’t help but be surprised with Pria. Laying on the sofa of his living room in the middle of the night he recalled to what happened after the pervert of a friend left. Keeping true to his promise, he sat down with Pria and started helping her with the reading of a grimoire.
After some deliberation, he decided to start with a grimoire that didn’t require use of internal energy, as he wasn’t entirely sure how mana flow worked inside her, with the whole eating energy thingy. With that, the final decision was to start with the taoist grimoire.
Since it was the one who dealt the most with ley-lines, it could be done even by beginners and non-magicians if one were to understand the basics. Which was, sadly, the hard part.
With most of the magic being dependant on writing, calligraphy, rituals and chants, even a small mistake could transform a grandiose spell into a total disaster, so it ended up falling into great disuse compared to more practical approaches, such as the Merlin’s Teachings grimoire.
In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that the Tao-xintoist grimoire was so convenient for ritual magic, and the fact that it was the very first grimoire he ever had the chance to study (advantages of it being a grimoire with little use is that no one really cares about it, so the price drops. Significantly.), he wouldn’t even have touched it in the first place.
So, with that in mind, he sat down with the slime girl for the remaining of the day and started teaching her the basics with the help of the book. Using a notebook to communicate with him, Pria attentively listened to all his explanations, and just as he had expected, Pria had many questions seeing how complex the whole thing was.
However, just as fast as she could come up with questions, she was also absorbing everything he was throwing at her.
In just one night she had gone through all the basic concepts of the grimoire. Something that even for him took at least a few days to remember. With that said, remembering and understanding are two different things, so he couldn’t be entirely sure how well she was doing until he put it to the test, but something within him told him that she would breeze through it with ease.
By the time he had finished his small class it was already night, so after fixing a quick dinner for himself and recharging the gem for Pria they settled down and did their things while waiting for the time to pass. For Pria it meant going back to her book, while Johan would watch television before retiring for the day.
Turning to the side, he gazed upon the way to his bedroom and saw amused as the small vestige of light still came from there, meaning that Pria was probably still immersed in her reading.
Since he had already explained her how to turn it off he didn’t worry too much, so after turning to the side he closed his eyes and prepared for sleep.
However, even then his mind wandered around as he thought back to the things he still had to do. First he’d need to take Pria to the association and register her as his protégée. After that was the whole ordeal with taking her to Deaddie’s base so she could examine her.
No, wait, thinking about it, with Pria getting an official ID from the association, couldn’t he simply take her to a normal hospital? While the idea crossed his mind, he decided against it, seeing how it would probably be rude to Dead-Shot if he were to suddenly cancel their agreement.
Oh, he couldn’t forget to sell one of Kageyama’s autographed dagger on the internet later. His lunch depended on this action!
Nodding to himself while making a guts pose under the blanket, he finally let out a brief awkward laugh before shaking his head and searching for a more comfortable position. From there, it was only waiting until his brain finally let him rest.
Feeling his consciousness slowly dissipating, he decided to let all his worries for the following day and slowly drifted into a calm and dreamy plane of existence.
Only for it to be interrupted when he felt something lifting his blanket slightly. Quickly jolting awake he silently stood still without moving at all. With all his instincts telling him to avoid making a movement to avoid surprising whatever it was, he slowly turned his head downwards when something creeped up through the side of the sofa and touched his chest.
For a moment he felt his body stiffening. As a hero, it wouldn’t be strange for some villain he caught on the street to go after him for revenge or something of the like, and if they somehow managed to get a hold on where he lived, he just knew that things were going to get bad.
However, the moment he noticed a slightly moist feeling as the person came closer, he sighed. At the sound of his voice, Pria flinched before sheepishly looking up to him as he raised the blanket.
“What are you doing, Pria?” He asked at the nude and half-formed girl, whose only waist-up body had taken a definite form.
She quickly looked away and downwards embarrassed. That said, no matter how you looked at it, it was the expression of a child who was caught doing something bad. Speaking of which, he didn’t get the chance to explain to her about the meaning of sleeping on the same bed as someone else after what happened that morning, did he?
“…Pria, I kind of understand that you like hugging people…” He said awkwardly, to which she nodded happily and threw herself at him, cuddling happily while completely ignoring the cringe that Johan had. “Yeah, just like that.” He said after relaxing a bit and smiling awkwardly. “But, you know, as much as I don’t really mind if you keep hugging me… Sleeping together is… Well… A bit more complex than that.”
At his words, Pria simply tilted her head to the side confused. Wondering what his words meant, for a moment she thought that maybe he was saying that she should let go of him, but even faster than how that thought came, it also left her. After all, earlier he said that she shouldn’t hug him too much, but soon after said that it was fine to hug him, so she assumed that it would only end up like earlier.
That said, it was true that she didn’t need to absorb his heat any longer thanks to the gem he kept resupplying with mana, but she had grown fond of being near Johan, and whenever she thought back at how doctor Marian one day simply disappeared, she decided that keeping Johan close to her would reduce the chance of that happening again.
That, and she liked hugging him. His reactions were funny.
“You see, two people sleeping together usually means that they are really close…” Well, she was hugging him, so doesn’t that count as close? While she tilted her head confused, Johan went on. “Not this kind of close… Haah… How to explain it… Well… Do you know what lovers are?”
Lovers… If her memory wasn’t wrong, it was when a man and a woman liked each other very much that they became something more than friends, right? While she was certain that it was something along these lines, she started to understand that it was something that she shouldn’t do then.
Pouting slightly, she let go of Johan without even trying to hide her annoyance at that. Johan tried to talk to her, but she simply looked away while crossing her arms and puffing her cheeks. Hearing a wry laugh coming from him, she felt as he put his hand on her shoulders gently.
“It’s for your own good, Pria.” He said gently.
…He was doing that for her, wasn’t he? It’s true that she wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing, but she could somehow understand that he was worried about her, so after a moment she finally stopped pouting before nodding weakly.
Then, an idea appeared in her mind. Looking back at him with a wide smile, she pointed towards him then herself. She wasn’t entirely sure, but if she became his lover then there wouldn’t be a problem, right?
For a moment, Johan simply stared at her in shock as if he wasn’t understanding what she was talking about before finally widening his eyes.
“Huh? You… Me… You want to be… My…” While she couldn’t quite understand why he sounded so surprised, she nodded with a proud smile. If she did that, it should be alright!
But, contrary to her expectations, Johan simply stayed there staring at her in shock and embarrassment. Tilting her head confused at his reactions, she started to wonder if she had said something strange. Seeing her reaction he finally sighed while covering his face with his hand.
“You misunderstood the meaning of lover, didn’t you?” Eh? Did she? “Really… You are so bad for my heart…” Eeh? She was bad for him? He didn’t seem to be looking bad, though. A bit confused by his words, she could only wait to hear what he had to say. “Anyway… Being lovers is a bit more complicated than that, okay?”
While he said that with a gentle tone, Pria couldn’t help but feel a bit confused. Afterwards he took her back to his room and said for her to go back to sleep seeing how it was already late. After making sure to tell her that she shouldn’t go back to the couch with him again, he went back to the living room.
Of course, the following morning he had to once again scold her for slipping into the couch at night.
“Geez… You sure like making my life difficult, don’t you?” Johan said as he fried some eggs in the kitchen.
Turning back to the table, he saw as Pria was sitting in one of the closer chairs while reading a book, gleefully ignoring his complaints as she swung her legs back and forth. Seeing the large smile plastered in her face, Johan sighed before shaking his head and turning back to the food he was preparing once again.
He had to admit that Pria was one of these people that it’s just impossible to stay mad at. Sighing in defeat and knowing that there were going to be many more scoldings that would be gleefully ignored by the girl and he would be unable to do anything.
While he became sullen by his guaranteed defeat against the girl, Pria suddenly started tapping on the table with the fork, getting his attention.
“What’s it?” He asked as he took the chance to turn off the oven. Pria quickly pointed towards the clock on the wall with a worried expression. Following her gaze, Johan looked at the hands of the clock, and while for a moment he couldn’t quite understand what she was worried about, it soon came to him. “Oh, you worried about my classes? Don’t worry. Today the classes are at afternoon, so I have the morning free.” And knowing the teacher, maybe even the afternoon itself, but he couldn’t be so sure. Yet.
Widening her eyes in understanding, Pria nodded before going back to the book she had at hand. From the looks of it she had just reached the half of the story. Despite spending most of her time reading, she still wasn’t very used to it, so she took some time to get through the pages.
Sitting quietly besides her, Johan took the chance to turn on the tv and see if there was anything interesting on. Deciding to take it easy for the day thanks to the leg injury, he would leave the hero work to his peers and simply relax for day.
Enjoying his (cheap) breakfast and the silent but cheerful company of Pria, the cheapskate student simply enjoyed his calm morning.
Until he heard a car parking in the front of his house. Curious, he headed over to the window and opened the curtain. However, he quickly closed it again and put on a worried expression while looking at Pria. Pacing back and forth for a moment, he finally sighed and shook his head. No use trying to hide it, right?
“Pria. There’s someone arriving soon, so go put on the robe, will you?” He said. She blinked surprised before turning to him and nodding.
While seeing the girl melt and dart away from the kitchen at full speed, Johan walked towards the front door just in time to hear a familiar voice coming from outside.
“What… it’s not working?”
“Yeah, McPress is about to retire.” Johan said while opening the door to the man who stood stumped outside.
Wearing a nice fitting grey suit and a pair of intelectual looking sunglasses, the familiar-looking the black hair was swept backwards with a shiny gloss made by the gel that had been applied to it. He was a bit taller As the man stared at him in surprise, Johan simply raised an eyebrow and put on a slightly smug smile.
“…Johan… I see that you are doing well.” The man said with an amused tone.
“Heeh. Been better.” Johan replied with a shrug before motioning for the man to come in. “So, what brings you here?”
“Can’t a man check on his little brother every once in awhile?” The man said while entering the house. “Anyway, I had to come to this city for a business, so I decided to come check on you seeing how you… Well…”
“Yeah, sorry about that.” Johan said while walking in and motioning towards the living room. “But I’m ninety nine percent sure that pops is still angry with me.”
“I kind of noticed.” His elder brother said with a weary smile before sighing. “The twins miss you, you know? Can’t you at least pop up there every now and then?”
“Sorry. I’ll… Look into it.” Johan said while looking at the thing his brother had in his hand. “So… What’s that?”
“Clothes.” He replied while raising the bag he had in his hand. Just as Johan looked at him confused, his brother continued. “Mother said: ‘knowing him, he must be skipping costs with clothing, so it’s better to send some things so he have something new to wear once in awhile!’ or something like that.”
“Tell mother I love her, owe her my life and am willing to sacrifice myself should she ask for it.” Johan said while grabbing the bag and hugging it with a silly expression.
“Are you serious Joh? You haven’t even been buying clothes?” He asked confused, to which he nodded.
“Have you SEEN the price of clothes? It’s like… Two lunches or something!” Johan scolded while hugging the bag. “My job still doesn’t pay enough for such luxury, you know?”
“Job… Speaking of which, you did say you were working some…” Seeing his brother’s voice slowly drift off as his eyes landed on a corner of the room, Johan quickly figured out what exactly was happening, so with an awkward smile, he turned towards Pria who came in while buttoning up the robe.
“Brother, meet Pria. She’s someone I’m helping because of my job.” Johan said with an awkward tone before turning back to his brother. “Pria, this is Michael Fencer. Real Estate agent from the Fencer Company. Also, my brother.”
Widening her eyes surprised, Pria stared at the man who was so similar to her savior. While he did look a bit older and more mature, the resemblance were striking. Watching in amusement as Pria looked back and forth between the two of them, and Michael simply looked at her in confusion and shock, Johan quickly decided to carry on with the introductions.
“Anyway, Brother, as I said, Pria is a girl I helped out during my work. Since she lost her memories and became an aberrant, I’ve been helping her for now.” He explained.
“…Ah, so she’s an aberrant…” Michael said in an understanding manner while nodding. “That explains why she have such… Well… Unique look?” He said awkwardly.
At his words, Pria approached him and seemed ready to jump at him, but noticing a glance from Johan, who glared at her as if trying to warn her of something. Stopping herself on the tracks, she pouted slightly before turning to him with a confused glance, wanting to know how she’s supposed to greet him.
“Ah… My brother said your name is Pria, is that right?” Michael said while extending his hand. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Pria looked at hi hand and then towards Johan for a moment. When he nodded, she quickly went on to take the hand of Michael and shake it while beaming a smile. Much to Johans pleasure, he saw as his brother became as read as a tomato and started diverting his gaze from the girl’s direction.
Despite actually boasting a fairly good appearance, his brother was really, REALLY weak against girls. Even more than himself.
“Well, as you can see, Pria here can’t talk due to her strange body, so sorry about the lack of reply.” Johan said, to which Michael blinked before nodding weakly..
“I… See… That’s a sad story indeed.” He said with a nod. “It must have been difficult for you.” He said with a sincerely worried tone.
Pria replied with a tilt of her head before turning towards Johan and hugging him. While Johan was a bit surprised, he had started to slowly get used to the girl’s skinship, but on the other hand, his brother simply stared at the scene in shock and surprise.
“Wait… Are you two… You know… Going out?” Michael asked sincerely surprised
“Huh? No, not…” Johan started, but before he could go on, Pria nodded happily.
The siblings both froze at her reaction before turning towards the girl who was still hugging the younger one. For a moment they simply stood there in silence, but before Johan could react, Michael fell to the sofa with a depressed expression.
“Even… Even Johan got a girlfriend before me… Why…?” He said depressed.
“Probably because you can’t even talk to a girl if she smiles at you?” Johan said while poking fun at his brother before shaking his head. “No. Wait. That’s not the important Part. Oi, Pria, do you even know what going out means?” He said while turning to the slime girl who was looking at him confused.
She tilted her head confused and Johan quickly understood that she was misunderstanding things again. Shaking his head, he couldn’t help but feel slightly amused at her capacity to make things embarrassing without even blinking an eye.
“Wait, so you two aren’t…” Michael said surprised, to which Johan shook his head. “…Then at least my little brother… At least before you…”
“Jeez, cheer up, will ya? I’m sure you have more than a couple girls after you on the firm, you know?” Johan said, but Michael quickly shook his head.
“No way. I’m their future boss, so I can’t go around dating them, you know?” With his elder brother hurriedly denying the idea embarrassed, Johan couldn’t help but feel that there might be something else that he wasn’t telling him. “And speaking of boss, you didn’t answer me yet, where exactly have you been working to meet this girl?”
“Speaking of which, how’s the twins been doing?” Johan said while trying to push Pria back, but while he did manage to move her away from his front. From the looks of it she had fused her arms around him expecting him to push her away.
“…Why are you trying to change the subject, Johan?” Michael asked suspicious.
“Huh? Am I?” Johan asked in a surprised tone while drifting his eyes away.
“…Johan… exactly have you been getting your money?” Michael asked. After a moment johan sighed before shrugging.
“Well, to be honest, it’s not like I haven’t told you guys before.” He said with a tired expression before looking seriously at his brother. “I’ve been starting to dabble with the occult arts and a bit of martial arts so that I could start working as a hero seeing how the pay per hour can be surprisingly good.” He said everything in one short burst, leaving Michael surprised for a moment before finally covering his face with his palm.
“…We thought you were joking…” He said tiredly.
“I wasn’t.” Johan shrugged.
“Oh gods… I knew you liked to fool around with magic and all, but… About the hero thingy… How do I tell father about this without giving him a heart attack?” Michael said tiredly, but he soon stopped and froze while widening his eyes as another worrying thought came to him.
“How do you tell the twins, right?” Johan said amused.
After all, while his elder brother was the calm and composed one of his siblings, the twins were a lot more impulsive. With the only thing keeping the two younger siblings in check being his elder brother, the two of them feared what would happen if they saw what Johan have been doing and decided to copy him.
Not saying that they were worse than him, but compared to Johan whose cheapskate mentality made him extremely cautious, and thus he wasn’t very likely to do some reckless actions. The twins, on the other hand were extremely prone to reckless behaviours, and would most likely get themselves hurt on the process.
“Why do you think I left it as a joke?” Johan said with a sigh.
“Fair enough.” Michael replied before shaking his head. “So you met her during one of your jobs?”
“Yeah. She was starving on the streets when I found her, then after getting a misunderstanding with her I was kind of guilt-tripped into taking care of her.” Johan said with a tired smile.
“…I see…” Michael said with the same expression. Both of them blamed their father’s blood for their weakness against girls. “I would ask if you are safe with this job and so on, but I don’t think that’s a question you make to someone working on the hero job-line.” After a long sigh, he finally turned towards Johan and put on a serious look. “It’s your choice and I’m going to respect that, but make sure your job doesn’t affect your grades, you hear me? If I even dream that you had a single bad grade, you are going to answer to me. ARE. WE. CLEAR?”
As his brother said those words, a threatening aura started to seep out from his body with such intensity that it looked like the face of a demon was forming behind him. With both Johan and Pria being caught by surprise by the sudden threatening atmosphere, the duo quickly moved back while scared.
Even though Johan could easily wipe his brother’s face on the floor with one hand tied behind his back, he couldn’t help but fear this death god of study before him while posing as his brother.
“P-Pria… Remember this… Angry brothers are scary.” He whispered to her while under the gaze of the demon. Pria Nodded weakly while shrinking behind his back, trying to hide herself.