The world was superscripted by an illusion.
In an instant Alice and Shirley’s living room, their location, was changed to the open sky of outdoors.
Roses were blooming in profusion all around them, and a refined fragrance filled the area.
Petals swirled with the wind in a sublime dance.
It was Rose Garden.
Masaki and the others were standing in a circle cut off from the rose-beds that surrounded it. The circumference of the circle was about five meters. It wasn’t very wide.
Although the roses surrounding them were as tall as their chest, there was a grass arch in one direction, and continuing from it was a rose promenade.
“Welcome, to my world.”
The smiling Masaki was wearing a black and white tailcoat. He held a silver tray in his hand.
The look of shock on Alice’s face was so clear that anyone could understand it.
Shirley suddenly left the round plaza, passed through the arch and left the promenade.
“This is amazing! How did you do this!?”
“… It’s not… an illusion. I don’t think that this is anything but real. It should be evening soon and yet it’s so bright… this isn’t summer sunlight either. Where is this place?”
“It’s already evening in summer Canaan. You can spend your whole day here and it will still be daytime. Rain doesn’t fall too.”
“Alice~~~! Roses! This place is full of roses~~~!!”
Shirley shouted from a distance with a voice loud enough to reach the depths of the rose garden.
A fence with ivy coiled around it could be seen in the distance at the one of the edges the flower garden.
“It will take about 20 minutes for you to reach the fence. Even if you climbed over the fence and went out, you probably wouldn’t find a gate.”
“…Is this what is called a transfer-type Dialect? Which foreign country did we move to from Canaan?”
“That’s what I thought at first, but it’s probably different. If you watch this, you’ll see the reason.”
Masaki turned his eyes and a table appeared on top of the lawn.
It was a round wooden table with a knit-grass design. And two chairs of the same style.
It hadn’t been there until a moment ago.
Alice returned to her usual emotionless face.
“…It’s just like fairy-tale magic. However, if you moved us here, then it would be possible for you to move the table, right.”
“Well, take a seat. I’ll be bringing the tea soon. You can have as much cake as you like. Would you like a cookie?”
Alice sat down on the chair.
From the tray he held in one hand, Masaki put down glasses of water, spread out a napkin, and lined up teaspoons.
Since he was waiting on them, he only put two sets.
An out of breath Shirley came back.
“Ha…ha… it’s amazing Alice! It’s really big!”
“I’ll understand if I see it.”
“Hey-hey, where did you run off to that ended up with you getting leaves on your head?”
Masaki took out the small leaves that were entwined in her hair.
“I didn’t mean to, but I ended up peering into a bush.”
“Your face wasn’t scratched by the rose thorns, was it?”
“Ahaha, I’m fine. Since the thorns of the roses don’t have poison.”
“That’s not a problem. I’m going to serve the tea now so sit down.”
After she sat down in the chair, Shirley looked around restlessly.
Masaki took out a small hand bell from his breast pocket, held it in his fingertips and shook it.
The sound of the bell rung out.
“…Is there a waiter?”
“If you see this, I think you’ll understand that my Dialect isn’t a transfer-type.”
A sound rose out of the background and approached.
Both of the girls turned their eyes to the grass arch.
A rabbit the size of a human child appeared.
But it walked skilfully on its two hind legs. It wore a red waistcoat and had a bow tie on its chest.
It was holding a silver tray in its front legs with a perfectly laid out teapot and teacups.
“Wooow! It’s so cuuuute!”
Shirley shouted in a merry voice.
Masaki nodded joyfully.
“That’s a relief.”
Alice was silent.
He started to get anxious about whether or not she liked it.
Masaki took the teacup and teapot from the rabbit that had come close. The rabbit was a little too short to place it on the table.
He placed the teacups on the table and then poured the tea from the teapot carefully.
As for the tea, every time it was poured into a cup, its flavor would change.
“Ah! It smells like roses! Right!?”
Masaki nodded at Shirley’s words. It seemed like she was trying to savor it because of the conversation from before. It was delightful for the person who served it.
He chose the rose-flavored tea this time.
Alice brought the teacup to her lips without saying a word.
All expression vanished from her face.
“Erm, Alice, are you alright?”
She looked like she was gazing into the distance. Or you could say that she seemed absent-minded or half asleep.
“Hey, are you alright Alice?”
“…A land of dreams?”
“What are you saying?”
Masaki tilted his head to the side. Alice blushed.
“…It’s, it’s nothing. A, Anyway, this place definitely seems like Dialect. Or perhaps I should say that this place has already become the world itself.”
“Ah, it seems like that. I was thinking about whether or not other people would also get this kind of feeling. “
Shirley waved her hand from side to side.
Alice seemed to have the same opinion too.
“…This is the first time that I’ve seen such a magnificent Dialect. Also, there’s no scope for it to oppose us Level 7’s.”
“I can choose who I want to invite here. But it’s difficult when the number of people increases.”
“In addition, we should have been sitting down…when we were summoned to this place, we were standing up.”
Honestly, he didn’t understand the fine details of it.
“Well, somehow or another, it seems like I’m able to invite people to my impression of a garden restaurant. At that moment, wouldn’t it have felt strange to be sitting on the lawn?”
“…The fantasy that I actualise is characters from fairy tales. It’s a little like the rose garden that you actualised.”
“Really. It might be a little close to my hobby.”
Shirley raised her hand.
“What about me!?”
“Rays of light fly out of your right fist right?”
“Yeah! It can pierce through anything!”
“…There’s nothing similar about it.”
Alice declared it bluntly.
Shirley was about to object but, it seemed like she couldn’t come up with anything to argue her point.
Masaki arranged the biscuits that another rabbit had brought, on the table.
When the rabbits finished what they were doing, they stood quietly in a line close to the plaza. They were motionless like large stuffed animals.
A sweet, appetising aroma was rising from the freshly made biscuits.
The eyes of the two girls brightened. Shirley was the first one to start eating it.
“It’s so delicious! It’s so delicious!”
“…Is this also an illusion? Is the taste of this tea from a shop?”
Alice started on it once she understood that it seemed to be fine.
Masaki didn’t really understand the reason but he made a preface.
“I think that it’s probably the biscuits that I’ve cooked before. I can only serve cuisine that I’ve previously made.”
“…Eh!? Masaki made these cookies?”
“If I had the tools… That’s why I want a large kitchen. I want to increase my repertoire even more.”
“Come to think of it, cooking is one of Masaki’s strong points. Like his puddings.”
“Hahaha, when I was a kid, I only mixed it then refrigerated it. I miss those times.”
The biscuits on top of the plates had disappeared and the teacups were empty.
The two girls sat around the table in a dream-like state.
While standing up straight one of them gently brushed the teacup as if she was enjoying a lingering memory.
Another one looked up into the sky with her back to the chair.
“This is paradise isn’t it?”
“…There’s a Dialect like this.”
“I’m happy that it pleases you.”
“Ah, come to think of it, what is the name of this place?”
“The name? I haven’t decided yet. But I call it ‘Rose Garden’.”
“Eh~ isn’t that too ordinary? How about Rabbit Restaurant!?”
“Well, I think the roses are the distinctive trait…”
“Then, Rabbit Rose Restaurant!”
“It sounds like you’re misunderstanding things a little.”
By the way, the ribbed part of meat is called Baraniku (1).
The rabbits close to them that heard that drew back.
Alice shook her head.
“…That’s nonsense. We should be paying more attention to the fact that this world is his Dialect rather than rabbits, restaurants and rose gardens.”
“Eh~, then what name do you think would be good Alice?”
“…The gate invites people to another world… in other words, the gate… that’s right… Gate of Rabbit.”
The rabbits again!? They must be extremely popular rabbits, Masaki thought to himself.
“Well, the name doesn’t really matter, right?”
“That’s no good!”
“Really? Ah, it will be time soon. We can’t stay for very long.”
The chimes of a bell could be heard in the distance.
Clang, clang, clang…
“This sounds a bit like a wedding bell ––”
Before Shirley finished what she was saying, the landscape around them changed.
They were back in the room they had been in before, the living room of Alice and Shirley’s home. In front of them was a triangular table.
Masaki dropped his raised hand like a conductor.
“What do you think?”
“Nihhyaaaa! That was brilliant, Masaki!”
Shirley’s smile filled her whole face. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor. Because she was still wearing the skirt of her school uniform, Masaki found it a little difficult to find a place to look at her.
“…That wasn’t bad.”
Alice sat on a zaisu (2). She was looking up at the rabbit stuffed toy on the shelf. She confirmed that it was holding an analog watch in its hand.
“…Time has gone by at the right pace.”
“I don’t think that it’s a dream or illusion. Is your stomach full?”
“Nihaha, today it’s full of delicious food!”
“…Masaki-kun, what happens if you use it in a bus or train?”
“When I come back I’m the same spot as when I left. I wonder if it’d be a little dangerous to invite the driver.”
Since the buses and trains were assisted by AIs, an accident probably wouldn’t happen.
Alice was lost in thought.
“…Well then, for example, what about if Shirley was about to hit Masaki-kun?”
“That’s not nice.”
“Is it possible for you to escape into Gate of Rabbit by yourself?”
“I think it’s possible. But it’s impossible for me to escape the moment before I’m hit since I need time to concentrate to use it.”
“…It’s not good for an emergency escape.”
After all, its practical use was evaluated to be low.
Shirley clapped her hands.
“Then, what about if you invite a rule-breaker? They won’t be able to escape, right!?”
“I’ve never gone to the other side of that fence, so maybe?”
“Why don’t you try it out?”
“What would I do if I can’t come back?”
“Uwa~ No way!!”
“…We can’t make a person go missing. We’re Breaker, not executioners or hit men.”
Do they understand now? thought Masaki as he watched them.
Alice breathed a sigh and Shirley shrugged her shoulders.
“…I haven’t seen a Dialect that could be called exceptional. I wouldn’t hesitate to recognize it as Level 7… but it isn’t cut out for the work of Breaker.”
“You’re jumping to conclusions, aren’t you!?”
“Do you understand now? Then in the same way as before, you two––”
“Eh!?” responded both Masaki and Shirley, surprised by Alice’s words.
She stood up from the zaisu and left for one of her rooms on another floor.
“…Masaki-kun is my partner… I decided that before I even saw your Dialect. Are you going to quit before you even try it once?”
“That isn’t the reason why…”
“…Are you unhappy that you’re my partner?”
“Not at all!”
“Then the ‘talk about what will happen after this’ is finished…”
“Wait, Alice. What about me!?”
Naturally, Shirley didn’t stay silent. Alice looked back at her with cold eyes.
“…I don’t plan on handing anything over to you.”
“Whatever you say to me, I don’t plan on handing this over ––Sakurazaka Shirley is Alice Clockheart’s friend! That won’t change!”
She beat her chest. Her words were accompanied with a thump.
“Even if we have fights, even if we’re not partners, the fact that I can’t leave you alone won’t change! ”
“…You are… a fool. I changed partners without telling you, stole your childhood friend, and you’re still saying that we’re friends?”
“That has nothing to do with it. Friendship isn’t something that is measured in terms of loss and gain. Whether or not you need me, you’re still important to me! That’s a friend!”
Shirley’s shoulders shook cheerfully.
Alice turned her back to her and bit her lip.
“…As I thought… you’re an idiot. A strange person. I could even say that you’re a deviant.”
“I’m not your partner anymore… there are lots of rooms, so there’s no need for you to leave… goodbye.”
She left the room.
Shirley saw her off by waving one of her hands.
“Ah, are you going to sleep soon?”
“I see. Then, see you tomorrow. Good night.”
The door closed at the same moment that Masaki finished speaking.
It wasn’t evening yet, so he thought that it was early for her to go to sleep, but he couldn’t do anything about it.
“Ah, once she enters her room, she doesn’t come out till the next morning.”
“What are you going to do Masaki? Will you stay?”
“Hey-hey… I’ll leave of course. About the matter of partners, I think we’d better talk more about it together, but we can’t do it today.”
“Yeah! Well, see you tomorrow. Should I walk you home?”
“The opposite of that is normal, you know.”
She escorted him up to the entrance. Since he had the Ring Gear, he would be able to get home by himself without getting lost.
Masaki waved his hand and said “See you tomorrow.”
Shirley responded with “See you later!”
She hasn’t changed since she was a child has she, Masaki thought.
(1) Baraniku is what the Japanese call spare ribs. Bara = rose, niku = meat. Pun? 😀
(2) Zaisu is style of Japanese chair that has a chair back, but lacks legs and sits directly on the floor.