The voice that reached us was the kind of voice that had the power to put its listeners at ease, one without any particular force behind it. This is a voice I’ve heard countless times.
“Grgh?! What do you think you’re doing here, Anat?!”
Laladi’s cry is somewhere between surprise and utter disgust. Anat is dressed in her usual habit, and her eyes are closed in a way that makes her exude an aura of kindness. She draws closer to us, not paying even the slightest bit of attention to Laladi’s question.
“Aaah… It’s been some tiiiime, Master… I was so lonely without yooou… Cheer me up, pleaaaase…”
With that, Anat promptly takes my head and shoves it against her chest. Now here I am, head stuffed in the middle of her admittedly plump bosom and contending with the incredibly legitimate threat of death by suffocation.
“You were amaziiiiing, the way you killed those ogres so eaaasily… It’s making my heart beat so faaaaast… It’s making me feel waaaaarmer, even…”
What she’s talking about is anyone’s guess. With my head as cushioned as it is, I can barely make out any outside noise. I… I’m dying…! Anat, stop!
“Oh, deaaar…! I can feel your warm breath, Masteeer…”
Completely oblivious to any of my thoughts, Anat’s voice takes on a somewhat flirtatious tone. Imbuing her hold with even more strength, she pushes my face deeper into her chest. I don’t… I don’t think I’ll make it out of this…
Maybe it’s not too bad, dying at the hands of someone you love as a daughter… To have my ultimate cause of death be labeled as ‘suffocation by ample bosom,’ on the other hand, is probably the worst way this could have ever come about…
Just when I come to terms with my absolutely tragic end, I feel a pulling sensation guiding my body. I finally take my leave of the suffocating softness and heat, my departure accompanied by the lilt of a charming voice.
Barely a moment passes before I feel a grip holding me again. This time, however, it doesn’t lead to the same literally breath-taking sensation, but rather to a small, almost negligible layer of softness immediately followed by the feeling of hard bones. Laladi…
“So you came here to goof off, huh? Lala’s gonna get you for that.”
“Come now; I didn’t, reaaally… You just took the Master and ran ooooff… Also, it’s true that I was loooonely… Well, my body certainly waaaaas…”
Laladi’s voice overlaps perfectly with Maho’s; goodness knows why they both decided to pipe up.
Also, no! I didn’t do anything! I haven’t done anything like that with anyone, I swear! I practically smothered whatever libido I had left so that I wouldn’t do anything to you; I’ll have you know!
Come on, Anat. Don’t tease Laladi, would you? Just give an honest answer.
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“Of course, Maaaaster…”
Anat chuckles, and I give her a thin-lipped smile. Laladi still has a good point, though – how did she know we’d be here?
I planned on getting in contact with the girls, sure, but one thing led to another, and in the end, I just wasn’t in the right position to do that anymore…
With a smile, Anat finally answers Laladi’s question.
“You don’t really think that weee, as members of Yelquchiraaaa, wouldn’t be able to find out where the Master was, did yoooooou? You can be as secretive as you waaaaaant, but the Master could be anywhere, and we’d know in a day’s tiiiime…”
…Anat? Is it just me, or did you say something absolutely terrifying? Does everyone know what I do at all times? Don’t I get any privacy?
Also, secretive? Was Laladi doing anything secretive?
Dozens of questions are on my mind right now, but seeing the way the usually adorable Laladi clicks her tongue with unceremonious peevishness makes me think that I won’t get the chance to ask her anything.
Would you look at that. Maho seems unaffected, at this point probably used to that sort of behavior, but the sound Laladi made is enough to put poor Yuuto on edge.
“And here Lala thought that red cow-titted whore was getting in her way. Now she has to deal with the pea-brained zealot.”
“Oh, yeeees… I see you took out some Angel Faith garbaaage, well done… I have to commend you for thaaaat…”
“Oh, spare Lala the praise. It’s not gonna make her happy.”
Anat! That’s a really delicate subject for the other two right now, alright? Don’t say things like that; you’re digging up old wounds! Also, could you please stop badmouthing the Angel Faith? At least when you’re outside?
We can’t be sure that someone from the Angel Faith isn’t listening in on us right now. Disciples of that particular creed are both extremely dangerous and a downright pain in the neck; they have no regard for other denominations and have a bad habit of seeking out their adherents and putting them down. We should keep it down for now, especially since Anat’s proclivities tend to attract their attention.
“By the waaaay, do you know who found the Master fiiiiirst…? The staaaaaalker, can you believe it…? She found out about you sometime yesterdaaaaaay….”
“Lala should’ve known. So it really was Sorglos who told you about us, huh…?”
Wait, do you girls really call Sorglos a stalker? Do you always do that?! Sure, she usually goes out to shadow someone, but… wait, that someone isn’t me, right?
“Hey. Who’s that?”
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Maho delivers her question as a whisper. Her gaze points directly at the Anat, who makes a show of gently dealing with Laladi, who in turn keeps rushing at her with gusto.
Oh, right. You’ve never met before, that’s reason enough to start introductions. She’s…
“Good daaaay… You can call me Anaaaaat… I’m a member of Yelquchira, just your average, pious nun and worshipper of the Maaaster…”
“H-Hello. I’m Maho…. W-Wait, you worship the Master…?”
Before she can properly make sense of what might have happened, Maho finds herself face to face with none other than Anat herself. Her eyes dart about in bewilderment.
Listen, I don’t mind you two sharing introductions, but did you really have to mention your whole religious creed thing? There’s only one person out there who deifies me as some sort of chief deity, Anat, and that’s you. You realize that, right?
“There’s a good reason I came here todaaaay, and that’s to extend an invitation to you, Mahooo…”
“Yes! You have the potential to become a nun of our faith, the Master Faith…!”
What’s that supposed to mean? The open display of proselytization unfolds far too naturally for my liking. It’s almost enough to make me lose my fixed smile. From impatience, of course.
Come on, Anat, that’s quite enough. You’re just bothering the poor girl. I do my best to remain gentle as I tell her as much, but…
“Oh, that’s not true at aaaaaall… Why, Maho herself should know this by noooooow…”
Know… what, exactly?
Anat continues smiling, and I can’t see any sign of her conversion attempts taking a back seat any time soon.
Hm… While I’m sure that she would stop if I ordered her to, I’ve never been comfortable doing that sort of thing, guild master or not… But something tells me that things are going to change soon, and not necessarily for the better…
I mutter to myself for some time, my smile still not fading. That’s when Laladi, using just the tiniest bit of force, tugs at my clothes.
“This isn’t good, Master. When someone catches Anat’s eye, and she decides to talk to them, they’d need about as much will power as Lala and the others do. Otherwise, they’ll just get consumed by her ideas.”
Laladi shakes her head from side to side, her tone implying that there’s nothing we can do for her.
Wait, wouldn’t that be brainwashing? Huh? No, wait… I thought Anat was supposed to be some kind of nun…
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“Come nooow, try to remembeeeer… Who was it who saved you from diiiiire circumstances, from a horrific existeeeeeence…?
“It… It’s the Master… He saved me…”
“That’s riiiiight… What the Master has given you is so great that a liiiiiiifetime of work could never repaaaaay him… But nevertheless, his faaaaaavor must be retuuuuurned…”
Whoa, whoa! It is brainwashing! And it’s getting worse…!
Maho’s eyes lose more and more of their luster as Anat continues to speak.
Oh boy. That something I saw in her eyes earlier, that thing I thought was so familiar… I’d seen it in Anat long before. She has the same eyes Anat has every morning when she holes herself up in her room to offer worship and sends her prayers to me. I’ll admit… Maho definitely has the makings of someone like Anat.
“It is done! Now, return to your home woooorld, there is something you must do, yeeeees…?”
“There is! I must spread the word of the Master so that the world may hear of his Faith!”
With more vigor than needed, Maho, her eyes spinning, raises her hands to the sky as she gives Anat her response.
S-She’s been completely brainwashed…
I look on as Maho gleefully accepted some strange accessory from Anat’s hands. My shoulders sag. Now that she’s completely bought into Anat’s cult, I can’t see her joining the guild anymore. For the sake of my sanity, if nothing else.
T-Then again, it won’t be me she’ll be living with from now on, it’ll be Yuuto. Good luck, my boy.
Yuuto’s face is pallid, having lost all color at the sight of Anat’s unmitigated skill with indoctrination. He looks at me in shocked disbelief.
“…Thank you for all you’ve done for us.”
“We’ll see each other soon, Master! I’ll be sure to come visit you! Don’t worry; I’ll do my best to spread the word of the Master Faith before I come back! The whole world will know about it! I’ll use brute force if I have to!”
Yuuto and Maho leave for their homeworld, each one of them leaving behind their own goodbyes. Do Maho’s goodbyes make me uneasy? Yes. This isn’t a laughing matter. Still, I’m sure that Yuuto can find a way to take care of things.
I mean, this is another world we’re talking about here. I can’t be bothered to meddle in its affairs, can I? Sure, they’ll probably be treated like some sort of mad cult, but again, not my problem. I’m really sorry I have to resort to this, but all I can ask is that Yuuto does his best over there.
“Well then, why don’t we head baaaack…? Everyone’s been so loooonely without you, Maaaaster…”
“Keh…! So this is where Lala’s happy fun-time ends, huh…?”
With Lala stamping her feet in complete frustration at her side, Anat extends her invitation.
She’s right. I’ve probably worried them all sick, haven’t I? I better apologize.