The rain stopped morning the next day.
The downpour continued for more than half a day.
Even so, the water didn’t flow inside the cave.
「 Let’s go back to the hideout for now 」
「 I’m already starving! 」
「 Me too. Should we put jerky in the box next time? 」
「 No, the strong smell will make animals dig to it 」
We started moving as the sun goes up.
We walk across the muddy path and back to our hideout.
「 Hokage! Mana! Karin! You’re safe! 」
Arisa welcomes us in the hideout.
Everyone else is in here too. Nobody’s missing.
Seems like they don’t have any health problems either.
「 We were close to the Asakura cave. It’s much closer to hide in Shinomiya cave than the hideout so we sheltered ourselves there 」
「 Speaking of which, you did hide some spare clothing for rainy days over there 」
Eri said while preparing our meal.
Our breakfast today is a grilled fish after a long while.
She made it with the sweetfish that’s been swimming in the earthenware bucket just a moment ago.
She’s hooked into cooking recently so this has a fresh taste on the contrary.
「 Well yeah. That’s why it wasn’t so harsh on us 」
I heartily nibble on the grilled fish.
Eating something from the survival basics after a long while is delicious as expected.
My body is overflowing with power and survival soul.
「 Putting that aside, we’re cutting our day off today 」
After our stomach calmed down, I talked about the large-scale plan I have in mind.
But, there are no objections, and everyone’s in for the plan.
「 Just in case, we’re moving in duos. The teams will be Arisa and me, Eri and Tanaka, Karin and Kageyama, then Meiko and Hinako 」
「 Hokage, what about me? 」
Mana points at herself.
「 Mana will have to procure food. Ask Rita and the group to pick fruits and mushrooms in mass quantities. I don’t think that we’ll run into problems, but our preserved food and emergency stock might be lacking as a result of our recruitment
「 Got it! 」
「 If there are no problems in the team composition then we’re moving, any objections? 」
There probably won’t be any, I thought.
But, two people raised their hands. Eri and Meiko.
「 I want to team up with Hokage-kun 」
「 Uwaaaaaa?!! Why?! Eri-dono?! 」
「 Sorry, Tanaka-kun 」
Eri said nothing but that.
「 Well, since you asked for it, let’s do that. But, Arisa will have to team up with Tanaka. Do you mind? 」
「 I don’t. I have a poor sense of direction so you have to make sure that we don’t get lost, okay? 」
「 I understand 」
Now that Eri’s no longer his partner, Tanaka’s visibly sad.
「 You’re so hopeless. I’ll teach you love techniques! 」
Arisa pats Tanaka’s back and smiled.
Then, Mana retorted with “you have no boyfriend since birth.”
「 You too Mana, you never got yourself a boyfriend either! 」
「 Hey, someone confessed to me! I just rejected them! 」
「 I got that too! Karin, Eri, Meiko, and Hinako are in the same boat too! 」
Mana and Arisa started a war with words.
I get in between the two and calmed them down.
「 Meiko’s got questions too. Do you not want to be with Hinako? 」
Hinako looked at Meiko with a crying face.
Everyone’s worried about what Meiko’s thinking.
Then, Meiko shook her head, saying “it’s not like that.”
「 It’s not like that, but, I’m just thinking that it’s about time for Hinako to mature. She’s already accustomed to living here, and she’s able to converse with people even when I’m not around, see? That’s all 」
「 I see 」
So she’s being considerate of Hinako.
Mana and Karin are impressed, saying “What a kind Big-sis”
Hinako isn’t saying anything.
「 Meiko can pair up with Kageyama or Karin. Who do you prefer? 」
「 Kageyama-kun will do. I think that it’s too early for Hinako to be alone with any boys but Shinomiya-kun 」
Meiko asks Hinako, “am I wrong?”
Hinako shook her head, and muttered “no”
「 So are there any objections with Kageyama and Meiko pair? 」
「 No problems! 」
「 I don’t mind pairing with Hinako-chan either, 」 says Karin
「 Me too 」
「 Then that’s decided 」
「 Okay! We’re going to scout some people now! 」
Arisa shouts full of energy.
Everyone’s about to follow her but I told them to wait.
「 We need something before that 」
「 What do we need? 」
「 In this situation, we should use that one thing all the girls have in their bag 」
「 What’s that? 」
「 If it’s something shared among girls, it’s got to be cosmetics 」
「 We need to disguise? 」
「 Recent cosmetics are amazing 」
「 Using a disguise, it fires me up! 」
「 It’s not special effects makeup so there won’t be that much change 」
「 Unfortunately, it’s not cosmetics 」
I denied. Arisa shouted;
「 Then what is it? 」
You don’t have to rush me, I’ll tell you.
「 It’s Mask 」
「 「 「 「 「 Ah 」 」 」 」 」
The girls noticed.
It’s true, they all have masks.
The mask they have isn’t for protection.
The reason is that it saves on makeup and makes their face look smaller.
It’s a necessity for them, just like the selfie stick.
「 We should think of common colds spreading in the enemy territory. Even when the people we recruit may seem healthy at first, but they could get fever as soon as we return to the hideout. To prepare for that situation, we’re going out equipped with masks. Mana, who’s doing other work should also put on a mask just in case. 」
With that, we all equipped ourselves with a mask.
(Masks are a real cheat)
You can raise the level of your appearance with just a mask.
It’s effective on guys who don’t have the looks, like me.
When it comes to women, who have excellent looks, it’s just insane.
「 Shinomiya-kun’s getting much more handsome when putting on a mask 」
Meiko stares at me.
Hinako on her side is nodding furiously.
「 You say that it’s increasing but I’m not even a handsome guy in the first place 」
「 Really? But I think you look good 」
「 I agree with Meiko. You have that gentle handsome look, 」 says Karin
「 Oh, I get that. It’s a little different than the fresh look 」
「 It’s my first time hearing that. Putting that aside, we’re now ready to depart 」
I go out of the cave and gave orders.
「 Let’s begin scouting people out! 」