When I woke up in the morning, I found Akira asleep on the couch.
Next to her, Princess Amelia was stroking her head.
It's been a long time since I've seen Akira's sleeping face.
...... It's rare to see Akira sleeping so unprotected.
When I said that, Princess Amelia shook her shoulders a bit and looked at me.
Her eyes are somewhat sad.
I wonder what's going on?
''Huh? You're up early, Amelia. I thought I'd be the first to go!
...... Well, I haven't been sleeping well.
I was about to ask her, but was interrupted by Ueno, who woke up.
She answered Ueno, who was still stroking Akira's head and making a lot of noise in the morning.
His eyes were different from the ones from earlier, and they were filled with affection.
''Whoa! I haven't seen Oda-kun this vulnerable for the first time in ...... no, I haven't seen him in a long time!
Oh, I agree with Ueno's words in paraphrase.
Akira was a famous sleeper in class.
She only woke up every time she was the teacher who came to wake her up or when she was in a scary teacher's class, but the rest of the time she was usually asleep in class.
I wondered how I could avoid red marks on every test.
Well, I was the only one who knew about it.
If the rest of my classmates knew, they would have made a fuss about me cheating.
I thought that a little bit too, until I found out that Akira was studying in between his part-time jobs.
'I don't know Akira ....... I'm curious.
Princess Amelia's reaction to the biting Princess Amelia's reaction was about to turn into a conversation between the girls, so I decided to leave early.
'I'll be in the other room. Call me when you're ready to go outside.
'Whoa! Asahina-kun, were you there?
I thought he was ignoring me so badly from earlier, but apparently Ueno hadn't noticed my presence.
It was there all along.
I answer a question and walk out of the room.
The prizes will be handed over around noon.
Receiving the prizes are Princess Amelia, Latisse Nail, and for some reason, Sato, who won first place in the men's division.
Apparently, most of the contestants in the men's division were all muscle-bound machos who looked like bodybuilders, and most of the votes were cast for Sato.
We were part of the strategy, but we didn't expect Sato to actually win the prize, so when we heard that he was first, we did a double take.
For the past few days, we've been trying to figure out what Tsuda had told us.
The more we explored, the more it became clear that Gram, the guild master of Uruk, was involved.
There is no longer any doubt in my mind that Gram is involved in the disappearance of past contest winners.
And the other side isn't even making an effort to hide it.
They didn't even use an informant, and even mere adventurers like us were able to gather information.
Instead, they were more concerned about being sent to the informer, and Crow and the others who were gathering information from that side probably haven't completely sensed that it was Gram's work yet.
We've been thinking about whether to tell Akira and the others or not.
'Have you made up your mind?'
I nodded to Sato, who was leaning against the wall right next to me as I left the room.
The dark circles under Akira's eyes, darker and darker by the day, were not for me to overlook, and I had always opposed Sato and the others who said I should let them know.
Of course, it would be best to let Akira and the others know and keep Princess Amelia and Sato on guard.
But after seeing Akira today, I've made up my mind.
''I won't let Akira know. ...... Well, he's not stupid either, so I'm sure he's doing something about it.
Some kind of hand?
Sato tilted his head at my words.
I nodded and put my index finger to my lips.
'Have you noticed? I haven't seen him at night since yesterday. I don't know if she's escorting Princess Amelia somewhere or if she's out gathering information, but I'm sure she's working at the wishes of Akira.
Well, either way, I'll have to come up with an excuse for not telling him.
Sato nodded in agreement.
'You understand Akira better than any of us. Then I suppose we should have kept it that way.
I'm sure Sato has been spending almost all of his time with Akira too.
'Let's leave Amelia-san in charge, Ueno-san, and we'll move on to the final check. Everyone's waiting for us in the room.
Oh, I replied, and I followed Sato.
I haven't seen Akira sleeping like that in recent years.
We go to bed before he does, and he wakes up before we do.
Either he's an early riser or he's not sleeping.
Either way, though, I can see it's not good for your health.
I wonder if he would feel much more comfortable around Princess Amelia.
Anyway, I'm glad that he's resting for now.
It's all thanks to Princess Amelia.
I feel like Akira has become more rounded since he met Princess Amelia.
Well, because of that, if something happens to Princess Amelia, she will quickly turn into the most dangerous person in the world.