As the members of the lab were chatting with each other, some light banter exchanged sometimes, Erina looked as if she thought about something as she spoke.
[Ahh, that's right. Since Riri-chan and Liddy-chan are in a different grade, I'll give them something different but…… I think I'll tell you second years about the next homeworks.]
And it's an announcement of homeworks. Considering the time she's saying it, I'm sure that also includes the homework for the New Year vacations…… This is going to be a pretty big homework.
[I won't be deciding on a theme this time, so everyone will have to come up with a research theme of their own. If you need any equipment, please let me know in advance, and I will prepare it and give you some advice.]
[Ahh, I see…… Think about our own research theme huh. In other words, designing your own research would also be part of the homework.]
[Unnn, that's right. I'm not going to put any restrictions on you, so feel free to do whatever you want. I also just finished submitting my own research at a big conference, so I have some time on my hands. If you have any doubts, feel free to ask me for advice.]
Thinking and researching my own from scratch is quite a tough task. Well, Alyssa would be able to do it easily like usual, while Fae-san would be able to quickly finish it as long as she was motivated.
From a performance standpoint, it's just Iris-san and I who will be struggling with this homework…… No, Iris-san is smarter than me, so I'm the one having the hardest time here.
I hope that I could get this done before the end of the year so that it won't ruin my holidays.
[Unnn What is it, Alyssa-chan Have you already decided on your theme]
[It's almost Christmas, so let's do something with every lab members!]
[……That doesn't have anything to do with what we're talking about here at all. Geez, seriously, this child…… You really are quite free. And yet, you're supposed to be the top student……]
When Alyssa started saying something out of the blue, Erina dumbfoundedly looked at her, but she didn't really stop her that strongly. I guess she really trusts that she's someone who can do something when she wants to.
[Wouldn't a Christmas Party with everyone be great]
[……Christmas Party…… sounds fun.]
[……You don't have to use us as an excuse, you could just be honest with yourself and———- Ah, wait!]
[Oyaaa Fae-san, I see you're still half-awake~~]
[Youchhhh! Stop, don't even think about———- Gyaaaaahhhh!]
Hearing the word "party" made Iris-san's eyes lit up, but when Fae-san was about to say something, Alyssa caught her in a joint lock and she started screaming…… What the heck are these two doing
Well, putting them aside, Christmas Party with the lab members huh…… Honestly, that sounds pretty fun.
[……That sounds quite fun, but what about the location]
[Ahh~~ Let's see. Eri-chan-sensei, can't we use this place]
[……You can't. This is a university laboratory. You can have your meal here, but doing parties here is pushing it too far.]
[Hmmm, where should we go then]
[We'll still have to ask Riri-chan and Liddy-chan about their plans, but you can have it at my place if you want]
[Really! Then, let's go with that!]
Erina's parents passed away a few years ago, when she was still young, and because of that, she lives alone in her reasonably large house. Hearing that we could use her place as a venue for the party, Alyssa enthusiastically started planning the party.
As for me, Erina's house is right next door, so it's easy for me to go there, so I have no objection at all.
The two senpais who arrived later seemed to have no problems with their schedules, so we ended up discussing the plans for the Christmas Party with the lab members until evening.
It was a rather carefree talk but…… I guess this kind of carefree atmosphere is one of the good things about this laboratory.
As Mom had asked me to do some shopping, I left the lab ahead of the others and walked home with Alyssa, who accompanied me on my shopping trip.
[……Fumufumu, guessing from the ingredients, today's dinner at Kaito-san's home seems to be croquettes huh.]
[Which she would need to deep-fry…… I wonder if Mom is skillful enough to do that.]
I know I'm repeating myself, but Mom is a terrible cook. They could already be said to be in pretty disastrous levels…… and since she has been a housewife for at least 20 years, for her to still be on such a level, I don't expect for her cooking skills to grow in the future.
Deep-frying stuff is pretty challenging, so I'm somewhat nervous but…… Well, to be honest, I guess I don't have to worry about such a thing today
[Well, regarding that…… You can leeeeeave it to Alyssa-chan. And thus, is it okay if I come visit today]
[Yeah, of course. Mom and Dad will also be happy.]
Alyssa has been coming to my home frequently since high school, and both Mom and Dad like her a lot. Whenever Alyssa comes to visit, we usually have dinner together.
In the text Mom sent me, she even wrote "If Alyssa-chan is coming, buy extra ingredients for one more person", so they would definitely be happy with her visit.
[Well then, let's go!]
Seeing Alyssa brightly smiling, I felt a kind of warmth in my heart as I walked side by side with her through the streets dyed in the color of dusk.
But at the same time…… I wonder what this is This inexplicable anxiety and loneliness I'm feeling……
Feeling these strange, inexplicable emotions, I moved my gaze…… I saw something beyond the intersection.
Is that…… me And beside me is…… Erina No, her clothes are different…… It isn't her familiar white labcoat, but a black coat The two of them were also walking around with happy smiles on their faces
[ ! Eh ……Alyssa]
[What's the matter Why did you suddenly stop]
[Ah, no, I think I just saw…… a me at the other side of the interaction there]
[……Yes No, there's no one there though I mean, Kaito-san, you're standing here, right]
[……Sorry, it's nothing.]
I don't even know what I was saying myself. Was I hallucinating or something I'm also not sure what's the answer to that.
[Errr, are you really alright You've been acting a bit strange…… ever since this morning, you know]
[I'm alright…… I think.]
[Hmmm…… Just in case, let's check your temperature when you get home. My skills are just about the same as those quack doctors, so it should be fine.]
[……It's amazing how you can say that as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.]
Seriously, I wonder what's the matter with me…… No, rather, what in the world is happening with me
Somehow, I felt like it won't be long…… before I received the answer to that question.
: [Arehh, that flow isn't that great, isn't it Let's just continue with the story where the Transcendental Cutie Alyssa-chan is the main heroine.]
Serious-senpai : [No, hurry up and return to serious, seriously!]