Emma confirmed for them with a big smile.
Rika rubbed the back of her neck.
“...That’s… unexpected. Kind of.”
“He’s the Red Ultra Metal Ranger!”
“Yeah, we know.”
Airi tilted her head.
“Do you like him that much?”
“I love him!”
Agatha gasped at Emma’s straightforwardness.
“He’s the best!”
“All right, we get it,” Rika sighed. “I guess I’m sorta glad she likes an actor, but… part of me is a little disappointed.”
“I dunno. I wanted you to tell us about something spicier. Someone from school or something.”
Airi looked at Rika with a playful smile.
“That’s quite specific, Miss Dumas. Could you perhaps be projecting?”
“Oi, don’t put words in my mouth.”
Agatha clutched the pillow onto her face, slowly getting more and more into the spirit of girl talk.
“I want to know more about Emma’s crush…”
And her words were all it took for Emma to jolt back on her feet, switching from ridiculous pose to ridiculous pose.
“Aaah! The Red Ultra Metal Ranger! He’s the city’s strongest hero, and everyone loves him! At the end of every episode he would look at the camera and say: ‘you! Do your best to be a hero today!’ - it’s soooo inspiring! And that’s why I’m a hero now!”
Rika put her palm up to protect herself away from her kicks.
“You’re not a hero…”
“I rescued my neighbor’s cat from a tree once!”
“...I guess that sorta counts…”
“And I know all his moves!”
“Okay, that doesn't count.”
Airi was away from Emma’s reach, so she didn’t have to put a barrier between them when she addressed her.
“So you like him because you admire him…?”
“That’s… very pure…”
Rika tugged on Emma’s pajamas to get her to sit down again.
“Do you think he’s hot?”
“Of course!” Emma quickly responded as she plopped herself back on the blanket.
Rika was taken aback by her answer, until Emma added the rest.
“His soul is burning hot!”
“.........There it is.”
Emma’s cheerfulness put everyone in a good mood. Airi happily brushed her long hair with her fingers, looking for any tangles.
“Fufu. It’s surprising, for sure, but somehow it’s quite Emma-like.”
Rika, who never missed an opportunity to tease anyone, elbowed Airi playfully.
“I think it’s your turn now, princess.”
“Yeah. I keep thinking of what that guy said back there…”
Airi instantly knew Rika was talking about Cupid, and her fingers stopped in their tracks.
“Does it mean you’re like, a psychopath?”
Agatha was the most surprised of them all, not knowing what they were talking about. She whipped her head to look at Airi, who didn’t look offended at all.
“...Oh, my. I certainly hope not.”
“Oh, yeah? Care to tell us about your love experience, then?”
“Well, I’ve only ever had unrequited feelings, just like all of us here.”
“Then what did he mean about you showing your ‘true colors’ when you fall for someone?”
“...Can’t say that I know.”
Rika stared at Airi’s poker face.
Airi simply looked confused, and not as if she was purposely trying to deceive Rika in any way. If Airi was hiding anything, then she was a very good actress, Rika thought.
After burning a hole through her skull with her stare and realizing Airi wasn’t going to budge, Rika leaned away from her with a dismissive wave of her hand.
“Meh, I don’t believe you.”
“Oh? But it’s true…”
“There’s gotta be something else you’re not telling us.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way, but there isn’t anything.”
“There’s no point in lying to us now, y’know?”
“I’m not lying. You’re simply assuming I am because you find my answers unsatisfactory, no?”
Agatha was sweating. She could cut the tension between the two girls with a knife, yet she wasn’t brave enough to ask for all the details.
The best she could think of doing to defuse the situation was changing the subject.
“W-What about you, Miss Dumas?”
Rika blinked, successfully distracted away from Airi.
She turned to look at Agatha.
“Huh? Ah, just call me Rika. We gotta get on that first name basis as soon as possible.”
Airi had also been successfully taken away from the moment.
“Fufu. I also would like to know about your love life. It’s only fair.”
“Wow, a pretty girl ambush.”
She leaned back onto the bed behind her head, shrugging and looking away.
“There’s nothing to tell, though. I’ve never liked anybody like that…”
Somehow, Emma was on top of that bed already, looking down at Rika’s face from up close, speaking so loud it made everyone flinch.
“Ah! Your face is red!!”
Rika quickly shoved her away.
“Shut up, it’s not.”
Airi giggled behind her hand.
“It’s fine to tell us, isn’t it? After all, we’re all the same.”
Emma tilted her head at Rika’s sudden quietness.
Rika was hesitating. She was idly playing with the corner of her pillow, avoiding the eyes of the other girls.
Despite this, somehow she ended up locking eyes with Agatha for a second, and her current situation - the Cupid thing, and her own romantic past - flashed before her eyes.
It was a good few seconds before she finally gathered the courage to speak, trying to keep her tone as casual as ever.
“...I guess I did like someone, once. But he had a girlfriend, so I never said anything.”
Agatha clutched her chest in empathy. Rika looked away from them again.
“I tried to avoid him, but it wasn’t too easy… considering he was my sister’s boyfriend.”
“Yeah, well. Whatcha gonna do, right? Besides…”
She crawled over to the opposite side of the blanket, sitting next to Agatha and sliding her arm around her shoulders.
“I have a different type now. Cute girls with freckles and glasses who get easily flustered.”
Agatha’s glasses almost fall off her face.
“What do you say? Wanna share the big bed with me tonight?”
Emma jumped off the single bed onto the floor, raising her hand up high.
“I want to share the big bed, too!”
This gesture gave Agatha a sense of relief, adjusting her glasses back in place on her bright-red face.
“I-If Emma’s there, then…”
Rika grimaced, pulling her arm away from her.
“Man, forget you. There’s no way the three of us will fit in there. You win this round, Emma Lovecraft.”
Emma didn’t know what she won, but she was happy.
Agatha got on her feet, and the both of them held hands in excitement.
“L-Let’s share the bed, Emma!”
“Yeah! Let’s stay up all night and talk about Peruna!”
Rika sighed, speaking in a quiet tone that only Airi was able to hear.
“Man… can’t believe NTR is real and dangerous”
“Haha. Nothing. Let’s go to bed.”