"Your name is Rick, right?"
Gazing at the hulking titan, Nik asked out curiously. While Rick hadn't introduced himself, the students shouting around them did mention his name quite a few times.
"Yes, my full name is Rick Noran. May I know your name, sir."
"Oh, that's right. My name is Nik Faran, nice to meet you, Rick."
Extending his hands towards Rick, Nik found to his surprise that the giant actually had a hesitant look on his face.
"What happened? You really aren't taking the master-disciple thing seriously, are you?"
Shaking his head, Rick finally explained.
"It's not that... but most of the men in school, including the teachers, are afraid of my grip as I tend to overdo handshakes. I don't want to hurt you accidentally."
"Oh? I understand. Sure thing."
Retracting his hands, Nik shrugged while Rick suddenly thought of an idea.
"Master, do you have any plans at the moment?"
Thinking back at how it would take a little longer for the so-called okusan to return, Nik shook his head. Since Rick suddenly asked him such a question, surely, he already must have a destination in his mind.
"Nope, lead the way, my man."
Nodding naturally, Rick only felt that it was natural for Nik to cut short the useless discussion and quickly led Nik to a place that was surprisingly near Okusan's apartment.
In front of Nik's eyes stood a silver fortress that outshone the other constructed houses and shops of the district. With a pure silver front and bold letters that could be read as: Silver Muscles, Rick actually gave a reverent look before looking at Nik with a serious expression.
"Master. Even though I failed to catch the attention of the Goddess. Fortunately, you did. But your path is filled with dangers as the road of uniting with the goddess is never easy.
That is why, I wished you to introduce master to this place. This is where I became a man."
Nik frowned as the word brought back some bad memories. To be physically abused and then nourished back to increase the flexibility, endurance and the lean factor of the body, Nik, admittedly, went through hell during his training in the gym.
"Yes, master. Back then, when I transferred to Japan, due to my body being malnourished, I was treated extremely badly. I was way too thin. But it was then, I found Silver Muscles...
And as you can see, my life has turned upside down. Now, I live a life following my passion."
"Your passion?" Nik muttered while Rick nodded politely.
"Yes, Goddess Kurumi and my muscles."
Finally, Nik sighed.
"Could you please not call Kurumi a Goddess. It doesn't sound right, at least, not in front of me."
Realising his mistake, Rick nodded.
"Yeah, sorry about that. It's just that I am used to calling her that. But master, when I say that your path is filled with hardsh.i.p.s, I really meant it, because, there are some rumours about Godde... Kurumi-san that might make you take a step back."
Not wanting to waste his time on things he already knew about, Nik just shrugged and went past Rick.
"Why waste time since we are already here? Let me see what is so special about this place."
As Nik passed through Rick casually, his eyes widened and he immediately gazed at Nik's back with a shiver passing down his spine. It might be Rick hallucinating, but he definitely felt a chill spreading in his heart.
Honestly, even though Nik already knew that Kurumi had a past that others might give it a title Demeaning. Nik fully accepted Kurumi as she was and so did she when Kurumi accepted the partnership invite. But, that didn't mean that Nik liked hearing anything strange or slightly embarrassing about the women, who, now officially became related to him. And the moment Rick spoke about Kurumi's rumours that are most likely the truth, he suddenly felt annoyance.
Of course, alongside the strange annoyance came self-realization that he actually had feelings for both, Kurumi and Mitsuko.
Shaking off these distracting thoughts, Nik pushed past the unexpectedly heavy door quite easily while Rick's mouth slacked open while his eyes showed extreme surprise.
'He... he opened it on the first try! What the hell?! Is he like Machio-san? Lean build that holds explosive muscles?'
As Rick followed quickly to avoid having to open the door that could make his back muscles sore every day, he soon found out that the only thing Nik provided to the gym revered by many, including Rick himself, was a pair of unimpressed gaze.
"Is there something wrong?"
Finally, unable to hold the questions bubbling within himself, Rick questioned to which, Nik gazed at all the bulky men working with their bodies covered in sweat and veiny glory once again and then looked back.
"They are all... guys... what do you expect is wrong here?"
Rick frowned at Nik's words before pondering deeply and finally came to a conclusion.
"Ah! I see. The gym really went off the track when they divided the gym into a male and female section. We shouldn't have differentiated muscle building based on gender... I must immediately bring this to Machio-san's notice.
Please come alongside me, master. We must immediately set the gym in the right path."
As Rick, in all his excitement, grabbed Nik's hand to bring him to what Nik supposed to be the ladies segment, Rick forgot that he was exerting all of his strength and even then, Nik's expression failed to change.
With a dull, even revolting gaze, Nik bid the atrocious male sector his farewell and calmed his heart to see beautiful females only to have the urge to vomit blood when his eyes fell on the biceps that were even bulkier than Rick on a woman who was actually a head taller than himself.
"Oh? Rick-kun? What's wrong? You seem a little tense!" As the said she-hulk's eyes fell on Nik, her gaze brightened a bit before she pointed at him and looked at Rick once again.
"Want me to get him enrolled? He could use a bit of our special protein shake."
Shaking his head quickly, he immediately stopped the black-haired female minotaur and asked out.
"Marika-san, where is Machio-san? I must speak to him. I need to introduce master to Machio-san! Now!"
'Whatever... it's not like they are any different than the girls from Muscle Muscle Love...'
Sighing, Nik really wished that he should've simply slept alongside Mitsuko and experienced her warm embrace instead of coming here and ruining all the sweet mood he had riled up since morning.
"Machio-san? He is training Okusan at the moment. Look, he is standing right there."
Marika pointed out as Nik's gaze suddenly turned a little bright as he immediately realised that the famous Okusan that could instill fear within Souko and Sayako might just be here. After all, even Kurumi said that Okusan visits the gym in the morning...
Nik looked at the pointed direction only to see a lean guy in blue tracksuit slowly encouraging a pink-haired woman. Even from far, Nik could identify a voluminous set of b.r.e.a.s.ts that jiggled at every crunch while her clothes stuck to her meaty body without any restriction.
In fact, Nik had to marvel the lean guy's determination as even now, his eyes never changed and he calmly helped the woman rise up by slight push on her back to complete the sets.
"Rick... is he Machio?"
While pointing at the lean guy who had a calm smile, Nik looked at Rick, who immediately nodded.
"Yes, master. He is Machio-san. The best trainer in the gym. Let's go, there is no time to waste."
Immediately pulling him once again, Rick completely ignored Marika, whose temple throbbed due to Rick completely forgetting about her in the first place.
"Whatever! I just hope that this Rick's new master doesn't turn into a muscle fool."
Speaking while flexing her own experienced biceps, Marika went off to train herself once again.
"Machio-san! Please, I need your precious minute. Much apologies for the sudden intrusion."
Once again, Nik was amazed how easily Rick ignored the so-called Okusan, who simply laid with sweat covering her entire body while her wondrous bosom packed backwards. Her dazed green eyes gazed at the new arrivals before her eyes brightened at Nik's presence as her soft, pink lips puckered up into an enchanting, yet, tired smile.
"Hmm? What is it, Rick? Wait, did you skip school?"
Turning towards the duo, the gentle-looking man named Machio frowned as he gazed at Rick arriving at the gym during school hours.
"No, sensei. The teacher did not allow most of the boys to enter the school because we were testing master outside the school.
Before that, let me introduce sensei to master."
Speaking, he looked at Nik, and then pointed at Machio.
"Master, he is my sensei."
Then, Rick turned to Machio and then pointed at Nik.
"Sensei, he is my master."
At his useless phase of introduction, the trip present, including Okusan, felt their lips twitching rapidly as Nik stepped forward with a smile and then extended his hand.
"Hello, my name is Nik Faran. Nice to make your acquaintance."
Looking at his hands, Machio frowned while Rick immediately spoke up.
"Sensei, Master just opened the gates manually on his first try."
Okusan immediately stood up while a bout of dizziness affected her head, making her grab her head while Machio immediately gave Nik another look and then finally placed his hands on Nik's.
"Nice to meet you, too, Mr Faran. I usually go by the name Machio. You can call me the same."
As Machio spoke with a smile, Nik's frown grew deeper as his hand felt a huge pressure from the gentle-looking hand.
'What is this... is this guy another system user?'
As thoughts swirled within his eyes, Machio immediately gripped Nik's hands tightly and almost instantly, his body grew even bigger than Rick's while the tracksuit burst apart as the shredded cloth flew around the stunned Nik, whose hand finally felt a crushing pressure. The sudden eruption of his clothes fully showcased the body of the beast that shouldn't go alongside that gentle face. Biceps bigger than Rick's thighs and thighs bigger than Okusan's hip length... truly scary.
'What is this...'
Meanwhile, Machio immediately realised his mistake and let go of Nik and apologised instantly.
"I am sorry, Mr Faran. I let my excitement take control of my muscles. I hope you are not hurt."
To which, Nik raised his slightly red hand, that shocked Rick and Okusan to the core as his next words even surprised Machio.
"Please, call me Nik."
Speaking calmly, he finally looked at Okusan.
"Mitsuko-san actually referred you for a temporary stay, if you would recall, she must have called you yesterday."
As if recalling something horrifying, Okusan's eyes widened as she gave Nik a glance that many failed to understand.
"You are that Nik?"
Almost immediately, all her fatigue seemed to have vanished as she bounced up from the tool that Nik wasn't familiar with and immediately looked at Machio.
"Sorry, Sensei! I have to show Nik around my mout I mean my house. He is a customer. Gotta run!"
And almost immediately, her starry eyes snapped towards Nik's direction and she spoke fiercely.
"Don't go anywhere! I'll quickly change up."
As if her sudden burst of vitality wasn't shocking enough for Machio, the passion emanating from Rick really caused his eyes brows to rise while Machio, who looked way taller than Rick, and way, way, taller than Nik finally spoke up.
"So? Rick? Why so excited? Got some good news for me?"
Finally realising the main motive of his visit, Rick immediately pointed at Nik and spoke seriously.
"Sensei, master has some absolutely brilliant advice that can allow the gym's reputation to soar further."
Hearing, his words, Machio looked at Nik, who shrugged in response.
"I just said that there aren't enough girls."
Suddenly, as Nik's words echoed around the ladies segment due to the whole space being largely unutilized, Machio felt as if the cover that kept his heart from realising his biggest mistake had been removed.
His expression turned somber and then, he looked at Rick, who, in return, nodded back while Marika and some other girls, who looked slightly thin when compared to Marika herself, looked up and frowned.
Sensing the strange atmosphere, Nik couldn't help but frown as Machio finally nodded.
"Rightly said, Nik. Females of our generation need to truly understand the benefits of having a healthy body.
It is my duty as a trainer to slowly bring everyone to a realisation that without a healthy body... our future is bleak."
It was at this moment, a huffing Okusan ran out with a bag slung around her shoulder and she immediately grabbed Nik through his hands and started running towards the exit.
"Bye, Sensei! I'll come by tomorrow!"
As her yell failed to break the serious expression of everyone in the ladies segment of the gym, Nik surprisingly found that this Okusan was actually quite stronger than she looked.
As they slowly reached the entrance, she left Nik's hands and looked at the buttons on the side of the door with a pondering expression.
'Eh? What button was it? Hmmm...'
As she thought of the button related to open the entrance of the gym, Nik simply shrugged at her strange behaviour and pushed the handle.
"Ah! I remember! You can actually open the door!"
Exclaiming, Okusan followed Nik as he slowly wondered that Okusan still hadn't shown any strange and frightening behaviour till now as opposed to the reactions given by Souko and Sayako.
Kyouko Okita aka Okusan