Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai:Volume 1 Underling

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Underling

“Lately I feel like someone is secretly staring at me…”

One day after school in the club room, I murmured with a troubled expression.

“Fuuu…”

Yozora, as if she was looking at an ongoing tragedy, stared at me pityingly and sighed lightly.

“Haa”

Moreover, Sena started laughing as if she was making fun of a fool.

“Damn it…”

Although I had foreseen their reactions I still regretted telling them.

“It’s true!”

“Really? It’s true then.”

Yozora stopped looking sympathetic and lightly accepted.

“…That’s all it took for you to believe me?”

“Yeah, I believe you. I believe the fact that ‘Kodaka feels like someone is staring at him.’”

So you don’t believe me at all…

“…It doesn’t matter if I’m in the washroom, or eating, or just walking down a hallway; I can always feel a peculiar stare from somewhere.”

“Could it be people looking at you due to your presence?”

I refuted Sena’s guess.

“No. I’m used to people staring at me because of my reputation so I’m very certain that’s not it. If it was the usual staring, usually when I looked in that direction, the person who was staring would always run away.”

“That’s a pretty sad life.”

“Shut up!”

I sincerely hoped she would stop saying that or else even I would start pitying myself.

“So basically, what sort of gaze was it?” Yozora interrupted.

“…Basically… umm… how do I describe it, it was like someone was observing me. It felt pretty weird. Whenever I looked in the direction the gaze was coming from it would disappear. But whenever I shifted my eyes away that funny sensation would come back.”

“You’re just tired, Kodaka.”

“Don’t imitate ‘X-Files’ ‘s heroine’s tone!”

“Maybe they are paranormal activities.”

“What?!”

“I don’t know, it’s just a guess. Maybe it’s the ghost of a gangster boss who died twenty years ago, pissed off that out of the blue a weird delinquent overtook his prized throne.”

“Fuun, how could that be possible.”

Yozora countered Sena.

“Just as Yozora said, why would there be a ghost-”

“Up to 15 years ago this school was girls only. Thus the delinquent boss from twenty years ago would not be ‘his' prized position; it would be ‘her' prized position.”

“That’s true now that you mention it.”

“No! Who cares whether it’s a guy boss or girl boss! Ghosts and stuff are not believable!”

I retorted mightily. Sena, looking annoyed, turned to me and said,

“Then what do you think it was? Are you saying that a fetishist was observing you from a dark corner somewhere?”

“Hmm…”

I couldn’t think of a possible answer.

“…On second thought, maybe it’s other delinquents that are responsible for this. Do you two know anything related to this?”

Either way it was not the work of ghosts. Using the words ‘other delinquents’ was just a matter of convenience, not implying that I am a delinquent myself.

“Err… In our school hot-headed kids that say things like ‘this new transfer kid is a pain, let’s teach him a lesson’ are non-existent. The kids here are like adults; domesticated cattle used to being choke fed.”

“You actually made that sort of analogy about your fellow school mates…?”

I supposed I should scold her for that.

“What about Yozora? Do you have any clue?”

“Moron. Why would I, the epitome of anti-social behavior, know the current rumors in school?”

I almost got the sense that Yozora was rather proud of that.

“If it’s not the work of other delinquents… maybe it’s the Prefects?”

“This school doesn’t have Prefects, there is no reason for their existence.”

“…I see. Then… it must be that, right?”

“What?”

Sena appeared to be very surprised.

I hesitated slightly, and said,

 

“…It’s a… you know… a stalker…”

“…………”

“…………”

Upon hearing what I said Yozora and Sena were silent for a few seconds, and then-

“Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Byahahahhaahahahahahahahahah! Kuhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”

Sena burst into an uncontrolled fit of laughter.

“Ahyahyahya, are you retarded?! Kodaka, were you serious when you said that?! Ahyahyaha! Ah, why would anyone want to stalk you, a low class vulgar delinquent like you?! And Kodaka, do you know that 90% of stalking’s have romantic complications as the motive?? Do you have any romantic complications?! Since you transferred to this school, have you had any, any sort of romantic experience? Name a scene from any romance novel that has happened to you in the past. I bet there is none, right dumbasssssssss!”

“Guh…”

Under Sena’s ferocious ridiculing my face started to get hot.

Suddenly I looked toward Yozora.

This kid will, without a doubt, mock me intensely as well. But what I got instead was-

“……”

Yozora quietly stood up. She poured a cup of coffee and put it in front of me. And on her face a questionably earnest and gentle smile appeared…!?

I had no idea what she wanted to say, nor could I think of anything to say.

“Here, drink it while it’s still warm, Kodaka…”

“St-stop doing that… don’t be so kind to me all of a sudden…”

Sincere or not, Yozora’s gentleness was enough to make me think “Yozora, you look so beautiful.” However if I did say that I would break down and start crying. Compared to Sena’s direct verbal attack, Yozora’s mental attack was a few times more hurtful.

“Fuu, when you're looking at someone more pitiful than you, you start feeling pretty good about yourself. That saying really is true.”

“Sympathy can hurt more than outright malice, you know that well don’t you!”

“Yes, of course. I have it engraved in my heart.”

“That’s even more despicable!”

This woman really knew how to deal the maximum damage to one’s esteem…

“Aah, whatever. I was a bit rash in concluding that it’s a stalker! Enough with the teasing!”

I tried to steer the topic away.

“While it is unlikely, it could be true! How should I put it… It’s not that shocking that I could experience some romantic episodes!”

“…In other words, the girl who secretly likes Kodaka, is hiding in a dark corner observing your every move?”

In terms of staring, what Yozora was doing to me was the perfect example of staring at someone.

“…I don’t think the person was doing it from a dark corner. Well, it’s possible, I mean it’s not entirely impossible… or rather I hope it’s true…”

My self-confidence steadily leaked away. Like a dog lowering its tail, I lowered my voice.

“Don’t you feel ashamed of actually saying out loud your wishful thinking?”

“Wishful thinking…?!”

I was very offended by Sena’s verbal abuse.

“…Forget it. I was stupid in asking you two for help.”

Disappointed, I stood up and tried to leave the room.

“Wait Kodaka.”

Yozora said.

“I won’t ignore my distressed fellow club member. Let me help you catch that stalker!”

“That’s okay, I’m not that bothered. Also, it might not even be a stalker.”

“Don’t worry about it. It’s not like I have much else to do in my free time.”

So my trouble was good for wasting her free time huh.

Although she was in her creepily nice ‘beautiful Yozora’ mode, I didn’t feel offended.

“…Fuun, if Yozora is helping then I will help as well. Even though I don’t have much free time.”

Sena, following Yozora’s lead, quickly offered her assistance as well.

…I felt like something troublesome was going to happen again. Once again I regretted mentioning the ‘strange gaze’ incident to them.

 

The next morning.

As usual I arrived at school half an hour early. Yozora and Sena were already waiting for me at the entrance.

“You’re late. Are you going to do this or not Kodaka?!”

“How dare you make me wait.”

Perhaps due to the time being early morning their attitudes were even worse than usual.

“…No that gaze usually starts after class begins. I don’t think there was any point in coming to school early.”

“What…?!“

My remark angered both of them.

“You should have told me sooner!”

“You made me waste an hour of my life…! With that woman!”

“That’s my line Meat. I silently stood with that piece of smelly raw meat for an hour. That was very irritating.”

So they got here an hour ago, and stood here without saying anything to each other.

We didn’t say we would meet up in the first place.

“…Well, in any case, sorry…”

They were not completely satisfied by this, but all I could do was apologize.

 

After homeroom ended the classroom started to get noisy.

Sena came to my class and said,

“Let’s go.”

“Yeah yeah.”

“Don’t order me around Meat.”

Yozora and I followed Sena out of the classroom.

We didn’t have any particular place we wanted to go; we just wandered around before class started.

“…Hmm… I do feel like I am being stared at.”

“Yeah… looks like it’s more than just Kodaka’s paranoia.”

Sena soberly nodded.

“…I hate to intrude into your serious conversation,”

I nervously said.

“…it’s true that we are being intensely stared at, but this is not what I was talking about…”

“?”

Yozora and Sena looked very surprised. They had not yet realized what was going on.

“We’ve been completely surrounded by other students! We can’t find the origin of the gaze with all these people here!”

“Ah…“

Yozora at my right; Sena at my left.

One is a delinquent (even though really I’m not), the second one is a long brilliantly black hair cute girl, and finally the third one is a blond hair blue eye queen-like cute girl.

Alone any one of us would garner much attention; now with all three of us together, in addition to the peculiar stare that I mentioned, many students were staring at us as well.

With so many stares being directed at us it was impossible to separate the person we wanted from the rest.

…Furthermore the stares were not the usual observation variety; I could sense some serious jealousy and despise coming from those intense stares.

“Gosh. If that’s true then what was the point of me announcing to the boys in my class ‘I have an important matter to take care of today; I don’t have time to waste with you critters.’”

“So that’s the reason!”

…When I listened closely I heard wails like ‘…uugh… Sena-sama [TL note: a really dignified way of calling someone]has abandoned us…’ and ‘He has two hot chicks with him…’

“No, I am only…!”

I hurriedly turned to those students to explain, but they all quickly lowered their heads and ran away.

“Ahah so that’s what that is. The technique thugs always use on bystanders; ‘What the hell are you looking at?!’ This is my first time seeing it in person.”

Yozora nonchalantly commented.


…And on that day the rumor ‘Kodaka Hasegawa forcefully took the hands of two cute chicks and dragged them around the school’ spread throughout the school.

 

“That bastard… even though I’m not sure of his existence, if he does exist I am going to catch him…”

The time was after school.

Right now I am strolling inside the school while secretly paying attention to my surroundings (alone of course).

I could feel it, that weird gaze among the curious glances by other students.

It’s not that the gaze itself could do any harm to me. I could always just let it be. But thanks to that fellow, I got another bad rumor tied to my name.

I couldn’t help but be annoyed by it.

…But at the same time I felt like there wasn’t much sense in blaming him.

I can clearly feel that stare even now.

Mixed in with curious glances, the stare that is calmly observing me.

Let’s walk towards a deserted place.

I climbed up the stairs to a semi-deserted floor mostly used for storage.

Those curious glances gradually disappeared, what’s left is the one I seek.

I off-handedly took a look behind my back and finally I could see a person standing in a dark corner.

I acted like I hadn't noticed; I sped up my steps in the deserted hallway.

When I got to the end of the hallway I followed the corner and hid myself in a blind spot.

After a few seconds,

*Don*

“Hya”

Someone ran into me. He gave a weak groan and landed backward onto the floor.

So this was the culprit who had been following me, probably.

I took a look at the person’s face…

“…………”

I was stunned at what I saw.

This person was very cute.

A face that had the combination of both innocence and childishness.

Unlike Yozora and Sena’s rather edgy faces, the face in front of me was the perfect demonstration of what a bishoujo should look like.

But the clothing beneath the face felt out of place.

…This bishoujo, why was she wearing the guy's uniform?

“…???”

Countless questions started appearing in my mind. At the same time, she(?) stood up.

She(?) was expressionless yet I could sense that she(?) was slightly surprised.

“Is this it?”

“…?”

“Is this the so-called extortion?”

“No!”

For some reason she(?) said this with a slightly cheerful tone; I loudly denied it.

 

“My name is Yukimura Kusunoki. I am a first year from class one.”

Following that incident, I led the female(?) stalker to the Neighbors Club’s room. With a soft voice she(?) introduced herself.

And then she(?) took out a wallet from her(?) bag and, to my astonishment, ceremoniously put it into my hands.

“?”

“I only have 3000 Yen. Please forgive me.”

“No! I mean what are you doing?!”

Who does this kid think I am.

“…Yukimura Kusunoki… the name sounds like a certain general from the Warring States period.”

Sena said.

Sena and Yozora were also in the room. They took a look at the girl(?) and said cruel jokes like “You forced your underclassmen to wear the guy's uniform… Kodaka your special fetishes just blow me away…” and “Who’s that, your new wallet?”

“That is correct.”

The girl(?) who called herself Yukimura nodded at Sena.

“It is my parents wish that I should grow up to be a true Japanese man like Sanada Yukimura. Thus they gave me this name.”

“…Japanese… man?”

Yozora frowned.

“…Erm. Forgive me for asking but… are you male?”

I carefully asked. Yukimura passively tilted his head and replied,

“As you can see I am male.”

“…No that is not what I see.”

“?”

With his head tilted and his face in polite puzzlement, Yukimura started to ponder its meaning. That expression was too cute.

…Well there were guys in this world who look like girls. If he himself said he was a guy, then it was probably true… it was just a bit unbelievable, that’s all.

“…Gender question aside… Yukimura? Why were you stalking me?”

As I enquired, Yozora and Sena also looked at Yukimura.

Yukimura, with his unchanging poker face, passively answered,

 

“Simply put I am a victim of bullying.”

 

“…Bullying…”

I repeated Yukimura’s word and felt melancholic.

Even in this peaceful, down-to-earth Christian private school, where even the most thuggish looking kids (like me) were honest, the act of bullying existed.

“This school has it too huh, that kind of thing…”

“Obviously. There is no school that doesn’t have bullying.”

Yozora composedly asserted.

…Although I wasn’t absolutely sure, I too shared Yozora’s opinion.

I transferred quite a few times and have seen various bullies in each school.

“Why would bullying happen?”

“Because it is fun.”

Yozora replied matter of factly.

“…Fun?”

“You will know when you do it, most humans… like to attack those who can’t fight back. It’s like a primal instinct. Wantonly killing bugs, or posting slanderous comments on anonymous BBS, or trolling on people’s blogs. And if the target misspoke something, or did some actions that are against the social norm, you can even claim justice is on your side and bully the target with pleasure.”

“…You know a lot about this.”

I answered with a twitch in my face. Yozora ferociously glared at me.

“Don’t lump me in with those people.”

She answered chillingly.

It looked like I had made her very angry.

“So-so why did you follow Kodaka?”

Perhaps Sena had noticed the stern mood as well; she quickly asked Yukimura.

“Oh yeah, you said that you stalked me because you were ‘bullied’. But I can’t comprehend the cause and effect that would make you stalk me.”

Yukimura replied,

“I want to become as strong and cool as Kodaka-senpai. All I want is to learn how to be a manly man like him.”

“Strong and cool…!?”

An incredulous expression appeared on Sena’s face.

“…You mean this vulgar delinquent?”

Yukimura nodded rather shyly (his expression was very adorable.)

“Like a breeze, you are a lone wolf that nothing can make you pause in your steps. You are a model Japanese man.”

“A lone wolf… that’s because he has no friends.”

“Shut up.”

I replied irritatedly.

“Oblivious to social norm you only follow your own way of living. To satisfy your immense lust you pillage all those within your grasp. Any defiance would be brutally suppressed and succumbed to under your throne. Immersed in your affluent wealth and surrounded by your ample maiden harem, your being has already transcended beyond mere mortal righteousness or evil. Even the immortal deities are fearful of you. You have reached the pinnacle in all dimensions.”

“Wait a second?! What’s with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ tyrant Dong Zhuo’s description?! I’ve always followed the school rules down to the letter. I’ve never blackmailed, leered at girls, or committed violent acts on other students!”

In one breath I refuted Yukimura’s chorus-like compliments (?).

Yukimura gently laughed.

“You are just being modest.”

“I am not being modesssssstttt!!”

“As the result of looking at your daily life in the last few days my conclusion is that, true to the rumor, Kodaka-senpai is a true man.”

“There should be a limit on how blind you can get!”

As I looked back at Yukimura’s admiring stare I broke into a cold sweat.

And then Yozora said,

“…In other words, Yukimura you want to become a strong man so that you don’t get bullied?”

“That’s right. As a male I would want to be a great man like Kodaka senpai. How do I become as magnificent as senpai?”

“I-I’m not really that magnificent…!”

His praise left me with goosebumps all over my skin.

“Please teach me. How do I become like you?”

At that moment Sena freely asked,

“Even if you ask… so how exactly were you being bullied? If things got out of hand you shouldn’t force yourself to handle them; telling the teacher might be a better choice.”

“Yes. In short, I was being isolated by the rest of my male schoolmates.”

Yukimura passively said.

“Being isolated?”

“Yes. For instance, before PE classes, as I was about to change into my gym clothing everyone around me would shrink away.”

“……”

…What? That didn’t sound right…

“Or when we played together, when I was sweating a lot and wanted to take off my shirt, everyone would disappear.”

“And also when we were playing dodgeball no one would ever throw the ball at me.”

“It was the same in junior high. During Karate no one wanted to be my opponent.”

“If other people say they are going somewhere and I ask to go with them they refuse. When I enter a washroom the people inside would often scramble out of it.”

…Erm that wasn’t bullying. They acted like that because you look too much like a girl and they didn’t know how to behave and act in front of you.

Even for me, if I see Yukimura walk into a male washroom, I would be very embarrassed as well, even if I know he is male.

“Hey, that’s not bully-oww!”

Without warning Yozora smacked the back of my head.

“I see. That’s so sad. I sympathize with you so much I am about to cry.”

Yozora said this without a hint of sympathy on her face.

“Yes. A few days ago I finally summoned up the courage and, in the washroom, asked a fellow student why they were socially isolating me. He got all red in the face and proclaimed that it was because I look like a girl. That is so mean.”

I think the blushing stemmed from embarrassment, not anger…

“I am being treated this way because I look like a girl. In other words, if I become a manly man, then I will no longer be bullied.”

“As I said that’s not bull-”

Yozora smacked me again.

“…What are you doing Yozora?”

“Be quiet for a second Kodaka.”

Yozora whispered to me. She then turned to Yukimura,

“Yukimura Kusunoki. One must compliment you for not bowing down under a formidable obstacle. You shall stay by Kodaka’s side and practice the way of manhood.”

“Hey?!”

“Thank you so much. I shall learn with all my being.”

“Very good. Oh Yukimura, since Kodaka is a member of my Neighbors Club, he is often very busy. If you join this club you will be able to better observe Kodaka.”

“Is that so. Then let me join as well.”

“Good. Then sign your name here on this club joining form.”

“Yes. A signature.”

  • rustle rustle*

Yukimura Kusunoki took the form from Yozora’s hand and, with elegant calligraphy, he wrote his name on it.

What was this for…

“…What are you trying to pull Yozora. This is the same as lying…”

I whispered.

“What a paranoid thing to say. Yukimura is our comrade who shares our problem; namely personal relationship troubles. The fact that we would be able to support him here is great for all of us.”

“…And what you are really thinking?”

“It would be a damn shame to let this interesting fool get away. First thing we should do is tie him to the club.”

“…”

“I was just thinking that the Neighbors Club needs an errand boy. Well, if you don’t want him we can just throw him away.”

“You really are the worst!”

“Isn’t this great? Now you get an underling. You finally look like a real delinquent.”

“What’s so great about it?!”

“An underling?”

Yukimura picked up on this word and reacted.

“I am an underling of Kodaka-senpai?”

“No Yukimura. It’s a joke. Ignore it.”

“So happy.”

A very grateful smile appeared on Yukimura’s face as he replied.

“…Ha?”

“It is an honor to be an underling to a magnificent man like Kodaka-senpai. Please let me serve you. I would do anything for Kodaka-senpai.”

“No, you know?”

“Yes?”

“Argh…”

Yukimura, with his big shimmering eyes, stared at me longingly. In my entire life I had never seen another person stare at me like that. I couldn’t say anything.

“…Well, then, do your best…”

“Yes. Kodaka-senpai?”

“Ah?”

”Could I call you Aniki?” [TL note: ‘Big bro’, usually used by Yakuza or delinquents.]

“…Do whatever you want.”

I weakly nodded and Yukimura smiled cutely.

His quest to become a strong and cool Japanese man had a long way to go.

 

My achievement for today:

I got an underling.

…It seemed that, judging from today’s events, my wish for a smooth and orderly school life also had a long way to go.

Boku wa tomodachi ga sukunaiVol1 chp6.jpg

 

 

During lunch break.

Whenever classes ended and I went to the cafeteria to buy my lunch the classroom would become rowdy.

These days I often get this feeling…

“Aniki.”

Yukimura entered the classroom.

Even though he was entering an upperclassman’s classroom he showed no signs of fear. He walked straight to my seat.

Wow, he's got guts…

“Aniki. Here.”

Yukimura came up to me and put the stuff in his arms onto my desk.

“…?”

Curry bread, fried noodle bread, chocolate, and comic books.

The cover of the comic book had a drawing of a vicious looking man with a French bread-like funny hair style and a long sleeved uniform.

“I will be going then, Aniki.”

“Wa-wait Yukimura! What are these?”

I hurriedly called back Yukimura who was about to leave.

“They are Aniki’s lunch and a 'delinquent comic’. Boss Yozora has taught me that it is an underling’s duty to buy lunch and comics for his Aniki.”

Yukimura answered in a strangely happy way.

“That person only knows how to say useless stuff…”

I looked around the classroom but couldn’t see Yozora.

“Perhaps my service is unsatisfactory?”

Yukimura lowered his head and uneasily looked up at me.

I, of course, wouldn’t do anything that might harm this very pure underclassman.

“That, that’s not true. You came at just the right time, I was getting hungry. This… let’s see… isn’t this ‘Tales of the Strongest Delinquent’? I’ve wanted to read it… it’s true… I am happy… even stupid… ah, no, it’s a great book that doesn’t require much thinking…”

Bread wasn’t better than a rice ball, and I didn’t really like chocolate milk. And of course I had absolutely no interest in delinquent comics.

“I am glad.”

As I looked at Yukimura’s cute face, mine started to blush.

I needed to calm down. He was a guy…!

“…Ah right. I should pay you back. How much are these?”

Yukimura shook his head,

“I can’t possibly take money from Aniki. Aniki’s compliments are the best rewards.”

“No no, even if you say it’s fine!”

“I shall take my leave now.”

After replying very politely, Yukimura quickly walked out of the classroom.

It can’t be helped… I will secretly put the money inside his bag later on.

The lunch itself was fine… but the delinquent comic’s price was hurting a bit…

 

…On that day the rumor “Kodaka Hasegawa made a cute underclassman his errand boy” spread throughout the school.

That’s a fact, but that’s not the truth…


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