Baka to Tesuto to Syokanju:Volume12.5 Me, Graduation and Parting words
Me (Watashi), Graduation and Parting words
'"...On this day, as the graduation ceremony arrives, I suppose that all the seniors seated here have their own dreams and wishes as they embark on a new journey."'
The atmosphere in the hall is solemn as Shouko-chan's delightful voice echoes.
The New Year in January passed, Valentine's Day in February passed, and it's now March. Right now, we're seated in the gym where the graduation ceremony is being held, hearing Shouko-chan's farewell speech.
Minami-chan, seated one row in front of me, secretly turned her head around and whispered to me.
(Hm, is there something, Minami-chan?)
To avoid disturbing the ceremony, I too answered softly.
(Don't you find it strange that those two guys actually participated in this willingly?)
Minami-chan said this as she looked at Akihisa-kun and Sakamoto-kun seated behind me.
I turn around to look, and found those two looking tense as they listen to Shouko-chan's farewell speech.
(That might be true.)
It may be rude to Akihisa-kun and the others, but I'm thinking the same as Minami-chan. Normally, they'll be yawning away, looking bored, or sleeping away.
"...Our trustworthy seniors have given us guidance in our studies and club activities, at times kind, and at times strict."
It is the graduation ceremony, but it is not for us, but for the 3rd years. As 2nd years, I suppose there is no need for us to be so nervous in this ceremony.
Instead of looking relaxed, the 2nd year students are giving off a completely different vibe--everyone present seems to be listening to Shouko-chan's speech normally.
"...From now on, we shall inherit the passions of the seniors and strive to improve this school."
Everyone else, who should be sleeping away right now, is nervous for a reason.
Soon after the summoning wars between school years ended, the 3rd years went into a self-studying period when they could attend school whenever they felt the need to, and hardly attended school.
Because of that, the 2nd and 3rd years never met again ever since that showdown, and this ceremony would be a reunion after so long.
"...We had all sorts of things in the colorful school lives we spent with the seniors."
According to Sakamoto-kun,
"This is the one time the 3rd years finally met us after the exams, and they got a grudge with us. We don't know when they'll exact revenge on us."
That was what he said.
The graduation ceremony is filled with such sparks as a volatile atmosphere lingered. Akihisa-kun and the others are looking very tense, ready for the skirmish that might occur at any given moment.
And in this situation, everyone is concerned with Shouko-chan's farewell speech, and the parting speech from the 3rd years.
Any words from Shouko-chan, who's acting as the representative now, will be seen as what the entire 2nd year is thinking. Because of that, any single mistake can be seen as an excuse to start a quarrel. That's what those two said.
While it's true that this may happen in this school, will the 3rd years really do this...?
"...I'm really grateful to the many wonderful memories given to us."
Shouko-chan's clear voice echoes in this tense atmosphere.
Unlike everyone else, I'm not really on my guard, so I can hear her ears clearly.
I continue to hear her delightful voice present that farewell speech as I recall all the memories I had with the 3rd years.
The earliest was the summoning tournament during the school festival.
The latest was the summoning war between the school years.
We had the baseball summoned beast tournament with the teachers.
And we had a test of courage using the summoned beasts.
There is a lot of memories related to the 3rd years that I can think of. They are interesting memories, and also painful memories, sad memories, and happy memories.
(Wh-what's the matter, Himeji-san!? You got Anemia?)
(N-no, I'm fine...)
I thought of something unnecessary.
I wave my hand at Akihisa-kun, who's seated behind me and speaking to me because he's worried about me. I then turn to look back at Shouko-chan on the podium.
"Our hearts feel nostalgic and lonely as we recall every happy day we spent with our seniors."
Such a textbook farewell speech came from Shouko-chan's mouth. There is no way for Shouko-chan to be careless with her words, and Akihisa-kun and the rest must be worrying too much--
"She actually said 'feel nostalgic and lonely'...?"
"Is she mocking us for losing the summoning war...!"
"If the one talking now isn't a girl, I'll have beaten him up...!"
--It doesn't look like they're worrying too much, I guess...
I show a grimace once I heard the mutters from the 3rd years seated there. Shouko-chan never had such thoughts, but it feels like the seniors have misunderstood that. Is that what Sakamoto-kun is worried about?
But even so, they aren't doing anything drastic, and Shouko-chan continues with her speech.
"...All the students here will like to wish a great future for our seniors...and to congratulate everyone for graduating."
Shouko-chan gave a pretty bow at the end, and ended her speech.
"Thank you very much, Kirishima-san"
Once the announcement was made, I could heard a long sigh of relief from someone. Even I, who wasn't that worried, let out a soft sigh. That's because even if I do think nothing will happen, this is still our school after all...
"They didn't do anything during the speech."
"Yeah. In that case--"
"...It's probably in their farewell speech."
Akihisa-kun and the others behind me seem to be nodding to each other to confirm something, and I can't help but turn around to ask them,
"Erm, do you think it's possible that everything will end nicely...?"
"""Not at all."""
An immediate answer, huh...
"Speaking of which, Himeji-san, do you know how much the 3rd years really hate us?"
"Sorry, but we're as hated as Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution."
"...We have a long history between us."
"Is that something you can say about yourself...?"
Marie Antoinette was executed during the French Revolution...
While I'm looking dumbfounded, Akihisa-kun continues,
"And there's no way they won't do anything when you look at how they act against us till this point, right?"
"Yeah. Something's definitely up."
"...No way this ends peacefully."
"Hm...is that so...?"
If it's like before, it's really hard to imagine everything ending peacefully...
"--To continue, the reply from the 3rd years."
And while we're talking, Takahashi-sensei's voice echoes through the speakers.
"Yeah. Who's delivering the speech?"
"...Doesn't matter who it is."
The 3rd years' farewell speech.
It's supposed to be Takashiro-senpai, the representative of the 3rd years, delivering the speech, but he left Japan before the graduation ceremony to enter another university, so the speech will be made by someone else.
Akihisa-kun and the others thinks that it's very likely one of the senpai TokoNatsu pair (?) will do it.
"It's possible that it's those two, but they're A class guys. It's not inappropriate for them to be replacements."
"Well, there's nobody more appropriate than them to taunt us into a bloodbath."
"...Those two have the god-given talent to annoy anyone."
I don't think these are words used to praise others...
The 2nd years got more anxious as a result.
"We shall have the representative replacement of the 3rd years, Kogure Aoi-san. Please."
After hearing the announcement Akihisa-kun and the others were taken aback.
Unlike what everyone expected, the 3rd year delivering the speech isn't any of the TokoNatsu pair, but Kogure-senpai. She is a beautiful senpai with alluring and feminine charms. I think she's very suited to do this in front of everyone else, but--
"Did they just choose the wrong person...!?"
"What's with those taunting us with a beauty...!?"
Akihisa-kun and the others were shocked. Didn't they think that the other side never thought of taunting us...?
"The cold winter season has come to an end, and I can feel the warm footsteps in Spring. On this beautiful, blustery day, we are graduating."
Kogure-senpai continues on with her speech, not noticing the reactions of Akihisa-kun and the others.
Her words showed no malice to us, just a thanksgiving from the seniors to all the juniors.
"I still remember the opening ceremony 3 years ago, and in a flash, we have arrived at this very day. There is a saying that time goes by as we're having a good time, and as the joyful, fruitful days passed one by one, I truly understand these words."
Leaving aside Akihisa-kun and the others who are still in disbelief, I silently listen to the poised words from Kogure-senpai's thanksgiving.
Every word she said moved my heart magically.
"During these three years, we met all kinds of people...and all kinds of events happened."
Leaving aside the 3 years, this one year alone was eventful.
I went through the first summoning war from the moment I was streamed into F class in Spring. I still remember very well how we nearly beat A class, only for our Chabudais to be downgraded to cardboard boxes.
We had a tragic incident when the 2nd year boys were suspended from school during the school training trip. Once the suspension ended, there was the major incident of Minami-chan kissing Akihisa-kun.
Minami-chan, seated in front of me, enter my eyes.
I didn't know what happened between Minami-chan and Akihisa-kun back then. Later on, Minami-chan told me what happened. "I like Akihisa-kun." Though Minami-chan was sorry after realizing my feelings, she really did understand why I like him, and she answered "Then we're rivals". We're friends, and rivals. I guess that this isn't really the same, but it's probably the relationship Akihisa-kun and Sakamoto-kun has, and I'm a little happy as a result.
"The encounter and stories we shared form precious, indispensable memories for us today."
Ever since the summer vacation ended, we had summoning wars every day. Our aim was always the same as it was before--to beat class A. Akihisa-kun and the others were worried that I would damage my body as I'm too weak. However, the time back then could be said to be my liveliest moments.
Because--I'm happy to be working hard, moving forward to the same goal with everyone.
In the end, our duel with class 2-A was interrupted, and it became a war against the 3rd years. We managed to win, and earned the facilities. It took us a long while, but we finally managed to achieve our objective.
"Ever since then, we welcomed all kinds of changes. There are changes in our learning abilities, our way of thinking, and--interpersonal relationships."
The desks that were chabudais at the start of our second year are now proper desks that were much better than the normal ones.
And I no longer hate myself for being so timid.
The interpersonal relationships i have now is far different from back then.
"To all the juniors in the school, what sort of changes will you go through when you graduate?"
Having went through so many changes in this one year, what awaits us in the next? I really can't imagine.
How will the enjoyable days we have now change at this moment next year--thinking about it alone is causing me to shiver in fear.
"The fruitful days always pass in the blink of an eye. I wish that all the juniors in this school will spend their remaining short days together with the friends they made...that is because the time you can have with your buddies now is very limited."
After hearing the last words from Kogure-senpai, I felt my heart wince.
"I have only a year left...to spend time together with everyone..."
I feel really unbearable, and invariably let out a whisper.
"Oh? Nothing happened."
"Hm. I'd say it's best that nothing happened."
Once the graduation ceremony ended peacefully, we're on our way back to the classroom.
Everyone was chatting away excitedly.
"Speaking of which, a graduation ceremony...we'll be the ones being sent off next year."
"What are you saying? Are you sure you'll be able to become a 3rd year, Aki?"
"You got to call us 'senpai' formally next year."
"...Arrogant of you to worry about graduation"
"I don't want you to tell me off like this, Muttsurini!"
Akihisa-kun and the others are chatting and teasing each other happily.
But I'm troubled by my negative thoughts, and I'm unable to smile like them.
"Hm? What's the matter, Himeji-san?"
"Mizuki, you're not feeling alright?"
Akihisa-kun and Minami-chan seemed to have noticed my situation as they ask me.
"Ah, no. I'm okay. It's just--"
"After hearing the 3rd years, I suppose our lives from now on will have to change, and I'm feeling lonely..."
For me, every day now is so enjoyable, so satisfying.
I want to continue living every day as it is.
I don't want to change.
I want my current life to continue as it is.
If I can't have these wishes fulfilled, at the very least--
"--at the very least, I wish that I can continue to live on every day like this for the year until we graduate, I think..."
The part I hate most about myself appears in my heart.
I'm scared of the changes that will happen in the future.
I really feel uneasy about the future where everyone will walk on their own paths.
And when I show this side of me that I really hate--
"Ahaha, what are you saying, Himeji-san?"
Akihisa-kun simply laughs off my words, seemingly teasing me. Eh...?
"Yeah. I don't want to be in the same class as this idiot and suffer the same treatment."
"It would be troublesome to have Ironman as the homeroom teacher for another year."
"...I want a change of homeroom teacher."
"But seriously, you guys, you should think of changing your lifestyles."
Sakamoto-kun and the others don't seem to be worried in the slightest. Why!? I'm so worried that I'm uneasy."
"Why is everyone not worried at all? Maybe that's all the time we will have left, right!?"
I can no longer hold in my emotions, and before I know it, my voice became loud.
It's because I'm feeling so happy now that I'm scared of those times ending.
We may be streamed into different classes once we head into our third years, and everyone will be on their different paths after they graduate. While we continue to enjoy every day together, we'll soon be in different classrooms, and we'll be far away from each other.
A year later, we'll be on our different paths, and we'll be drifting away from each other.
For me, such a future is really horrifying.
"I wish for...things to remain like this...not change at all..."
This is the heartfelt wish that had been lingering in my heart recently.
While I reveal my thoughts Akihisa-kun gives me a dumbfounded look, saying,
"I say, Himeji-san."
"If things aren't going to change as it is, there won't be happier things happening, right?"
Looking at his dumbfounded look, I'm starting to wonder if he had understood my words.
Just when my tone got agitated.
"Yoshii, Sakamoto! This is bad!"
Our classmate Fukumura-kun dashed out from the classroom, panting as he arrived in front of us.
"What's the matter?"
"Those guys were being so quiet during the graduation ceremony, but they set a trap here!"
Fukumura-kun leads us to the 3-A classroom that is now ours.
And over there is--
"To everyone in 2-F, this is our disdain and mocking. ~Everyone in 3-A~"
Placed neatly in the middle of the classroom is the card and the intriguing flower called the Rafflesia giving off a foul stench.
"It stinks! The lack of ventilation is causing the stench to remain here!!"
"Speaking of which, how did those bastards get such a flower!?"
"Why are you being so amazing in such a useless situation...!"
Akihisa-kun and the others roar in perfect unison.
And as for me, I could only widen my eyes, unable to understand what was going on.
"The plotters of this idea's definitely the TokoNatsu pair."
"Those shitty bastards...! They want a piece of us even at the very end...!"
"Fine by me! Gouge out their hearts along with their second buttons!"
"...Today shall be their death anniversary."
"You guys! Split into 6 pursuit teams!! Don't let those 3rd years scoundrels back alive!"
I remain perturbed, and everyone's passing by in front of me, sprinting out of the classroom.
And right when Akihisa-kun's about to leave the classroom too--
"Ah, yeah, Himeji-san."
He stopped in front of me.
"Eh? Ah, yes."
I blankly answered.
"As for what we were talking about."
Akihisa-kun doesn't seem to be mind as he continues,
"I believe the me next year will get along better with everyone else. We'll have better experiences than before, and we'll enjoy each day better than before."
Once Akihisa-kun said that, he showed me the smile I loved most, the one that would energize me as I look at it--
"Just like how my relationship with you changed from the start of our second year until now."
He gave me those magical words, and sweeps my uneasiness aside.
My heart's gradually warmed.
It's as Akihisa-kun said. If there's no change, I won't be on such good terms with him, and it won't be better than how it is now. I won't be able to look forward to the moments more wonderful than they are now."
Once we enter our third years, we will enjoy our school lives differently from before. We can experience the school festival and sports meet that can only be done with everyone.
Once we graduate, we'll have much more things to do. We can go to many different places with everyone, drive off for distant journeys, or go on overseas trips during our long vacations.
We're happy now, but this might not be the happiest moments. As we grow, we'll have more things we can do, and we can find enjoyment more than we have now. Because...if this is more enjoyable than last year, the next year will definitely be more enjoyable.
"Hm? What is it, Himeji-san?"
Akihisa-kun didn't look any different form before. He doesn't look like he has something specific to talk about.
He's always like this. When we first met, he'll say things like 'this won't happen', to shake off the part I hate in my heart. While I continue to be fearful and tentative, he's always giving me the power of enthusiasm to move forward.
"Hey! Let's go, Akihisa!"
Sakamoto-kun prompted, and Akihisa-kun again moves to the exit.
I called him.
"Hm? What is it?"
While my mind's filled with all kinds of emotions--
"It's really great...that I fell in love with you."
Before I know it, I blurt out these words that can't be held back.
"Eh-eh, erm...anyway, we'll talk later."
Akihisa-kun continues to flail his arms flustered as he chases after everyone and exits the classroom.
Upon seeing his cute self, I naturally show a smile.
Minami-chan's voice came from beside me.
"Ah, yes. What is it, Minami-chan?"
"What you just said is against the school rules, you know?"
Minami-chan's eyes are giving me the 'You're pulling a fast one' look.
"Well, erm...I'm sorry."
"I forgive you."
"That wasn't a confession, but my feelings, so it's fine, right?"
"...You've gotten real good at talking your way out of things."
Good grief. Minami-chan shrugs her shoulders,
"Well, those idiots have run off. Let's not look at this weird flower and head off to where Shouko is, okay?"
"Yes, let's do it."
I proceed out of the classroom along with Minami-chan.
"YOSHII! TELL US WHAT SHE JUST SAID TO YOU!"
"WE OF THE FFF INQUISITION WILL NEVER FORGIVE ANY HERETICS AT ANY GIVEN TIME!"
"Th-the third years after more important now, right--HIII!!"
The noise came from somewhere; it's interesting, just like our school.