OreShura: Volume 1 Chapter 8
#8: A Childhood Friend's Tears are Mayhem
Sunday passed and soon it was after school on Monday.
After two days of not going to the clubroom, I saw huge vivid words written on the whiteboard.
'The time has come!｣
With her back to the whiteboard, Masuzu announced boldly:
"Yes, the time is coming."
Chiwa said, chewing curry bread in her mouth. She was always eating, so why didn’t she grow taller?
"The time? What's with that?"
"Of course it’s time for Harusaki-san to confess to Sakagami-senpai."
"Since the last two incidents, Sakagami-senpai’s love points must have risen a lot. According to my calculations, he should have entered the 'completely-smitten｣ level."
Are you serious...?
"No matter what you say, it’s too soon, right? Last time, everyone said it was just a funny skit."
Ah, right. Chiwa still doesn’t know.
"Regarding that matter, it seems like it had a positive effect regardless."
Using this sentence as an introduction, Masuzu continued:
"Sakagami-senpai is reportedly a big comedy fan. He particularly likes skits, even if they’re about guitars or past life events. I even heard that he 'really wanted to see it｣, and he deeply regretted that he couldn’t. He also seems to find Harusaki-san very interesting."
"Is this a blessing in disguise?"
Having failed to become a guitarist or a warrior of a past life, in the end the winning role was being an actor?
...Like that, after all this time, our hard work is...
"S-Skit...? Even I put my whole body into the acting performance... yet they called it a skit...?!"
At a loss for words, Chiwa suddenly dropped her body flat on the table. She was just like Masuzu at that time, shocked by the claim.
"Certainly we are not in a position where we can run away from the battle, thus—"
"Hey, wait a minute."
I hastily stopped Masuzu after listening to her.
"Even if the skit was really popular, it’s not like that necessarily will lead to a love-struck mind. Moreover, he’s a very popular senpai, and is always surrounded by many girls. I don’t think he will be immediately enticed."
Since it's a confession, it's necessary prepare oneself to succeed.
If she was rejected, we'd be back to square one and all this would had been a mere long detour.
"What you say seems reasonable."
I always thought she would disagree with me, so I didn’t expect Masuzu to nod and continue:
"Eita-kun, in your eyes, what’s the estimated chance of success?"
"At most, one or two percent."
"We’ll want at least five percent before we can hope to succeed. We’ll have to work harder, and think of a campaign strategy—"
Chiwa got up and raised her hand:
"I'll t-try confessing."
"Even if I’m refused, we can think of new plans! It’ll also be a good experience, regardless of success or failure. Let's try it."
"Well, decision in this matter is really up to you. Are you confident in yourself?"
"How could I be?"
Chiwa smiled, not the least bit concerned.
Masuzu muttered to herself:
"It’s almost as if she wants to be rejected."
"There’s no such thing! What kind of idiot thinks they’ll lose before even trying?"
Inadvertently, Chiwa denied the claim while flustered.
Hmnp... All right, fine.
Well, since they’ve already settled on a decision, there’s no room for others to interrupt.
"So, how will you confess?"
"It’s better if Harusaki-san doesn’t confess directly. Otherwise it’ll be just like when we practiced confessing a few days ago. If she's even a little bit nervous, it can easily fail."
Indeed, Chiwa was very nervous and uneasy when she was on the roof.
"This time different! I won't be nervous this time."
"Then, why were you like that that time?"
"That was because it was with Ei-kun..."
Chiwa’s faced flushed red as she glanced at me.
What is it?
Why does she become nervous when she practices on me? We even intentionally decided to let her practice on a friend.
"In short: Don’t confess directly. Put a 'love letter in the shoe cupboard｣, the old-fashioned way."
"Mhm, this is a reliable method."
Chiwa nodded only slightly.
After wasting a full two hours, the three of us persevered with polishing the contents of the letter until the last period before school ended.
Hello Sakagami Takuya Senpai:
Sorry for suddenly writing to you.
I am first-year Harusaki Chiwa from class five.
Ever since entering high school, I've liked you.
If you don’t hold anything against my words, please meet with me.
Between five and six o’clock this evening, I will be on the roof after school waiting for you.
If you don’t have a similar kind of feeling, please disregard this letter.
Should that be the case, I will give up and forget about it.
"Don’t you feel as if it’s too cold like this?"
When I stated my feelings, Masuzu immediately said:
"No, if the article is written too enthusiastically, it can easily lead the other side to back down with the opposite effect. Something like this is refreshing and crisp with better content."
Since she came up with more than half of the letter and was responsible for transcribing it, Masuzu confidently stood tall.
"But if you ask him to ignore it if he has no interest or give up and forget about it, I feel like you give the impression of not having any faith."
"This is to show that when he leaves, he won’t get the impression he’s entangled in a mess. It’s easier to make it seem like you have the intent of 'wanting to become a friend｣."
Is that true?
"Chiwa, do you think this is all right?"
Chiwa looked absentminded.
Dazed, she stared at the bottom of her empty teacup.
"Eh, ah, um, ah? Natsukawa’s handwriting is very beautiful."
"I'm wasn’t referring to that detail... What do you think of the content?"
"Uh, I think it’s fine?"
What is wrong with her?
Now she's starting to get nervous?
"Tomorrow morning when you first head to school, put this letter in senpai’s shoe cupboard, all right?"
Chiwa took the cute pink envelope, and nodded.
So, what was going to happen next?
The results were immediately announced.
As specified in the letter, Sakagami-senpai came to the roof at exactly five o’clock——
Senpai faced the stunned Chiwa and said, smiling:
"I as well, always thought that Harusaki-san was very cute."
"I’ve heard about you a lot from my brother. He says you play the guitar?"
"Ah, uh, I guess you could say so."
Lies, you can’t play a single piece!
"I also heard that you’re currently fighting a powerful and unknown enemy?"
"Uh, um, that. I’m already finished with that..."
There weren’t any enemies in the first place!
"Girls like you are pretty interesting. You have a sense of mystery."
Do you have a problem in the head, senpai?
"In short, why don’t we go to the movies this Sunday? Just tell me what you want to watch, all right, Chihuahua-chan?"
——The story above is what Chiwa relayed to us.
After Chiwa finished speaking, she sat down in her chair in a daze.
She still can’t believe that the confession was successful?
You're right, even I can’t quite believe it.
After all, Chiwa has a boyfriend!
...No, she is already a high school student. If you just consider the situation, it should be not surprising that she finally found a boyfriend.
My head just can’t keep up with how fast everything changes.
Obviously I would have liked to congratulate her, but I just couldn’t make myself say it.
When she heard that I got a girlfriend, maybe Chiwa had gotten into such a mood. As things stood, I suppose it made sense.
Masuzu drew on the whiteboard the huge giant word, 'Awesome!｣.
"A victory in a single shot! This is a great success for the Society for Bringing Out Your Maiden Self! After all this time spent on activities, we have finally reached and obtained definite results. As the president there is nothing more gratifying."
Clasping her hands, Masuzu’s entire body shook violently as she looked up at the ceiling.
It seemed that she was very happy.
If we left her continue like that, she would possibly start dancing in circles. I kind of wanted to see that sort of situation.
"Even if you say, 'all this time spent on activities｣, it’s only been a few weeks, right? Also, since when did you become the president?"
"Don’t pour cold water on me while I'm having such a great after taste."
Although she pouted, Masuzu still looked very happy.
"Excluding Harusaki-san’s charm, this success clearly proves the power of 'his｣ notebook. Eita-kun also has reasons to be happy, right?"
"A-A-Annoying! It has nothing to do with me!"
"——That is, ahh."
Chiwa, who had been silent this entire time, suddenly opened her mouth and said:
"The person who wrote this notebook must be Natsukawa’s first love, right? He should be someone great, I think."
What does that mean?
I can’t just turn a deaf ear to that.
"T-Those kinds of guys can only write delusions or weird things! How is he great?"
As I was letting out a big voice, Chiwa stared at me inconceivably.
"To be honest, I do not understand much about the contents of that notebook, but I think guitar and past life parts were cool."
It’s so normal.
This is exactly what a natural reaction is.
However, Chiwa shook her head and said:
"But— the fact that he isn’t shy and did not hesitate to fully believe in those 'cool things｣. I think that point is very cool of him."
"...What's with that?"
One who’s fully convinced that they’re cool, is cool?
But, the person who wrote like that was me in middle school?
To be 'extraordinarily｣ mistaken as 'cool｣, I felt very ashamed.
The current me didn’t believe in an ounce of those things.
I even felt like it was a stain on my life.
"Natsukawa, thank you."
Chiwa asked to shake hands with Masuzu.
"Thanks to you and your first love, you let me reach my goal."
"But you don’t look too happy?"
Masuzu shook her hand, but tilted her head puzzled.
"This isn’t like you. To be more straight forward with 'I’d gotten a boyfriend, yeah!｣ claim, it would have been more natural."
"...Ahahaha, right, haha."
She did not cheer.
That day for dinner, there were all of Chiwa’s favorite foods.
Garlic fried beef, banbanji chicken salad, and hamburger.
This menu was in celebration of her successful confession and also to pray for her first date on Sunday.
Nevertheless, Chiwa did not eat. Normally, her chopsticks would have long outstretched to steal my hamburger.
We also couldn’t start chatting and the table was absolutely quiet. You could even hear dogs barking in the distance.
...This is not a celebration dinner, but rather more like the wake of a funeral.
I tried to speak up with a cheerful voice:
"A-Altogether, it was great! You reached your goal."
Chiwa nodded slightly and said:
"I caught the school’s most famous senpai, so you can say I’m finally popular."
Though in reality, I felt like one needed a lot of boys chasing after them before one could be called popular.
However, in this case, quality was more important than quantity, right?
"If the news spread, the girls will become very envious of you. The boys will also look at you from a new light and then nobody will call you 'Sorry Chihuahua｣ from now on."
"But senpai’s fans will hate me, so will they collectively harass me?"
"No problem. If it’s you, you can turn it right back at them."
The dialogue ended here and the living room was quiet again.
Why was the atmosphere so difficult to liven up?
"——Is it really fine?"
Chiwa muttered loudly.
"About me going out with Senpai, Ei-kun is OK with it?"
"What are you saying? Didn’t we set up this club exactly for this purpose? We even planned such a number of different strategies and tried really hard to reach your goal."
"...The Maiden’s Club. From now on, what will it be?"
"We’ll temporarily stop activities. After all, we’ve already reached the goal."
"So it’s like this… I feel quite empty."
"Well I’m relaxed, I can finally concentrate on studying."
Chiwa put down the chopsticks, even though she hadn’t even eaten half of her food.
She lowered her head, and said:
"Ei-kun really is fine regardless of what happens with me?"
"It's true. Ei-kun is Natsukawa Masuzu’s boyfriend after all."
Her words were clearly bitter.
"...What? I tried so hard to help you become popular, isn’t that right? Didn’t you say you wanted to experience romance like in shoujo manga? For this purpose you pushed yourself so hard, right?"
"Yeah, I tried so desperately."
"Then this is the reward you got. So what kind of thing still bothers..."
"This is not a reward!"
Chiwa yelled after raising her head.
What does that mean?
Don’t tell me that only one senior’s admiration is not enough.
"It's fine? To Ei-kun it's fine even if I start dating other boys? In the future maybe I won’t even be able to eat dinner with you!"
"Something like that..."
Perhaps that was exactly right.
Even though we were childhood friends, no matter how familiar, if he knows she was always eating dinner with another boy, perhaps senpai will have feelings like that.
A table without Chiwa.
Dinner for one person alone.
...Somehow, that feels a little lonely.
"I-I will cope with it."
I tried my best to be brave in front of Chiwa.
"After all, your dream has finally come true, after all this trouble."
Then I noticed...
Chiwa’s large eyes were full of tears.
Tears suddenly brimmed in her eyes and slowly dripped down her cheeks.
Chiwa said repeatedly, while crying:
"Stupid, stupid idiot, Ei-kun is an idiot...!"
Like the night when she decided that she wanted to become popular, she called me a bunch of bad names.
Her voice was like a howling animal, and presently seemed overcome by puppy-like weakness.
"Idiot! I hate Ei-kun! I hate you the most! "
"What do you mean?"
"I hate being Ei-kun’s childhood friend! If I were an ordinary student, with an ordinary relationship with you, then I wouldn’t suffer this much! There’s nothing good that comes out of being your childhood friend!"
You don't want to be my childhood friend?
"W-Why are you saying this so suddenly? We knew each other since we were little. We were just like older brother and little sister, right?"
Chiwa looked at me with red eyes:
"You’re wrong! I’d be your older sister by three months and ten days!"
"Why do you suddenly care about this now? Fine! We can be older sister and little brother. Nontheless, we’re like family."
"That’s why I hate it, like I said before!"
She burst into tears.
W-Why do you have that expression on your face?
"P-Please, please don’t cry. Okay? Chiwa, don’t cry."
"As if I could do that! Idiooooot!"
Chiwa threw down those words, cried out, and stood up.
Before I could stop her, she ran out into the corridor.
I was left standing in place, without an opportunity to chase after her.
"...What’s going on..."
Did I do something wrong?
Thinking about it.
Did I do anything to hurt Chiwa?
Indeed, ever since the establishment of the Jien-Otsu, everything I did was for myself. I won’t deny that.
But it was also for the sake of Chiwa.
So that Chiwa can find a boyfriend.
The jien otsu temporarily reached that goal and I am finally able to concentrate on studying.
By all rights, it should benefit the both of us.
But Chiwa cried so much.
Did I get it wrong?
Really, where did I go wrong?
I simply could not see the logic of it. It was embarrassing. Even if I was studying constantly, my natural tendencies weren’t going to change, okay?
However, one thing was clear:
"I made Chiwa cry."
Why am I so depressed?
Why do I feel so sad?
Wasn’t this a good thing? Perhaps it was a good opportunity to settle an ill-fated relationship. Since the beginning, this had burdened Masuzu as the unstable factor. If troublemaker Chiwa kept her distance from me, my school life could be so much more stable.
She was such an incomparable noisy troublesome girl.
"I can't possibly do something like that…"
In her platters, Chiwa left half of her hamburger unfinished.
On top of that, the potpourri miso soup, and freshly cooked rice, she left completely untouched.
As I watched these steaming dishes gradually cool, my heart felt cold.
Looking at this... I suddenly remembered something——
I said it before, didn’t I?
I said Kaoru also told something about it, right?
Chiwa is 'family｣.
The loss of family members.
Of course it’s painful...
That night I dreamed.
It was a dream about the past.
The time was early autumn of last year ——that is, something that happened during the second semester of my third year in middle school.
During the time of day when the sky just darkened, I had sat in a living room chair without even the lights on.
"So my house was always so big, huh...?"
It had been about a month since my father and mother disappeared, and I had been left alone.
Even though my relatives had been looking for the whereabouts of my parents, they hadn’t been able to find them and were filled with an atmosphere of wanting to give up. I even heard they had already begun to discuss, 'who was to become my guardian｣ amongst them.
No, properly speaking, it was: 'Who I was going to be dumped on｣.
Now I did not think they were ruthless. It was a natural reaction, after all. They had their own lives, so who suddenly wanted the 'take in a middle school student child｣? Because I was required to be under custody of relatives, this was a very hard task. I had never heard of this Saeko, an unmarried aunt I was about to get under the custody of, the prospects seemed rather dim.
I already have no family.
I have to survive alone.
"It’s about time for dinner."
The kitchen was piled with empty boxes of cup noodles and convenience store bentos. I had been eating these recently. Thinking back to that day, I might even had to eat from the plastic containers, it's kinda unsettling.
At this point, a noise came from the corridor.
I turned around and found Chiwa’s face pressed against the glass.
She was dressed in hospital pajamas. Although it was already autumn, she was sweating.
"H-How did you get here?!"
I quickly ran to open the window.
I saw her right hand on crutches while she scratched her head with the left. She laughed with a 'tehehe｣ as she said:
"I came unconsciously."
"How can you just 'come unconsciously｣? You were in the hospital, right? Anyways, can you walk?"
Since the traffic accident in June, Chiwa had been hospitalized.
Last month, I went to visit her, she couldn’t move out of bed and looked very painful...
"Well, I can walk, but this foot isn’t good. They can’t take the cast off yet."
'Take a look!｣, She raised her right foot to show me.
"Today, I took advantage of the walking exercise and walked to Ei-kun’s home."
"...Did you get a leave of absence?"
"Ehh— I haven’t smelled Ei-kun’s scent in a while, the smell of Ei-kun’s home♪."
"You didn’t get permission? You slipped out!"
Chiwa expertly maneuvered the crutches and came into the living room without being invited.
This was just like how Chiwa always acted.
"Really, you’re such a carefree soul..."
As she kept talking, I took a deep sigh of relief.
I was very grateful.
After all, in this kind of situation, if Chiwa’s situation were very bad, I wouldn't be able to bear it.
Even though my family would never be able to recover.
But at least I could hope Chiwa would be able to smile like before.
"It looks like your recovery went smoothly. When can you leave the hospital?"
"Probably next month when they remove the cast."
*poof*! Chiwa sat on the sofa.
"After that, I’ll begin the real rehabilitation and regain my strength back bit by bit through training. The doctor said I’d be able to walk like I used to within this year."
'Thank you for worrying about me!｣, Chiwa smiled and seemed to hint while bowing slightly.
"This is… great! It’s really, really good news!"
I was really happy.
I felt like I hadn’t laughed truly from my heart in a long time.
"Well, once you enter high school, the sword-wielding Chihuahua will once again be resurrected. If I remember correctly, you’re also going to Hane High School? I heard that club activities have a strong emphasis there, you can definitely make it as a team regular!"
Chiwa said with a smile:
"I won’t be able to practice kendo anymore."
I turned my head and stared at Chiwa’s face.
Along with the brilliant smile I had seen since I was little, there was a shadow of vagueness I had never seen before mixed in.
"I really can’t do intense exercises anymore. The doctor said the bones in my lower back aren’t very good. Of course I'm going to do my best with the rehabilitation, however, I have to give up on Kendo from now on."
I was thinking: So this was the feeling when one stopped thinking.
Because when we first met, Chiwa had already been holding a shinai.
From very early in the morning, she would practice in the courtyard, disturbing my sleep.
On her way home, the huge body armor she carried would make a 'ka-la-ka-la-la｣ sound and she would catch up to ask me: 'Shall we go home together?｣
Before competitions, Chiwa would have a serious expression on her face and look as if she were a different person, so much so it would shock me.
I’ll never see this ever again——?
"Well, the quack doctor must be wrong, he must be wrong!"
I waved my fist while desperately advocating.
"You should find a b-better doctor! That quack doctor is absolutely a sham, right?"
"My dad said he was one of the city's best doctors."
"A lie! He has to be a sham! A doctor who could say that kind of thing, one hundred percent has to be a sham!"
Chiwa didn’t comment, and merely smiled and said: 'Ah, really…｣
"Let’s not talk about me. What about you, Ei-kun?"
"What’s going to happen to Ei-kun?"
I looked to the side and said:
"Ah... Well, we’ll figure it out somehow."
"You’re not going to just disappear, are you?"
Chiwa looked at my face uneasily.
At this time, I finally understood—
Why she slipped out of the hospital, to come here.
"You’re not going to vanish, right? Ei-kun isn’t going to go somewhere else?"
As a result, I tried to show my best smile, and said:
"Of course, right? Aside here, where else is my home?"
"That’s— T-That's right!"
We laughed as we looked at each other.
"...Right, you haven’t eaten yet? Is there anything you can’t eat?"
"No, there’s nothing I can’t eat."
"Then I’ll go cook now and we can eat together."
"When you say to cook... do you mean cup noodles?"
"Idiot. Of course it’s formal cooking. What else do you want to eat?"
Chiwa opened her eyes wide.
"Ei-kun, cook? Can you?"
"Of course the men of today can cook! I’ll cook what you like to eat."
Thus, the two of us went shopping.
I constantly flipped through the recipe book without stopping, to look for hamburgers.
Chiwa rolled and laughed at the table.
"This hamburger is yellow-green colored!"
"No, because we haven’t eaten vegetables recently, I added the green beans."
"But this has turned into some other kind of food!"
Because the minced meat fell apart, it became 'sautéed shredded pork with peas and onion｣.
"Damn! I’ll let you laugh for now. I just haven’t shown myself being serious yet! If I really get serious, any dish will be a piece of cake."
"That’s the spirit, Ei-kun! Someday you’ll let me eat some delicious hamburger!"
"Leave it to me!"
We gave a toast with fruit juice.
We ate food that was something like hamburger and fought with each other.
"Once I go to high school, I need to find something even more interesting than kendo. It has to be more fascinating and interesting to people than the shinai!"
"Well, you should go look for it. You are a high school student after all, completely different from middle school students. I’m sure you can find something."
"What about Ei-kun? What will you do after starting high school? "
After thinking for a moment, I said:
"There’s nothing I want to do in particular."
With my current situation, I didn’t even know if I could go to high school.
I had to seriously consider going straight to finding work after graduating from middle school.
"In either case, goals and dreams are annoying, and I'm lazy."
"No that’s not right!"
Chiwa hit the table with her hand that was holding onto chopsticks.
"You haven’t immersed yourself into anything, so it’s a waste! Even if high school activities are difficult! Aren't you passionate about anything?"
If you ask me – that would be looking at manga, anime and daydreaming about these sorts of things. Then I would casually scribble in my notebook.
But even with those things, I recently could neither muster any energy nor interest.
It was because I now understood that 'hopes｣ and 'fantasies｣ were completely powerless before the face of reality.
"...If it’s about studies, then I want to become a doctor."
"Doctor? Why? "
"Maybe I can cure your body."
For me, this only was an idea that had suddenly flashed through my head.
'If I could achieve something good｣— it was just like one of my 'hopes｣ that weren’t worth mentioning.
"W-Why are you crying? Ah?"
"Idiot... It’s because of..... something you said, isn't it...? You are just some Ei-kun..."
I looked at Chiwa’s streaming tears and I felt a sentiment bubbling up.
—I didn’t have any hope.
I was really just a sighing, motionless, unfortunate, miserable, what-should-we-do and humiliating guy. Just looking at how kendo was taken away from Chiwa, yet she still seemed hopeful, I finally understood myself.
But, could I become better?
Someone like me, I wanted to become like Chiwa and 'hope｣ again --
I stood up vigorously.
"I decided I want to be a doctor! In high school I’ll enthusiastically work hard and become Hane High’s number one student. And then I’ll get the qualification for the Medical Examination!"
Chiwa blinked under red eyes and said:
"But, Ei-kun’s grades are almost in the lower half...?"
"I’ll do it seriously in high school! Stuff like grades and qualifications will be a piece of cake even without parents! I will definitely heal your body!"
"Yeah, really! Medicine advances at lightning speed! When we grow up, medical technology will have advanced so much more than it is today... No wait, it might be even that I will make it progress!"
—The me from back then was so stupid, it can't be matched.
But I had passion.
Yet, that was only a year ago.
Chiwa cried while she spoke and faced me:
"Thank you, Ei-kun."
"I will always, always wait for you."
Translator notes and references
- Chiwa uses "nyani ka" instead of "nani ka".
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