OreShura: Volume 4 Chapter 9
#9: Scheming an Ending is Mayhem
"We've got to make them give up in one go."
Masuzu said from within the bathroom.
"To give up—— What?"
I responded from outside.
After dinner I had been resting in my room when I received a message from Masuzu, 'I have something secret to discuss', so I went 'next to the bathroom window outside the building' as instructed— Masuzu was still inside the bath.
She intended to talk through the bathroom window, that's what it looked like.
Since in this house Chiwa and the others could have their eyes and ears everywhere, this was a suitable place to whisper quietly indeed. However, if anyone discovered us, wouldn't they run to the police right away? After all, it looked like as if I was peeping.
"After that talk with Fuyuumi-san there is one thing that became certain. We are under suspicion, now our only choice is to show them decisive evidence that we are dating."
"Huh? What did you say?"
Masuzu's voice was completely masked by the sound of the shower, I didn't get her there.
"D e c i s i v e - E v i d e n c e!"
"You say evidence, but what kind of?"
"Which shows that we are dating."
Even if you go out of your way to say that.
Just what would be good to show that?
"Do you mean stuff like getting pictures at sticker-photo boothsPurikura during dates, or giving each other presents?"
"That's no bad thinking; but if someone were to look at it too thoroughly, it'd be easy to tell that it's just a fabrication. Even if Harusaki-san and Akishino-san are convinced, I doubt that Fuyuumi-san and your oba-sama would be fooled."
"…That'll be hard."
"Furthermore, it's not like they'll quietly wait for us to set that up, right?"
Actually, when we just started our 'fake' relationship, a proposal like 'let's take a picture at the photo-stick booth for evidence' had taken us to go to a game center. But just as we walked in front of the machine, we couldn't help but to turn back due to that unbearable 'lovestruck atmosphere'. On the way back, Masuzu muttered continuously, 'die, rot, die, rot, die, rot, die, rot, die, rot', as she kicked a fence along the road. I was stuck in the mayhem between my girlfriend and the national transportation department.
"Then what? Can we even come up with a present that isn't easy to identify as a fabrication?"
"For that reason material objects won't do."
The sound of the water running stopped, and I heard water overflow from the bathtub.
"Just by seeing it, to have those girls completely convinced. We need 'something' intense."
"I n t e n s e, is it?"
As our dialogue shifted into a pause, the sound of waves could be heard from the beach.
I looked up at the sky which was filled entirely with stars as it was a new moon. The summer constellations night unfolded itself freely.
Aah, being by the sea is really great!
…But if the conversation wasn't about our fake selves, this would be really an uplifting moment.
"In other words, we need to proceed in a certain manner, right?"
"How about we enthusiastically talk about arranging dates right in front of them? Things like, the restaurant over here tastes really good, or the scenery over there is really beautiful and the like"
"In order to sound like we are together, we'd have to carefully plan in advance. Furthermore, the ability to act very earnestly is necessary. I'm confident in my own acting skills, but—— Eita, do you have that confidence?"
"...Not at all."
I couldn't help but look back in the direction of the window.
"And what's with you?! From the beginning, you've been doing nothing but opp—"
Halfway through my sentence, I couldn't help but to lose my voice.
On the other side of the humid glass, Masuzu's bare figure could be distinguished quite vividly.
From her shoulders to her back, and then from her back to her waist. I noticed her body line which was emphasized by the hair stuck to her skin.
Her bottom looked plump but round, the usual image of her in a skirt couldn't possibly hint the existence of this hidden plentifulness.
I was frozen as I got a reminder of the pointed angle that her chest had.
I couldn't do anything but stare.
I couldn't even let out that type of expressions that gal-game protagonists let out in this type of 'lucky pervert' situations.
I who could never understand why anyone would choose nude subjects when it came to paintings… I suddenly had a strong realization. It needed to have an impact like this.
"———So you really can't think of anything..."
Masuzu's voice drew me back to reality.
I quickly pulled my gaze away from the window.
"L-Let me hear what you think."
"[...] [...] ...Ha?"
"Can't you remember your very own words that you wrote? I mean a kiss."
Aaaah, that thing— It's from my Chuuni notebook…
"Right in front of Harusaki Chiwa, Akishino Himeka, and Fuyuumi Ai."
"...W-Wait a sec."
"It would be nice if it had a natural feeling. Like, as if it spelled, 'this is just as a warm greeting', as you kiss me."
Masuzu's tone was very flat.
It wasn't her usual poisonous tongue tone, the one that she used to play with my mood.
It was actually quite frightening. This dead serious tone that she carried.
"A-Are you seriously saying that?"
"Ara, do you need to be that surprised? We've done it so many times already."
Masuzu and I have already kissed several times.
However, those were all nothing but surprise attacks.
We've neither ever done it in front of Chiwa and the others, nor did we let them know about it.
"Something like a kiss doesn't mean anything to those being 'anti-love' like us. But to those of 'lovestruck' mentality, it's extremely intense, right? I think that we don't really have any other choice but using that at this point."
"But won't Chiwa and the rest get angry? No, there is no other way but for them to get furious."
"Yes, it'll become a battlefieldshuraba."
"Think of my circumstances! I'll have to deal with the three of them!"
"...That's true, it's just like you say."
Masuzu's voice echoed.
"So, regarding this matter, I'll give you the right to 'choose'. "
"I won't use the secret of your notebook as a tool to force you, that's what I mean."
Masuzu declared something even more outrageous than revealing my dark past.
—————To kiss, or not to kiss. You're the one that has to decide, Kidou Eita.
It was about ten o'clock at night.
After eating dinner and taking a bath, I normally studied——— But that couldn't be done at the moment, since the training camp wasn't finished.
"Ah... I didn't get it."
I clearly remembered that there had been a three of hearts there, but after turning it over, it turned out to be a seven of spades.
This was already my fifth consecutive mistake, and I hadn't even gotten a single pair yet.
The next turn was Chiwa's, who merely laughed and said:
"Ei-kun is soo weak! The three of hearts is here—!"
She easily took the cards that I had originally set as my goal.
Surprised, Fuyuumi asked:
"Could it be that you are bad at memorizing? Then how did you study for Japanese history then?"
"Ah, no— hahaha..."
I could only laugh.
Ever since earlier, I hadn't been able to remember the cards since I was completely unable to concentrate.
Without even realizing it, I found myself staring at the lips of Masuzu, who was sitting across from me.
"Eita, do you not feel well?"
Next to me, Hime had a worried look on her face as she watched me.
"I-It's nothing—! I'll make a comeback soon!"
Even though I tried to sound as if I had raised my spirits, I honestly thought that this wasn't the time to concentrate on a card game.
My heart wouldn't stop thumping, and I was sweating abnormally. It was almost as if I couldn't mentally do 2+2.
In contrast, Masuzu was very calm, and she didn't look tense at all. It was almost as if she actually enjoyed the game. But she didn't even once try to meet my gaze, which made me a little concerned.
Whenever I was ready, I was supposed to say, 'I'm tired. I'm going to bed early', and get ready to leave. At Masuzu's reply, 'Goodnight, darling', that was the signal. I was supposed to whisper softly into her ear, 'Yeah, goodnight honey', and then conveniently place a kiss on her lips—
The fact that I'm narrating this myself doesn't mean that it didn't make me feel uncomfortable!
Where did this American couple come from? Those two aren't Japanese at all!
"You're clutching your head madly. What's wrong?"
Chiwa said with curiosity.
"Could you be sleepy already?"
"O-O-Of course not! Look, I still have so much energy!"
I bent my right arm to show my biceps. Even though I didn't think mental concentration on card games had anything to do with arm strength. But I couldn't think of anything else on the spot to demonstrate my liveliness.
"Really? Well then that's good."
Chiwa said this, but she was still rocking restlessly, as if she couldn't calm herself.
Hime and Fuyuumi had started giving each other glances, but whenever they nearly met my gaze, they averted their eyes. It was as if they couldn't keep calm.
What is it? There is obviously something happening here.
In either case, now wasn't the time to worry about that.
I had to settle my course of action before Chiwa and the rest said 'goodnight'.
What should I do?
I was now faced with the 'pick' that Saeko-san had mentioned before.
Back then I had answered, 'I refuse either'."
After all, for an 'anti-love' person a harem or a mayhem were both the same. Love was simply a thing to be avoided.
But right now, I had no choice but to pick one of those two.
If I kissed Masuzu, then I'd be set on the mayhem route.
If I didn't kiss her—— I would be 'leaning' towards the harem route. Without provoking Chiwa, Hime, or Fuyuumi, I would have to maintain a certain distance from Masuzu.
However, the fake relationship would crumble down.
And after it would crumble down in front of me, what awaited me—— Wasn't it obvious that it'd be nothing but mayhem?
Rather than putting this off, I should take action right now.
I glanced at my watch, and the time was 10:27:50 P.M.. Chiwa normally went to bed before eleven o'clock, so this were almost dangerous waters.
I'll make my move at 10:28:00 PM.
"I-I'm tired. I'm going to bed early."
From my mouth came out the code words we agreed to.
Now Masuzu was supposed to say, 'Goodnight, darling'.
"Then I guess we'll leave it here for today."
But Chiwa was the first one to speak.
"Huh? But you don't have to stop just because of me."
"Don't worry. I'm already tired of playing. More importantly, there are some things we want to give you today."
Chiwa took two white paper bags from her tote bag.
"This is for Natsukawa, and this is for Ei-kun."
Masuzu looked puzzled as she received a bag.
I was also puzzled.
"What's in the bag?"
Fuyuumi poked my waist:
"Well, just open and see. Right, Hime-chan?"
After being mentioned, Hime blushed and lowered her head. It looked like this was something the three of them did together.
I did as she said and pulled out the object inside. It turned out to be a rather uniquely designed phone strap.
It looked like the English letter, 'Z'.
"Let me say, first of all. That's not the letter 'Z'. It's actually the '乙' from 'maiden'."
Chiwa held back her smile as she took out an identical cell phone strap from her pocket.
"The five of us have the same one. By the way, they were designed by Himecchi."
"The person who suggested it was Chiwa, and the person who found the store to make them was me."
Fuyuumi and Hime also took out more identical phone straps and showed them to us.
Chiwa laughed and said:
"You see, sports clubs have uniforms or team bags, but why can't the Maiden's Club have something like that? After all, this difficulty we had to become an official club, I felt like we were lacking something, so I discussed it with the other two and came up with this."
"We kept it a secret from Natsukawa-san, since you're the one who worked the hardest to start the club, right? Hime-chan said that we should make this a gift for you, as the club members."
Hime blushed slightly and nodded.
"But why did you keep it a secret even from me?"
"If we told Ei-kun, wouldn't you leak it to Natsukawa? You're absolutely terrible at lying!"
After Chiwa laughed, and of course it was just as she described, I couldn't add anything.
"Since tomorrow is the beauty pageant, right? It would be weird to bring this up after the face-off is over, so the time to give these to you was now."
What kind of expression was I supposed to make in this kind of situation?
In other words, when Chiwa and the others had been collaborating amongst each other before the trip, the true reason for that was never 'to get in the way of me and Masuzu'.
It had been just too different.
From Chiwa and the other two we had been getting 'affection'.
And for our side, we had only played a part filled with 'faked affection'.
It was as different as that.
"[...] ...Complete defeat."
After giving a sight, Masuzu smiled.
"Thank you for this heartfelt gift. I will cherish this phonestrap dearly forever."
Masuzu looked at Chiwa, Hime, and Fuyuumi in sequence and thanked them. And it wasn't with her usual kind of sarcastic air. Rather, it was filled with gratitude that came from the bottom of her heart.
"I, too… Somehow... Sorry."
"Huh? Why are you apologizing?"
Chiwa tilted her head slightly.
"No, not that… Now is not the time for 'sorry', rather, um, 'thank you'."
I quickly corrected myself.
In this atmosphere, I couldn't kiss her at all.
After ascertaining that everyone had returned to their own rooms, I went to Masuzu's room and knocked on her door.
In Dogeza form, I bowed my head to Masuzu, who was sitting on the bed in her pajamas.
"I-I ended up being unable to kiss you! The way things turned out was beyond my expectations. Under that kind of circumstances, it was a little awkward for a kiss and... It was impossible for me! Sorry!"
"——Why are you apologizing?"
I looked up after hearing that gentle voice to then see a smiling Masuzu.
She appeared to be tired and filled with sadness.
"If you forcibly kissed me in that situation — I'd look down upon you with disdain."
Masuzu shook her head.
Clasped in her hand was the "Otsu" strap.
"Unknowingly, I was a little taken aback. I ended up being moved by their gift. At the same time, 'what an unsightly creature I am', I just that thought to myself. Once again, I have been shown how much of a devil I am."
"No, that's just a thing of coincidence..."
"It's not a thing of coincidence."
Masuzu said while looking at that swaying 'Otsu'.
"It's definitely not a coincidence, Eita. Indeed, Harusaki-san and the rest look upon me as their enemy. But yet, at the same time, they are people who can gift me with this. They are people who can gift their adversary with such a thing... They are too different from me."
A heavy silence followed.
This might have been the first time I was seeing Masuzu reprimanding herself so much.
"I guess you won't be able to win tomorrow's contest."
In her current state, Masuzu probably couldn't outdo others in demonstrating her 'dere appeal'.
"Perhaps it's better to just withdraw."
"Yeah. Frankly, I was thinking about that, but... Still, it's better to make an appearance and get judged. If I take her feelings into consideration..."
Masuzu stood up and took out my 'chuu-ni notebook' from her travel bag.
"Harusaki-san's chagrin and sadness towards me because of taking you away from her—— If I consider those feelings of hers, I can't just get defeated without a fight."
Flipping through the notebook, she showed the very last page.
The words written on it took up most of the two pages.
My heart stirred nostalgically.
I remembered the feelings at that time.
I'll become a doctor and cure Chiwa's body!
Masuzu then smiled quietly.
"Thanks for everything. After this training camp, you'll be free."
Translator notes and references
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