OreShura: Volume 5 Chapter 0
I remember something that probably took place during elementary school.
When I had cut out a healthy piece of fried pork chops for lunch and shared it with my childhood friend, Harusaki Chiwa, her response reverberated through the entire classroom...
'Ei-kun, I love you~♪'
Not only did the entire class laugh at me, but my homeroom teacher also even teased us and said, 'she's going to be Kidou-kun's wife in the future!'. It was honestly way too embarrassing. I only gave that portion to Chiwa because I had already been full and couldn't eat anymore.
On the way home from school, I had let a rain-drenched Chiwa duck under my umbrella and heard her say:
'Ei-kun is so sweet! I love you!'
No, in this kind of situation, anyone would do that kind of thing, right?
We were going home together and I had an umbrella while Chiwa was drenched. Where did that insult come from? What kind of weird play was this?
In short, Chiwa's 'I love you' was her way of expressing 'thank you'.
As expected, after we had moved onto middle school, she very rarely said that in front of others. But when we were alone, Chiwa would continue to say 'I love you' like always. I had also been completely used to it, so I would always reply disinterestedly with 'oh' or 'yeah'.
After all, we grew up as childhood friend and she was like a younger sister to me.
Basically like family.
Even if there was love, it wasn't a 'romantic' kind. It was a 'familial' love.
That's, what I always thought.
Until now, when Chiwa kissed me.
I opened my mouth to ask why, but nothing came out.
Every time I moved my lips, I could clearly feel the aftertaste of the kiss.
The building that we used for summer training camp wasn't very far off from the sea, so as we stood there silently and alone in the living room, the sound of the rising and falling waves could be heard in the distance.
All of my senses were concentrated in front of me—
This wasn't a dream.
"—Because I have always been next to you, you didn't notice it, right?"
Chiwa's voice was a little hoarse.
Even as tears dripped down, she still wore a smile and looked up at me.
"You didn't notice, right? I even said it so many times. Hey, this time, will you listen carefully?"
Chiwa did not wipe away the tears on her cheeks and instead continued:
"Ei-kun, I love you."
At the same time, the sound of the door opening seemed to overlap.
By reflex, I looked back— only to discover the person standing there was my 'girlfriend'.
"If 'I love you' could solve everything, there wouldn't be a need for the police, right?"
Natsukawa Masuzu also smiled.
"This seems like quite a happy moment. Miss Childhood Friend, may I join in?"
But her voice was extremely cold.
Masuzu lifted her ice-like hair without letting her gaze off of Chiwa.
Across from her, Chiwa also smiled slightly.
Even though her tone was as if she was making a joke, she stared straight at Masuzu and spoke resolutely.
"Can't you see the atmosphere? Girlfriend, why don't you come back in nine years?"
Even if she didn't say it, nine years was the amount of time Chiwa and I had spent together.
This was undoubtedly a provocation.
Her implication was—
You and him don't have the same relationship that we have.
This was simultaneously her declaration of war.
"Waiting nine years, it would be impossible for me."
Masuzu maintained her smile and unhesitatingly asserted.
"If the meaning of all of that is to continuously accumulate a meaningless day to day life, yet be unable to step across boundaries together, I certainly wouldn't want to become that kind of person".
The violent blow made the smile disappear from Chiwa's face.
On the contrary, the smile on Masuzu's face deepened.
"If that nine years thing is what you are so proud of—————— don't you think that that's lamentable? It's like saying, 'I just want to live a long life' with pride.
In an ordinary situation, Chiwa would probably have started crying now.
If it was an argument, there was no way Chiwa could keep up with Masuzu. Take me as an example. When I confronted that venomous girl, I was tortured to death. There was no way Chiwa could match her.
But today, Chiwa wasn't the usual.
"...Yeah, it might be as Natsukawa says."
She conceded it very openly.
That straightforwardness made Masuzu and me dumbstruck.
"I realized it now, up until this moment I have been too naive. Solely to rely on the amount of time I've spent together with Ei-kun in the past. That's why I can't forgive Natsukawa, because that position of Ei-kun's girlfriend, that place where… that where I've always wanted to be, but I just couldn't get there————— Yet, it came so naturally to Natsukawa. 'That's too unfair', I used to think that, because even though I've always liked Ei-kun, and for so long at that, how did she manage to become Ei-kun's girlfriend after knowing him only since high school, for just two months?"
Chiwa clenched her fingers into fists, and her voice became forceful.
"But after I saw what happened on the stage yesterday, I understood. It's because I think like that, that I can't win against Natsukawa Masuzu."
This was probably the first time I've ever heard Chiwa speak so seriously.
"I haven't been honest. Even though I always wanted to be Ei-kun's girlfriend, someplace in my heart I felt that 'keeping things like this isn't bad after all'. But that's wrong, because it won't last forever. I should have realized it earlier, but I simply didn't get it. The only reason I've noticed it now is thanks to Natsukawa, so———— thank you."
Natsukawa opened her eyes and her voice became distorted.
"Are… You saying that for real?"
"Sincerely and seriously, I really want to thank you… Though from Natsukawa's perspective, it probably looks like I'm shooting myself in the foot."
Chiwa smiled slightly.
—What kind of situations is this?
Before I even noticed, the exchange of blows already happened.
"Eita-kun is my boyfriend, you now? So you shouldn't interfere with that..."
Masuzu's voice shuddered slightly.
"That isn't important!"
Chiwa's retorted with a threatening tone.
"I won't be jealous anymore, I won't hold back anymore! I like Ei-kun! I love him! I love him greatly! Love of the love! I don't want to repress my feelings anymore! I'm not going to lie about it anymore!"
"There's no common sense in this."
The venomous Masuzu, ordinarily capable of pulling preposterous arguments out of subspace, had yet to appear.
Normally, someone else would say that Masuzu was the one who had 'no common sense'.
"That's why I said that he already has a girlfriend. A partner. Not throwing the glove to someone who has someone, is one of the rules of love, right? Hey, Eita-kun is mine. That's already set in stone. Why won't you give up?"
"Obviously because I love Ei-kun!"
"That's simply not a reason! Why don't you understand?!"
"Then why don't you understand?"
Chiwa's words were filled with passion.
"Because I love him, it can't be helped! This has nothing to do with girlfriends or childhood friends! This feeling can't possibly be stopped! This is what people call true love, Natsukawa surely understands this!"
Natsukawa's body trembled substantially.
Her legs were completely unsteady and her silver hair fluttered helplessly.
"'True Love', is it?"
Her voice was hoarse and furthermore quiet. Because I was standing right next to her, I was the only one who could hear it.
"What's so great about that 'true' thing? Just what's so beautiful about it? Someone like me who has to cling to the fake one like if my life depended on it, then what happens to those like me?"
Chiwa was about to draw closer, but Masuzu immediately lifted her head with a severe look.
"Even if you say stuff like that, I absolutely won't give him up. Since you can't have him, you might as well go look for someone else——— because Kidou Eita is the only one for me."
An angry fire ignited in Chiwa's eyes.
She glared at Masuzu who was an entire head taller than her.
"This kind of thing isn't something you can decide! Because for me, too, Ei-kun is the only one!"
Did it really devolve to this unmanageable mess?
The two of them had already closed in within range of each other's hands.
If I don't quickly come up with something to control the scene, there's probably going to be a dispute between those two. No, it is entirely possible that it ends up in a physical fight.
...But, how should I stop them?
Whenever there was a scene of mayhem like this in TV dramas or manga, I always retorted, 'Why don't you just pick a side'!
But in my situation, I had already declared myself to be 'Masuzu's boyfriend'.
And since Chiwa insisted she 'wasn't giving up', this approach was useless.
I really needed to come up with a plan, though.
It was fine if I couldn't reconcile them. I just needed to get them to stop them from fighting temporarily.
I didn't want to see my girlfriend and childhood friend fight. The mayhem or whatever should just stay in the fictional world!
"Hold it, you two!"
I spoke from the depths of my lungs, and took a step forward.
"Don't leave me aside and act on your own! This isn't something that you two can solve by simply fighting between the two of you!"
But Masuzu and Chiwa continued to stare at each othere.
"You just stay quiet. Your blabbing will make the situation even worse."
"That's right, because this is a problem between me and Natsukawa."
Thus, they didn't even glance at me.
So it's like this ——Then I can't back down.
I vigorously stamped on the ground with a 'bang!' and said:
"Enough already! You two just look at me now!"
Maybe because I managed to express my anger, this time the two of them looked back at me.
"Don't just completely ignore me, while you two keep arguing without restrain! That's what I find most vexing in the whole world. You should have heard of it, didn't you, Chiwa?"
Chiwa momentarily gave a confused 'huh?', but she quickly sensed what I was trying to say.
"Sorry, I didn't consider Ei-kun's feelings."
The argument suddenly lost its momentum and Masuzu looked as if she had been taken off-guard.
"I haven't told this to Masuzu yet, right? About my parents."
"Yeah… All I know is that your parents aren't present."
"To say it straight, there aren't any. After their break up, each of them found themselves a new parter and parted towards a new life, leaving their third-grade kid casted aside."
I've only told this to Chiwa and Kaoru before. Masuzu was the third person.
Even though I never wanted to bring this issue about my parents to light, this wasn't the time to worry about that.
"At that time, they had made me suffer a lot. My parents had kept blaming each other for adultery and fought with each other, it had been carnage. Their child, me—had been completely ignored as they rained curses at each other. 'Get out of the house!', 'You get out!', things like that… How should I put it? It had just been unbearable. I guess that was what people call a scene from Hell."
Masuzu awkwardly lowered her head.
"Of course, I'm not accusing you two of being like that, because it's partially my fault that it has become to this. I have no right to blame you guys. But——— what's the point of arguing like this? Is this what you call an outstanding maiden? Will it make you popucute? Cursing, blaming, and criticizing each other— These kinds of people don't posses any appeal at all!"
Chiwa and Masuzu sank completely into silence.
Even though I was flaunting my own misfortunes and guilty conscience, it seemed like I successfully persuaded them to stop.
To be honest, I really had been terrified a few moments ago. I actually thought I'd be sandwich-stabbed to death, if I hadn't been careful.
"I'm sorry, I didn't consider your feelings."
Masuzu lowered her head and softly apologized to me.
"Don't fret about it, especially since you didn't know about this before."
"...But, I'm really happy."
Masuzu raised her head and exposed a rather embarrassed smile:
"Because, now I know more about you."
Masuzu fell onto me and wrapped herself around my left arm.
"Why are you taking advantage of the confusion?!"
Of course Chiwa wasn't going to accept this quietly, so she grabbed my right arm.
"What's with you two?! Did you understand what I just said?"
"Yes, I surely won't neglect you anymore. I'll always keep you by my side, so——— Let's go to my room, okay?"
"I'm not going to neglect Ei-kun, either! We're totally going to continue living on good terms with each other!"
What's with these girls? I don't get them at all!
While I hopelessly stood there, they strongly pulled my arms simultaneously.
I-It hurts! It hurts!
"Let go of that hand, That's-Too-Bad-Chihuahua!"
"You let go of that hand, you stupid girlfriend whose only redeeming feature is that pretty face!"
"No, both of you should let go!"
As if it was just a dream, my voice didn't reach the ears of those two girls that had completely forgotten about me.
"——What are you guys doing?"
I turned my head in the direction of the voice and found Akishino Himeka at the door with her head tilted incomprehensibly.
The presence of the great hero that was my 'ex-girlfriend' couldn't have come at a more reliable time!
"Hime, you came at the perfect time! Please rescue me!"
Hime wore a serious and taut expression, and trotted over.
Does she intend to use her body to just knock Chiwa and Masuzu away? —That's what I thought, but to my surprise, she lightly jumped up and held onto my torso.
"Only with these two is too crafty. Give me some hugs as well."
"THAT'S NO SAVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!"
Normally, if someone hugged me from the front, my posture would unsteadily fall over. However, since Hime was so light and I being pulled on the left and right, by some miracle I remained on my feet. But I didn't want to remain stable like this!
At this moment, I heard the sound of someone's steps in the hallway.
"Hey, hey! Ta-kun! I just thought of something. Do you want to get married at the shrine? Ai-chan wants to have an epic victory in front of the shrine♪"
The person who barged in with her arms spinning in circles was Fuyuumi Ai. Like usual, she wasn't paying attention to the atmosphere. No, it's not enough to say that she couldn't read it... She was a person who had the atmosphere kinda as if she lived in another world.
When she noticed the devastation in the living room, she tilted her head blankly.
"That's strange… What are you guys doing?"
"Nothing! Nothing at all, A-chan! Why don't you do a U-turn and go outside for a run?!"
How did I manage to make the situation this complicated?!
However, Fuyuumi was apparently prompted by her instincts as a disciplinary committee member, and she extended her finger in that familiar, strict pose.
"Chiwa, and you there, Natsukawa-san too! Stop it already, do you fail to notice that he's bothered?!"
Yeeeeeees! It's been such a while since A-chan said such a sensible thing!
"Even Hime-chan, what are you doing?! If you're always like this, you'll never cultivate your womanly ability."
Hime lifted her head from my chest and waved at her own love master.
"Eita's back is free."
Fuyuumi suddenly opened her eyes wide and stared.
"Really, why is this club filled with girls that have no shame? The only decent one is me."
"Even though you say that, why are you positioning yourself at my back?!"
Also, this girl is way too fast! Those agile steps!
A soft weight leaned against my back, and a pair of slim, lily-white arms extended from her short sleeves and wrapped around my neck.
"Wahh♪ So broad! This is the best! So warm ~ warrm!"
"This amazing back will be mine in a couple years… Fufufu♪"
It doesn't matter who, anyone, please save meeeeee!
In the very end—
After the pulling competition between the four girls who surrounded me ended with no clear result, Hime and then Masuzu collapsed after exhausting all of their energy. Chiwa and Fuyuumi, who were left in the end, were evenly matched. However, I was completely drained and collapsed into the pile beside the first two.
By the time we were finally able to move, it was ten minutes before the train was supposed to leave. The five of us collected our luggage in a hurry, and charged to the train station.
During the return trip on the train that we barely managed to catch, Masuzu and Chiwa barely spoke a word.
Their gazes never left the window, and they silently kept their mouths closed, emitting an aura that made it difficult for anyone to talk to them.
"President and Chihuahua have a weird status effect. Paralysis? Or perhaps stone curse?"
"Hey, did something happen between the two of you? Did you get in a fight?"
Even if Hime and Fuyuumi asked, I didn't have the energy to explain. I guess all I could do was to vaguely cover up the truth.
These two girls that were arguing franticly not too long ago were now silent. It absolutely shocked me.
Because these two went through all that earlier, they were still maintaining a subtle equilibrium in their relationship. Perhaps this summer was going to be a turning point for them.
"...I can't say that this isn't my problem."
I whispered quietly to avoid anyone else hearing it.
It wasn't just Chiwa or Masuzu. I also had no choice but to change.
Would I accept my childhood friend who took the step forward? Or would I continue my fake relationship with my 'girlfriend'?
As expected, it was hard to choose.
Translator notes and references
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