OreShura: Volume 5 Chapter 6
#6: The End
It was September 1st.
'The end of summer vacation was the end of the world.' I used to think this way in middle school, but right now I was thinking like this for a different reason; of course, it was because club activities were starting again. As soon as I thought about how I might get caught up in a whirlpool of mayhem again, I wanted to curl up in bed with an out-of-season summer cold.
It was the school opening ceremony.
In order to listen to a pointless speech from our principle, we had been assembled in the gymnasium. Kaoru tapped on my shoulder from behind me,
"Eita, you look exhausted. What's up?"
My best friend had a bright smile today as well. His eyes were sparkling, his skin was glossy, and even his eyelashes were long like a girl's. What did he eat and what time did he go to bed to look like that? If I published it, I'd make a fortune.
"...vacation's over, so of course I'm melancholic."
"Really? At the contrary, I'm pretty happy because I'll see all of our classmates again, right?"
Kaoru was the secretary of the student council and had a wide circle of friends. Earlier, he had been surrounded by a lot of friends in the classroom.
"Hmph! Die you riajuu, you're my enemy!"
Kaoru patted me on the shoulder, and started to fidget as if trying to tease me.
"You're calling me a riajuu? How silly. Eita's more of one, right?"
"Huh? On what basis?"
"That's because, look—"
Kaoru aimed his eyes at a line of people to my right.
I followed his gaze and by chance, my eyes met with Hime's who was lined up amongst the girls from Class B.
Hime's mouth went wide with a soft exclamation of surprise, but she quickly lowered her head and hid her face. Even from a distance meters away, I could tell that even her ears and neck were completely red.
"Akishino-san's been looking at you this whole time. Did you not notice?"
I hadn't noticed.
But she wasn't actually staring at me, was she? —it was more like she was muttering some kind of curse?
"It's not just Akishino-san. Look over there."
I looked where Kaoru pointed and saw that Fuyuumi had pinned on her disciplinary committee member armband and was currently inspecting the lines. While she checked the uniforms and hairstyles of the students, she occasionally stole glances at me.
When our eyes met, she winked, and I somehow felt like I even heard a ｢pa~cha｣ sound effect—
"Hahaha, that's definitely Ai-chan's style of flirting."
Even if Kaoru laughed, I couldn't get myself to laugh at all.
That was because the other disciplinary committee members were also staring at me.
—If you dump our companion, we won't forgive you!
I felt like the stabbing glares that pricked my back were filled with those kinds of threats. The people who had this one sentiment towards me were most powerful legion at Hane High, the disciplinary committee, which could potentially become my enemy...
"But, the first one was 『that person』, though."
Even though he didn't specify the name, I could guess who it was based on how Kaoru said it.
I looked towards the line of girls from Class E, and sure enough Chiwa was watching me from the very front.
She smiled as she made a tiny wave. I couldn't help but wave back, but then she—
—She mimed with her lips.
I hastily averted my eyes, but—
"You're blushing? Eita."
Kaoru pointed this out with a smile, but my cheeks continued to get hotter and hotter.
Damn! I'm supposed to be anti-love!
"W-What's with that girl?! She has no sense in this kind of place!"
"What's wrong with that? She's just expressing that she loves you in that way, Eita?"
"I have a girlfriend! What am I supposed to do!?"
I shot back, but I suddenly realized something very strange.
Initially, the reason why Masuzu and I made the ｢fake couple contract｣ was to protect Masuzu from getting confessions from boys.
But now, wasn't I using the ｢I have a girlfriend｣ excuse to hold back Chiwa, Hime, and Fuyuumi's crisscrossing attacks?
Ever since then, I've never seen anyone confess to Masuzu, so the ｢fake couple｣ excuse was undoubtedly very effective. But what happened to me? Even though I had a girlfriend, there were these girls who didn't want to give up. How was I supposed to deal with them? Was becoming gay my only choice?
"E-Eita, over t-there."
Kaoru called out to me with a trembling voice, and I turned around to look. My line of sight merged with Masuzu's gaze, who was lined up diagonally behind me to the right.
Although she had a friendly smile… her clenched hands were trembling, unable to hide the throbbing that clearly rippled over her body.
Just like Chiwa from earlier, she moved her lips without making a sound,
—She declared those precious words.
Since my girlfriend was less calm than either my childhood friend or ex-girlfriend, this was honestly pretty incredible. We won't consider the fiancée for now.
Kaoru spoke with fearful words.
"It seems like Natsukawa-san's power has increased since last semester.
"Yeah, but mostly her jealousy."
"Are there club activities after school today?"
Last night, Masuzu sent a text message saying, ｢Tomorrow, you must come to discuss the plans for next semester!｣.
If everyone gathered under this kind of atmosphere, surely a huge clash would come out of it?
Perhaps someone would even pull out a kitchen knife? Perhaps even a Rambo Knife?
If that happened, it'd be too late to save myself.
"Hey, Kaoru, do you have a copy of 『Jump』in the classroom?" 
"I forgot to take home the ones I left in my locker, so there should be two copies."
"Thanks so much! Can you lend those two to me later?"
The thicker it was, the better. It'd improve my survival rate.
Even if it turned into mayhem with knives and swords—I still had to be a man!
I was worried for nothing.
"The new semester has finally arrived—let the Society for Bringing Out Your Maiden Self recommence!"
Masuzu declared this in our club room after school. The other three responded with enthusiastic applause.
Chiwa looked at everyone's faces,
"It looks like all of our members are present! That's great!"
"I also feel happiest when we're all together. It's peaceful."
"Hehehe, I've slowly started to like this club too!"
Hime and Fuyuumi had wide smiles across their faces. Their mood was so good, it absolutely horrified me.
"What's with you guys? Is there some sort of occasion?"
"Oh dear, is Eita-kun not happy? We've all reunited."
"Well not exactly that."
I also vigorously welcomed such peaceful club activities, but I couldn't help but suspect something was going on.
"Oh yeah Ei-kun, why is your stomach so big?"
"Huh?! No it's not, this is…"
I had placed two copies of JUMP under my shirt, so I looked a bit like a pregnant woman.
"Eita, virgin pregnancy?"
"How shameless, how many months pregnant are you? Who's the father?"
Hime and Fuyuumi made some irresponsible remarks. Of course I wasn't a virgin girl and I certainly wasn't about to give birth.
"Of course not—I put the books I borrowed from Kaoru here because it'd be too heavy to put it in my backpack, hahaha."
Under the unfathomable expressions of the four girls, I took the magazines from below my shirt and placed them on the table.
"Well, if Eita-kun likes it, there's nothing to say about it. Today we'll be starting club activities."
Masuzu wrote large letters on the whiteboard.
Take first place at Hane High's anniversary—!
"Take first place….?"
This wasn't an exam or a sports competition, so I didn't quite understand.
"Does Ei-kun not get it? At the anniversary of our school's founding, there'll be a ranking of the performances that each club puts on."
"Who judges it?"
"People from outside the school will vote. After all the acts finish, they'll count the ballots. They say everyone gets really excited during that time."
I see. It looked like our school really liked lively festivals like those.
"But, can we put on a show? There's only five of us."
"That's why we're starting to think now. Let's think together."
Masuzu looked at all the club members and smiled sweetly.
"Even if our club doesn't have many members, it won't be a problem. If we work together as a team, we won't lose to anyone. We'll join forces and become the winners."
"J-join forces and work together?"
I couldn't help but repeat those words as a question.
Where did this mayhem-filled club look to find vocabulary like teamwork and joining forces? Even jokes had limits.
"Yeah! For these kinds of activities, you got to have strong bonds to win!"
—Haa, that's weird?
"We're the bravest team that was chosen, and shining bonds are the key to victory!"
"As long as the five of us work together, we'll do really well, right?"
It wasn't just Chiwa. For some reason, even Hime and Fuyuumi seemed really excited.
What was going on with these girls?
Why were they saying stuff like teamwork and joining forces?
"You guys seem kind of different today."
Chiwa tilted her head,
"Different, how so?"
"Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I didn't think the relationship between you all was that good."
"That was something of the past."
As Masuzu said this, she took her 「乙」strap that hung from her cellphone.
Almost like they were ganging up on me, Chiwa and the rest of them also took out their cellphone straps and displayed them.
"Did Ei-kun put his on?"
Since I was asked like that, I also took out the 「乙」strap that hung off my cellphone.
"After the 『Society for Bringing Out Your Maiden Self』had that club trip, we've forged some steady bonds."
"We're going to gather all of our strengths. The goal is to be cute and popular!"
"In order to become an outstanding maiden, we have to risk our lives in battle!"
"Hehe, if I become our coach, there won't be a problem at all!"
The four of them looked at each other with smiles on their faces, and then they turned their eyes on me.
"Eita-kun, please lead our team cheer."
"Something like ｢Fight!｣ or ｢Let's get started—｣."
Since Masuzu asked, I didn't have a choice.
"L-Let's fight, yeah—"
The four maidens raised their fists into the air.
I felt like the circumstances have kind of derailed, but if they were on friendly terms, at least it was a good thing.
...it's a good thing, right?
And just like that, we started discussions, and Masuzu chased after me when I went to the bathroom.
"Waaa! W-What are you doing?!"
Not caring for the consequences, Masuzu hugged me from behind and pushed me into an empty classroom.
"You were talking to others girls again, weren't you?"
"How would you know!?"
"You even said one thousand thirty-eight words."
What was wrong with the girl? She was saying more and more extreme things.
"Are you saying I can't talk to Chiwa and the rest of them? That's too absurd. There's no way a ｢girlfriend｣ can have that kind of authority."
When I said that, Masuzu looked surprised and seemed to sober up.
"...I-I don't mean to force you to do things to that extreme. It's just that my chest hurts when you talk to other girls…"
I gave a big sigh.
"Why are you troubling yourself to that extent? You know that I'm a fake boyfriend."
"I don't understand myself anymore."
Masuzu looked away from me and her shoulders drooped very pitifully.
"Recently, I've been less and less able to understand myself. I know love is pointless, but whenever I'm around you I feel like I need to do lovestruck activities. When I'm alone, my head clears and I hate myself… but as soon as I see your face, it just starts all over again.
Her illness really was rather grave.
Masuzu did sincerely like me—that was the simple explanation; but the terrifying thing was, that wasn't the case.
More accurately, as Masuzu said herself, it was more like ｢she had confused herself while trying to act like a lover｣.
"Don't over think it. If you take an act too seriously, you'll only get thrown into chaos, right? It's like getting tricked by the person you're trying to trick."
I suddenly thought of something.
"Hey, why don't you say ｢Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend｣ ten times?"
"…If I do that, can I hug you once?"
"S-Sure! It's just a small thing."
Masuzu finally gave a small smile.
"Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my fake boyfriend. Kidou Eita is my—"
Just when she was about to finish saying it ten times, a noise came from the hallway outside.
That was the sound of something colliding with the wall, making the windows vibrate.
Someone was outside!
I quickly opened the door and strode out into the hallway, but the person I found was—
"Fake boyfriend. What does that mean?"
Hime had covered her mouth with her hands, and her eyes were wide open with her body propped against the wall to support herself.
It seems like she hadn't realized she had already bumped into the wall, and she continued trying to back up despite making no progress. Every time she took a step, she slid further down the wall… until finally she was sitting with her butt on the floor.
"H-Hime! This, well—"
"Fake boyfriend. What does that mean?"
I had nothing to say, and I stood there blankly.
"What is it, Eita…!?"
Masuzu followed me out of the classroom, but she startled when she saw Hime and froze in her steps.
Normally, she'd burst out with all sorts of excuses, but today her lips were glued shut like a sealed letter, completely frozen.
I always knew this day would eventually come, but I never expected it would be today.
—The truth about our act (as fakes), had finally been revealed.
Translator notes and references
- A type of survival knife popularized in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambo_(film_series)
- He's referring the Shounen jump… and advice that he received earlier in the series.
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