OreShura: Volume 6 Chapter 10
#10: Girlfriend VS. Ex-Girlfriend Mayhem
My ex-girlfriend decided to fight with my current (Girlfriend)—!
Sunday had passed and now it was Monday, after school.
Hime called Masuzu and I out, so we came to to a nearby children's playground.
"A children's playground that doesn't have children is simply just a contradiction."
As Masuzu said, there wasn't a single child playing here. There was only a white bench that looked like it had just been freshly painted, along with a swing that didn't even have a speck of rust. It seems like it had just been constructed, so perhaps that was why no one came to play.
"This reminds me of something when I was little."
Masuzu spoke as she lifted her head to gaze at the setting sun in the west.
"It was probably because I hurt them all, but not a single child was willing to play with me. Since I had to wait for my mother to come back, I always sat in an empty sandbox without even moving.
Hime was sitting by herself on the bench below the street lamp.
Although she saw our figures, she didn't wave or call out to us. She only stared at us.
—And she was the one who said she wanted to fight with Masuzu.
What did you actually intend to do, Hime?
When Masuzu and I drew close, Hime stood up.
She looked neither thoughtful nor particularly enthusiastic. She actually looked rather natural. I originally thought that Hime was the type who'd be trembling nervously, but I never expected to see her looking so relaxed and well.
In contrast, Masuzu's shoulders were very stiff.
"Why did you call me this place, Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn? If it's about fighting the Wyvernians, I don't think this is a place for such an ordinary person like me to show up."
Masuzu strangely put up this unfriendly act like the bad buy. She was seemingly on high alert.
"Today isn't about that matter."
Hime shook her head.
"It's something about before I became the Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn—I want to tell you some things about my life during middle school."
Masuzu and I simultaneously went, ｢Huh?｣.
"So you called us here to talk about things from your past?"
Hime nodded her head.
"It's because I absolutely didn't want Chiwawa or Master to hear this. I only plan to tell you two. That's why, I hope you'll agree that you won't tell anyone about what you hear today. Please keep this a secret."
Masuzu was silent, and her eyes seemed to pierce at Hime, searching for a motive, however—
"I understand. I won't say anything."
"It's the same with me, Hime. I definitely won't tell this to anyone."
Hime lowered her head.
"This was something that happened during my first year of middle school. At that time, I wanted to become your ordinary cute girl. I wanted to be the kind of person who was liked by everyone and popular."
So all along, the Hime who currently absolutely hates the ｢ordinary｣ actually had a phase like that.
"However, I couldn't talk to others smoothly and my personality was gloomy and shy. That's why I tried to come up with many plans. That's right—I thought of countless ｢ways to make a person popular｣."
So basically it was just like ｢Jien-Otsu's｣ purpose right now.
However, the first time we explained what the club activities were to Hime, she initially have a very negative attitude and called it a ｢vulgar concept｣.
So all along, this was because she ｢already tried it all of it｣?
"First, I thought I just needed to smile more. Since my personality was gloomy, I figured I just needed to be keep smiling all the time. If I could become that girl who always has a bright smile, then I'd be able to make tons of friends. I practiced it a lot in the mirror and made shapes that I liked, and I also tried angles that I thought others would find particularly cheerful. I practiced this everyday."
"Isn't this a good thing?"
There's a common saying that, ｢The more you smile, the happier you'll get｣.
As long as you keep smiling, something good is bound to happen.
"—However, in the end I became known as ｢the creepy quiet girl who was always smirking by herself｣."
"The nickname that they gave me was ｢￥0 Smile, might as well return my cash｣.
"......What's this about money…...?"
"In short, Smiling Cash."
Hime gradually shifted her suspended gaze towards the setting sun in the sky. It looked like her happiness never arrived.
Unconsciously, Masuzu and I also started looking towards the distance.
Could this be a meeting where she intended to confess her dark history?
"Next next character I tried out was ｢the gentle girl who loves flowers｣. Every morning, I'd be the first one to school and I'd decorate the classroom with flowers. I would bring flowers every single day."
"Isn't that a good thing?"
Just like Masuzu said, I felt it was really nice if the classroom had flowers. It was really good taste.
"But a week past, and no one noticed the existence of the flowers. According to my plan, I thought there would be a girl or a teacher who'd mention, ｢Wow, such beautiful flowers. Who brought them?｣ Or something like that… but I got angry. In the middle of class, I raised my hand and spoke up: ｢Everyone, listen here! I can hear the sound of flowers!｣—"
"......Why did you say something like that?"
"I thought it would work back then."
Hime's eyes drifted far away again.
"However, reality is so merciless. Even to this day, I can't forget the disdainful looks my classmates gave me… furthermore, those flowers eventually wilted, rotted, and attracted a huge amount of bugs that swarmed the classroom like hell. Ever since they, I was also given the nickname, ｢Bug Master｣.
The more I listened, the more painful it got……
Even Masuzu, who so casually read aloud my black history, had sweat all over her forehead. It was probably because she was shuddering from a different kind of black history than mine.
"Since I was the nurse's assistant back then, I started acting the role of the ｢Pure White Angel Overflowing with Love｣. I put a first aid kit in my locker so that if someone in my class got hurt or said their stomach hurt, I could take care of them immediately. I always kept watch over the class."
"I think, this is a good thing……"
Masuzu's voice was very weak. What kind of sad story was going to come next?
"Not long after, my class started spreading rumors that ｢my locker smelled bad｣. When I carefully opened the first aid box to check, I realized that the lid of one of the medicine bottles was open."
"That's where the stench came from?"
"Then I was given the nickname, ｢Straight Syrup Pill｣.
"Enough! That's enough! You don't need to keep talkingggggggg!"
I covered my ears and fiercely shook my head.
It was such a miserable past.
It was just like my black history. Or perhaps, it was even worse than mine.
If this kind of content was written in my notebook and Masuzu read it aloud, I would probably roll around for at least ten minutes.
Even so, Hime held it in.
Even though her face was red and her eyes were teary, her voice was very calm.
"Afterwards, I tried other things two or three times, but they failed each time. By the time I reached my third year of middle school, I had given up on getting others to like me. The world became locked in this gray color, and I shut myself in my favorite fantasy worlds."
At this time, Hime unconsciously smiled.
"But Eita and President gave me hope. I gained someone I like and a place that I belong to. It became fun to go to school. I could even talk a little with my classmates. I was so happy; however, when I heard this ｢Fake Boyfriend｣ thing, I didn't understand anything anymore. When I realized this seemingly real, outstanding, and envious thing was actually fake… I felt… betrayed."
Masuzu had been holding Hime's gaze all this time, but at this point she suddenly lowered her eyes.
"But, I was weak. Rather than telling Chiwawa or Master and then coming up with a solution afterwards, I decided to keep the secret to myself. I'm so afraid that the ｢Maiden's Club｣ that I've worked so hard to be a part of will collapse. That's why I decided to go back to acting how I used to be—no, I'd be even more of a ｢Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn｣ than I used to be. I wanted to become the person President said I was. This way I could possess the same bonds as Eita and President. I wanted to become an accomplice."
"You said, accomplice?"
Masuzu's voice cracked.
Even I was shocked. I never expected there would be a third person who would use this line just like Masuzu and me.
"It doesn't matter if I've been betrayed or if I'm weak. I believe that if I become President's accomplice and liars together, everything will fade away. Even if I'm rejected by the world like I was in middle school, that's okay. As long as I can be companions with you two, then that was all I needed—that's what I decided."
Then, the pitch of her voice dropped.
Hime lowered her head for a moment, and then she looked towards the sky.
It was an intense scene reminiscent of the color palette of autumn—a crystal clear sunset.
"However, this new world is very gentle. It's so gentle that it shocked me."
Hime exposed a rueful smile as she spoke.
"My current classmates, the disciplinary committee, Master, Chiwawa, Mana, and everyone are the same. They're totally different than my classmates in middle school. Everyone's so gentle. They're willing to accept me as the ｢Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn｣. This was my first time realizing that the world could be so gentle."
Watching Hime say these words, in my opinion, was dazzling.
Compared to a person who only put a seal on his dark histories—like me, she had walked an entirely different path.
"Because you changed, Hime, everyone else around you changed. That's why the world became gentle."
This reminded me of the first time she said ｢Good Mworning!｣ 
She became strong and was even able to stand up to her sister with great difficulty and say, ｢There's someone I like!｣.
Mana, who looked down on Hime's poem and tore it into two pieces, now even became Hime's friend and charged into the clubroom for her sake.
Hime’s time at the ｢Maiden's Club｣ wasn't worthless at all.
"That's why I can't become a cheater."
Hime was calm, but she very firmly put forward her final declaration.
"Is that all you wanted to say?"
Masuzu raised her head and stared straight at Hime.
"You gave this lofty speech of beautiful ideals, but in short you're plotting to wreck the contract between Eita and me? I won't fall for your trap. I don't need an accomplice. As long as I have Eita, it's enough."
Hime's smile was slowly overcast with a shadow. Her expression turned into an extremely sad face.
Masuzu's expression in contrast looked more and more sinister.
"Do you have the qualifications to criticize me? Hey, Ms. ｢Ex-Girlfriend｣, aren't you just a liar yourself? You're just acting like the character of Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn, aren't you? Isn't that fake!? You and I are both liars! We're the same! If we don't lie, we can't keep on living!"
Hime's protest was intense.
"I never lied to myself. I'm playing the role of my ideal self, my cutest self, and my coolest self. But President isn't like that! You're lying to yourself! That's because—"
At this point, Hime was at a loss for words.
"That's because what?"
Masuzu's voice was trembling.
Hime sucked a small breath and then spoke:
"Because President—You really do love Eita, don't you?"
A look of shock gradually spread across Masuzu's face.
If Masuzu was normal, she would have quickly responded with something along the lines of, ｢Heh, that's impossible｣, and laugh it off. Or, she'd have a wide smile across her face and say, ｢Yes, that's exactly right｣, while nodding her head. Her response should have been something like that. Just a few days ago I asked her this and she had simply said, ｢Nope｣. She really wasn't the kind of woman that would be fazed by this kind of question.
"N-No, I don't…..!"
Masuzu shook her head repeatedly as she retreated backwards step by step.
"I love Eita? Akishino-san, what the hell are you talking about? I'm just acting, that's all. I'm just acting like I'm a woman who's deeply, deeply, and overwhelmingly in love with Eita. It's true that I've been really extreme these days, but it was all just an act. It was fake. Look, didn't Saeko-san say something like this before?"
However, Hime shook her head.
"I don't think that's the case. Even though I don't want to admit this, you're extremely well matched with Eita, President."
Masuzu shout was almost like a shriek.
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! I wasn't falling in love! I won't fall in love with others. There's no way I'd do something so boring, ugly, and filthy! The only person in this entire world who I can say I love with all my heart is my mother."
"Masuzu, calm down."
I wanted to help support Masuzu's shoulders, but she pushed me away.
"Don't touch me. Were we really so intimate? You're just a fake boyfriend after all."
With those intense words, tears started to emerge from Masuzu's eyes.
She had this expression that looked like she was just about to break and crumble apart, like she was alone and very weak.
—She was at her limit.
I couldn't keep… pretending that I didn't see anything.
The time that I used ｢this is just an act｣ as a pretext to calm her down but divulged our secret to Hime was already past.
"I don't know what your real feelings are, fake or real, and I'm not even sure if I can tell the difference. However—there's no way I'll let you go no matter how you put it. This is real."
Masuzu gave this minuscule sound as she lifted her head to look at me.
"Even though it was an instant meal, you made me food before, right?"
"I just didn't want to lose to Harusaki Chiwa. That's all."
"When I got second place on the assessment test and I said I wanted to go home and study, you let me go."
"That's because your grades are your only positive point, so I thought it was very pitiable."
"When we changed our seats so that we ended up farther apart, didn't you lose your head over fear and become jealous?"
"You really don't stop nagging! That was all just an act! You were tricked!"
"…..If that was really so, why are you crying now?"
Masuzu lightly touched her own cheeks.
Her tears painted a stream of tear stains and it moistened her slender fingers.
"What is….. this? Huh?"
No matter how she wiped it, she still would have seen these sparkling drops of tears. Masuzu stared blankly.
"I just can’t ignore you! When I see you like this, I feel terrible! This has nothing to do with us being boyfriend and girlfriend or whatever! I'm just telling you this right now, Natsukawa Masuzu, as Kidou Eita!"
I reached out with my hand towards Masuzu.
If Masuzu grabbed my hand—then I decided I'd still by this girl's side.
If we were lovers in name, that was fine. If I was her fake boyfriend, that was fine. Neither of them mattered.
If Masuzu needs me, then I'll—
"—I refuse. I don't want it."
However, Masuzu didn't grab my hand.
"…..Is this how you really feel?"
"The ｢boyfriend｣ that I need is not Kidou Eita."
I sighed and then lowered my hand.
"If that's the case, then it's impossible."
"I can't keep continuing as your fake boyfriend. I can't be your accomplice."
"……Y-You want me to use force?"
Masuzu's voice was trembling right now.
"Did you forget, Eita? I still have my hands on your notebook. I just have to move my fingers and all of your embarrassing black histories will be released all over the Internet for the world to see—"
"Then release it."
"I said you can release it. It's enough."
Actually, when Hime found out, I should have done this a long, long time ago.
The reason why I never did —was because I was afraid. I was afraid that the relationships within ｢Jien-Otsu｣ would collapse.
"To tell you the truth, Hime, the notebook that Masuzu usually reads from is actually mine."
I've already made a firm resolution.
Hime courageously confessed all of her black histories.
What reason was there if I couldn't summon my own courage?
"You'll regret this, Eita."
Masuzu slowly started taking steps back as she angrily stared at me.
"If you want to apologize right now, I'll forgive you and only release ten pages."
"This isn't a trial period. Just release them all in one breath."
"If you find it embarrassing to admit it in front of Akishino-san, then tonight you can come to the usual coffee shop to apologize. Then, I'll forgive you and only release twenty pages."
"I said, it doesn't matter. Just release all of them."
"In that case, before I go to bed, if you just give me a phone call then I'll—"
"I said that it was enough!"
Masuzu's eyes were filled with tears and she shook her head nonstop.
"You'll regret this, Eita. No, I'll definitely make you regret this!"
The loud shouts made all the crows that were sitting on the telephone lines all disperse. After Masuzu threw down that final sentence, she ran away.
"I'm sorry. Surely enough, my way of doing things got us nowhere."
"That's not true."
I placed my hands on Hime's shoulder.
"Hime, you….. how should I put this? You're incredible. In barely two months, you've matured even more than I did in my three years of middle school. You've become strong."
Right now, to be honest, I didn't want my notebook to be revealed to the world. I was afraid for myself. It was so embarrassing.
Hime took her own past and used her own words to tell it.
She even had the bravery to say that the ｢world is so gentle｣.
She's definitely not like me. She was someone who could keep her chuunibyou yet become happy.
Hime lightly hugged me.
The fold of my arms could completely surround Hime's tiny body. Her presence warmed my chest.
"I think I'm really headstrong. I'm more headstrong than President."
Hime wrapped her arms around my back and tightly hugged me.
"Because, I hate things that are fake. Real is better. I want real things, because—that's what feels warm."
I tightly hugged Hime and spoke:
"Please forgive Masuzu. Earlier when I asked her, ｢Do you like me?｣, she was completely indifferent. However, when you asked her the same question, Hime, she was completely destabilized. I think this means that… she has no way of lying to you."
Hime raised her head to look at me.
"After this, what's going to happen with you and President?"
"I don't know. We'll see what that girl does."
I only knew one thing. If that notebook was ever revealed to the world, my high school life would be over.
In the soulless playground that bathed in the setting sun, the empty slide and swing set reflected dim rays of light.
Only the nearby sandbox, caught in the shadow of a house, didn't receive any light from the setting sun and was dark.
I tightly hugged Hime as I felt this strange liberating sensation simultaneously with this gloomy feeling of having lost something.
Was our fake relationship finished just like this?
Translator notes and references
- Apparently it's an option on the traditional menus of Japanese McDonalds. The point is supposed to be that the employee's smile is a free service. I'm not sure if I quite understand it though
- The member of the class who's assigned to helping escort sick people to the nurse's office
- Typo intentional. Hime mispronounced it that time.
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