OreShura: Volume 6 Full Text
- 1 Novel Illustrations
- 2 #0: Relationship as fake lovers exposed is mayhem
- 3 #1: The runaway Ex-Girlfriend leads to Mayhem
- 4 #2: Eighth-Grade Syndrome is Critically Ill, but it's still Mayhem
- 5 #3: It's Obviously a Cooking Contest and it's still Mayhem
- 6 #4: Eighth-Grade Syndrome VS. Eighth-Grade Syndrome Mayhem
- 7 #5: Eighth-Grade Syndrome VS. Disciplinary Committee President Mayhem
- 8 #6: Falling from First Place is still Mayhem
- 9 #7: Switching Seats to Girlfriend Leads to Mayhem
- 10 #8: Stirred Up Girlfriend's Sister Has Had Enough Mayhem
- 11 #9: Receiving Guests with Girls at an Old Hotel is still Mayhem
- 12 #10: Girlfriend VS. Ex-Girlfriend Mayhem
- 13 #11: Masuzu's True Self
- 14 #12: Witness. Mayhem. And then...
- 15 Afterword
- 16 Translator notes and references
These are the novel illustrations that were included in volume 6.
The more tricks we play, the more petty things will foil our plans.
—Eita, Regret of the Soul
#0: Relationship as fake lovers exposed is mayhem
A memory that I don’t want to recall.
It was a year before this one, during the spring of my third year of middle school.
“You have been deceiving me from the start, haven’t you?”
“There was that incident, and now there's this one. Everything is just a lie!”
The relationship between my parents who had a tensed bond since the year-end was worsening. Although there was an unspoken rule that they would control themselves when I was awake, it seemed like the arguments quickly picked up through the night.
In the beginning I was anxious, but I got numb of it after a while. I always shut myself in my room, listening to music over my headphones to drown out their voices.
However, during those lapses when one song stops, it was still possible to hear Dad’s excuses and Mom’s shouts. Their roles changed each day, and today it looked like it Mom was on the offense. She was screaming something about Dad’s dishonesty and cheating.
It really was disheartening. My heart was already numb.
Dad’s lies made Mom really angry, but to me, she wasn't very different. She said things like, “Mom and Dad will always be lovey-dovey! Ei-kun is the product of our love!”, and so on when I was small. When I look at it now, wasn’t that a lie too?
If it's going to get exposed immediately, then don’t bother lying.
If you're going to start lying, at least go through with it till the very end.
And if you ever get exposed, just earnestly say, “I'm sorry”.
From this ugly argument between the two, I should have learned this long ago.
I should’ve understood all this.
—Easier said than done.
At the start of the second semester of my first year of high school, I faced a serious situation.
After school, the corridor outside the auditorium had turned into mayhem.
“A fake boyfriend, what does it mean?”
Hime, still sitting on the floor, stared at us. Masuzu and I look back at her, unable to say anything.
This lie that had been kept up for quite a while, although not perfectly, managed to deceive Chiwa, Fuyuumi, and the rest of the student body into thinking that we are lovers. Unexpectedly, it was now exposed simply because Hime 'accidentally overheard' it.
“Hey, president, what does it mean?”
Hime asked with a quivering voice, and Masuzu stared at her.
“So you heard us, Akishino-san.”
“Why? Is what Eita-kun’s aunt said true?”
“Of course not, we really are true lovers.”
I look at Masuzu instinctively.
Looks like she simply planned to cover this up again.
“Then what was this ‘fake boyfriend’ thing you were talking about?”
“Hmm, first—let’s start from the time when I made contact with the hyperdimensional thought entity.” Masuzu said with a serious expression.
Hyperdimensional thought entity.
……which one is it…….
“This happened a few days after I started my relationship with Eita-kun. I felt the presence of a powerful ‘Dragon Aura’, and encountered an interface of the hyperdimensional thought entity who called himself ‘Pillar Man’. He came to warn me, ‘Kidou Eita is Burning Fighting Fighter, if you have a relationship with him, you will attract the enmity of the Wyverns and get into trouble’. But even then I could not give up on Eita-kun, and thus the man told me this, "If that’s the case, you only need to chant 'fake boyfriend' when Hermit Purple of the Wyverns uses illusionary power on you". And then—just a moment ago, we were under his illusionary power, you should understand this right?”
Ah, I remember.
I remembered this was Hime's setting in the current world, kind of like 'Gaia' theory.
Although I almost forgot about this setting, Masuzu still remembered it quite clearly. She even managed to slip in some JoJo references.
Looks like Masuzu planned to use Hime’s chuunibyou to her advantage and cover this incident up. It was a beautiful plan……no, a despicable plan. You could say she had gotten a hold of Hime’s weakness.
“Stop it with that nonsense!”
Hime’s shout took Masuzu aback, and she could only close her mouth.
Even I was shocked and almost shouted in surprise.
For Hime, it was a pretty rare occasion to see her shouting, and more importantly—————— This was also the first time.
Even though indirectly, this was the first time Hime had called her own imagination “nonsense”.
Masuzu’s taken aback expression disappeared after an instant, and she smiled.
A smile which looked like a challenge, but also like an empty threat.
“Nonsense? What do you mean? Isn’t this what Akishino-san always says? You are the Burning Prin Princess, and the girlfriend of Burning Fighting Fighter Kidou-kun during his past life, right? Isn’t this the ‘truth’ you said over and over, right?”
Hime stared at Masuzu fiercely.
Her eyes showed fear……and, a very obvious 'anger'.
Masuzu stared at her eyes calmly and said, “Then…… it's also true that I’m Eita-kun’s ‘girlfriend’. Let’s not talk about Harusaki-san and Fuyuumi-san, but you, the ‘ex-girlfriend’, should understand, right?”
It would appear that Masuzu was offering a deal to Hime.
—I always pretended not to see through your lies.
—So, will you pretend not to see through mine as well?
This was not unreasonable. After all, at least Masuzu never looked down on Hime’s chuunibyou behavior by questioning “Isn’t this just your imagination?”
But, was it really okay to compare Hime’s chuunibyou and our fake relationship like they were the same thing?
I didn't think so, and Hime probably felt similarly.
“……I never thought President was like this……”
Hime muttered while looking at Masuzu with red eyes.
“No, I’ve always been, from head to toe, this kind of woman.”
Masuzu took her phone out of her pocket.
She showed Hime her “乙” phonestrap to Hime, who was still sitting on the floor.
“It's as you said, Akishino-san. We are all partners. We are all comrades who like Eita-kun. We're all friends. Isn't that right?”
I pondered about Masuzu’s words.
All the girls who liked me were good friends? What was that?
Had Hime said this kind of thing before? Was it when I wasn't there?
Hime stared at the “乙” phonestrap, biting her lips in silence. It seemed like there was a storm inside her heart. Finally, her facial expression disappeared.
The heat went down—this perhaps is the way to describe it. Even though she went back to her usual expressionless face, her eyes were still red.
“……mission acknowledged, returning to everyday mode.”
“Heh?” I exclaimed.
“That's exactly it, Himeka Sei Heavensrain.”
Masuzu was helping Hime with her words…... though her expression looked to me as if she was enduring pain.
……what is this.
What were they doing? This tense atmosphere.
I think them raging was better than this. Hime questioning, Masuzu retorting, and other students and teachers running and turning this into a battlefield would have been better.
But, the reality was:
“Here, grab this.”
Masuzu extended her hand towards Hime who wanted to stand up.
“Thank you, President.”
Hime said unnaturally.
“Let’s go back to the club room. Harusaki-san and Fuyuumi-san must be worried.”
“Please hold on for a while, I’ve something to do.”
Hime walked in the opposite direction from the club room. There was a toilet over there, so she had probably intended to use the toilet when she walked out of the club room and unintentionally overheard us.
After Masuzu confirmed that Hime disappeared at the corner———— She suddenly threw herself onto me in a hug.
“NUWAAAAN WHAT SHOULD WE DOOOOOOOOOOO!”
She rested her head on my chest with teary eyes. This was her "completely devastated" mode. Furthermore, the school’s most beautiful girl should not say something like “Nuwaaaaan”.
“What should we do, what should we do Eita? AAAAAAHHH”
“Hey, calm down.”
“It’s outttttn! It's finally outtttttn! Aaaa, Akishino-san, who will she tell? Maybe she'll talk it over with her master Fuyuumi-san? Her relationship with Mana has recently been quite good right? Will she tell Harusaki-san too? Nooo, no, no, no, no, no, if Harusaki Chiwa learns this, then everything will be over!”
“Ca • lm • do • wn!”
I gripped Masuzu’s shoulder and glared at her face like we were butting foreheads.
“You saw how Hime acted right? It doesn't look like she'll tell anybody soon, right? Hime's not someone who would just give other people’s secrets away".
Masuzu tilted her head slightly while sulking a little. I couldn't let myself be fooled by this cute move.
“Speaking of which, what's with your way of covering this up? Wasn’t it a bit too much?”
“Hmph! And what's with that?
Masuzu covered her face slightly with her left hand, raised her right shoulder, and spoke with a determined pose.
“I—am someone who would do anything to be your girlfriend!”
Although I accidentally exposed a pleased look and felt a little embarrassed about it, I wasn't happy at all……
“I do understand myself. That I am a detestable woman.”
Masuzu’s voice suddenly dropped, and she wiped her tears with her fingertips.
“Using Akishino-san’s imagination to cover my lies honestly is the worst. I know that myself too. But I don’t want it to be like this! I don’t want to ruin my 'relationship'Fake with you because of something like this!”
“I told you to calm down……”
You get flustered so easily because of the guilt you feel towards Hime. Pretending to be cold, making such lies without hesitation, and hurting yourself in the process, it makes people speechless.
“Anyways, you should return to the clubroom first.”
I patted Masuzu on the back and tried my best to speak with a calm tone.
“We can't stay here anymore. Who knows when the cultural society members will show up. If we're seen like this, then it really will be over for us.”
Masuzu looked like she was a child who received orders to stay at home and guard it.
“How about you, Eita-kun? Where will you go?”
“Going with Akishino-san? How shameless!”
“It’s the men’s toilet!”
I had originally wanted to go to the toilet, but Masuzu had chased after me, so this is not a lie.
Masuzu left the corridor while glancing back a lot. After she disappeared from sight, I went to the men’s toilet. After I quickly finished my business, I immediately returned to the clubroom—
—someone had not yet returned.
I waited outside the ladies’ toilet while looking out for other students nervously, but I had no choice but to wait.
Fortunately, I only waited a few minutes for her. That’s great, looks like I didn’t miss her, and I quickly scanned to see for other students.
A red-eyed Hime stood there dumbfounded.
“Hime, for having lied to you for so long, I’m really sorry!”
On behalf of me and my 'girlfriend' who couldn’t be honest, I bowed deeply in apology.
Hime rubbed her eyes nervously.
“Why is Eita apologizing?”
“Masuzu was troubled by the constant confessions from so many guys, so she wanted to find a fake boyfriend to stop this situation. Since I’m the accomplice, I’m also to blame.”
“I don’t understand what’s Eita trying to say.”
Hime blinked a few times, then she spoke with her usual calmed look.
“Natsukawa-kaichou is Eita’s girlfriend in this world; and I’m— Eita’s girlfriend in his previous lifeEx girlfriend. Contacting Eita who has not fully recovered his past memories, completely awakening him, and battling the Wyverns is my mission.”
“Hey, Hime, listen to me, just now what Masuzu said is—“
“It's not like that!”
She was so loud it startled me.
She lowered her head, her fringe covering her expression, and her small shoulders were shivering.
“I’m Burning Prin Princess, Himeka Sei Heavensrain. Created through the Hyperdimensional Thought Entity, the Battle Earthnoid Bio Matrix Earthnoid Device.”
“You said Earthnoid twice.”
“Tai Earsunoid! Baio! Maturikusu! Devaisu!”
This was bad, she's getting angry. Also, the “Villager A” setting was gone.
Just like I feared ruining my fake relationship with Masuzu, it looked like Hime was also afraid of something.
Afraid that the atmosphere of the “Jien-otsu” would be ruined? Or afraid that her chuunibyou imagination would be ruined? Or both?
I nodded while patting her head.
“I’m sorry, Hime.”
“You have no reason to apologize.”
Hime said softly, still avoiding eye contact with me.
Although just a bit, she looked at ease when she closed her eyes. This was salvation for me.
Although I went back to the clubroom with Hime, there weren’t any more club activities today.
Originally we had wanted to discuss the performance for the school festival, but president Masuzu wasn’t paying attention, ergo the discussion about it couldn’t be held. In the middle, Fuyuumi left for her hall monitor activities and Chiwa’s friend phoned her, so we ended without deciding on anything.
“There are still two months till the school festival, so we don’t need to rush. Let’s do it slowly.”
Masuzu said this after the school bell rang—but could we attend the school festival in this condition?
On the surface, Jien-otsu was the same as it was during the first semester and the summer holidays, but the amount of landmines had increased. Hime discovering our lie was the largest one, and when that explodes, it'll start a chain reaction with the remaining hidden mines. That will completely burn down my high school life.
I had no choice but to be more wary than usual and continue my relationship with Masuzu carefully. As I hated love from the bottom of my heart, I had to continue to fake my relationship with this similarly anti-love woman.
But—I also found myself thinking, "would Hime expose this to everybody and trigger all the landmines altogether?" Since I didn’t have the courage to expose myself, if I could get Hime to do this, it would be a load off my chest.
This way, I wouldn't need to lie to anyone anymore.
To Kaoru, Fuyuumi, or Saeko-san.
And also—to Chiwa.
“What's wrong, Ei-kun? Is something on my face?
Chiwa, who was locking the windows, tilted her head and smiled.
“……oh, the chips you just ate stuck to your face.”
As I watched Chiwa wipe her mouth embarrassingly, I realized I was thinking about something despicable.
I found myself tired of lying.
Regardless of everything, the second semester started.
All of tomorrow’s classes before noon were changed into assessment tests. This was different from the usual semester exams, because they didn't specify from which “page xxx of your textbook to page xxx” the questions would be based on. Furthermore, the questions would be designed to make us think hard, in order to test our real potential.
After eating a bento from the convenience store for dinner, I had intended to start studying in my room—but I couldn't concentrate no matter what. My eyes kept slipping away from the summer cram school notes that I was reviewing.
“How will it turn out with Hime….?”
I leaned back on my chair as I massaged my temples with my eyes closed.
The events that happened today were still imprinted in my mind——Hime’s defeated face.
The time Saeko-san saw through our “fakeness”, Hime didn't even doubt us like Chiwa or Fuyuumi did. She was an innocent girl who rarely doubted people.
All along, I had been deceiving this innocent Hime.
Although it was weird to feel it at this stage of the game, I still felt guilty.
From now on, would Hime still look at our fake relationship as if nothing happened? Or would she tell somebody because she couldn't hold it in anymore for some reason?
“……maybe taking responsibility before it comes to that, would be the best choice……”
As I was muttering, I received a text message.
It was from Masuzu.
“Kuzuzu? That's surprisingly hard to read.”
Just like a team full of useless people, Natsukawa Kuzuzu……just the thought of getting attacked by nine poison-tongued Masuzu's was depressing.
I decided to just reply to her, “I’m also depressed.”
After a few minutes, I received another message.
“……Her true desires are showing at the end of her sentences……”
What’s with this woman, doesn’t she need to worry about grades before exams?
Although I didn’t know when she studied, her results were surprisingly good. I remembered at the first semester’s exam, her results were in the top thirty. Maybe her brain—is what people call “a natural”.
Sadly, I’m not such a person. If I were, my results would've been good since early childhood. Although I felt that this was unfair, complaining wouldn't improve my results.
It won't do before exams——once I replied, Masuzu sent another grumbling mo-nyo-mo-nyo text. But today, I couldn't back down. After replying “I’ll accompany you next time”, she let me off for once.
“Uaah, it’s already this late.”
Although it's already eleven at night, there was no progress in my studies. Usually this would have been my bed time, but it looked like I needed to stay up late tonight.
“Okay, let’s work harder.”
I loudly recited my “three laws” that I had pasted on the wall.
- Studying comes first!
- No romance! Love is very dangerous!
- But, don't let others believe I'm gay.
After I finished reciting, I thought of something:
The only one I managed to uphold was the third one……
Originally I had planned to follow through with the first one, but with all the activities in Jien-otsu, I couldn't stick to it perfectly.
As for the second… it was already utterly broken. 'Have nothing to do with love'? Seriously, it was more like love was chasing all out after me.
Perhaps being misunderstood as gay would have been better.
Maybe Chiwa and the rest would have given up if they thought that my preference was for males.
“Perhaps I should ask Kaoru about this.”
If he knew I had such a troubled story, maybe he would become my “boyfriend.” An eye for an eye, a fake boyfriend for a fake boyfriend.
…….no, that won't do.
Putting myself aside, Kaoru would have to face being talked about behind his back. No matter how popular and nice Kaoru was, if news of him being homosexual got out, he might not be able to continue with his high school life.
As I thought about such random things, the night crept deeper.
The only thing I could do now was study.
Holding my pencil tightly and excluding all my other thoughts, I started doing English test questions.
“Ei-kun. I said, Ei-kun!”
I, who had fallen asleep on the table, was woken up by Chiwa in her uniform.
I couldn't remember what time I slept. There was a pile of drool on my notebook, and all the vocabulary and grammar I learned over the summer looked like drowned worms.
“You can’t do this. You have to sleep on the bed or else you'll catch a cold?”
“Right now it still feels like summer, so nothing can go wrong.”
I wiped my drool off with my arm. The sunlight that shined through the window was strong, and looked like it would be another hot day.
“I brought my mom’s sandwich, do you want some?”
“Oh, thank you—“
“I’ll wait for you, come down quickly.”
After changing into my uniform, a pleasant smell came from the living room. Scrumptious-looking warm milk and handmade sandwich by Chiwa's mom were on the table. Since I was little, I had always liked Chiwa's mom’s egg sandwich. The sourness and crunchiness of the onions was irresistible.
As I was eating breakfast with Chiwa, I asked her what I had on my mind the entire day yesterday,
“Did you guys meet up when I wasn't there?”
Chiwa's hand, which was approaching towards the sandwiches, stopped immediately.
“Wh-Why do you bring that up now? And who does 'you guys' refer to?”
“Isn't that obvious? The maiden's club from Jien-otsu.”
“Oh yeah——It's not like I can say 'no' to that...... maybe?”
Chiwa shifted her eyes embarrassingly.
“Just what did you guys talk about?”
“Nothing much——you know, the usual girl talk——fashion accessories, gossip about relationships going on in school——I think Ei-kun would find that kind of stuff boring——?”
Whenever Chiwa drags out the last syllable, she's always hiding something.
“But, Ei-kun, I can tell you this.”
“The maidens from Jien-otsu get along really well, and we can unite together!”
For some reason Chiwa's chest puffed with pride.
“Eh! What do you mean by repulsive?”
“Don’t you guys always fight when you’re together? Especially you and Masuzu."
“That’s why I said it’ll be different from today on! We’ll get along really well——okay?”
Chiwa's smile looked a bit unnatural.
Masuzu and Hime also said the same thing yesterday. Something definitely happened between these four girls when I wasn't with them.
“Why did you ask, Ei-kun?”
“……It's nothing, I just felt curious.”
I couldn't tell her about my conversation with Masuzu and Hime yesterday, so I just simply covered it up.
“Ei-kun, can I ask you something as well?”
“If you can't say it, you can choose not to answer……”
Chiwa hesitated, which she rarely does, and spoke with her eyes unfocused.
“Just now when I was using your kitchen, I saw some serious-looking scratches on the wall behind the dish rack. What happened?”
Because I didn't want any recollection of it, I moved the rack to cover it up during the summer. I completely forgot about it until now.
“That was the result of a couple’s fight. Roughly last spring, my mom threw plates at my dad, and this was what it left behind.”
“……sounds like a fierce fight……”
“Back then, they fought over 'Half of the money we used to buy this house is from my family!', 'I knew we could get it at such a cheap price only because I asked a contractor!' and the likes, so ruining the house is really ironic.”
Just thinking about it was bad enough.
I really hated allowing such people to dominate my life.
I must absolutely become someone who runs his own life. I will not let the same situation happen where I dance to the tune of those love-struck types.
Chiwa shifted her body uncomfortably, and stared at me with her eyes gazing upwards.
“I think Ei-kun’s parents are special cases.”
“Although there are many couples or lovers with bad relationships, there are more who do not.”
“That much, I understand.”
Although I said that, it felt as if I wasn't truly convinced by that answer.
After all I’m an anti-love———just where is this "perfect relationship?” I did feel some disdain for this topic.
Even though the cause for this was the separation of my parents, recently I felt there was more to it. I could understand just by looking at Masuzu because I was the same as her. It was as if there was something more twisted in our hearts than in others.
As for what that was, I didn't know myself.
Chiwa tried to lighten the atmosphere by changing the topic.
“Let’s not talk about this anymore. Have you been eating well recently, Ei-kun? Why is there only food from the convenience store in the rubbish bin?”
I didn't feel like making food when I was alone, so I just ate simply.
“That won't do! With lack of sleep and nutrition, your body will deteriorate. You have to sleep and eat properly.”
“I know, just shut up.”
Without noticing, my voice turned unpleasant.
Chiwa lowered her eyelids sadly.
“I’m really, really worried about you…”
These eyes, were eyes that are shown when you’re really hurt.
“I apologize, I said too much. I'm at fault.”
Chiwa shook her head.
“I don’t mind it at all, but you have to take better care of yourself. If you ruin your own body, you can’t perform in studies or club activities. Even if you have to stay up late, at least eat well, okay?”
Umm——I let Chiwa worry about my diet.
Somehow, it's like our roles had reversed.
“Ah, it’s about time we leave.”
Chiwa stood up and started cleaning the table. I looked at the time…… Uooh, this is bad. I wanted to go to school earlier to study for the test, but I ended up at leaving at the regular time.
I left home with Chiwa. When we met the students who were also rushing to school at the school gate, I saw a familiar back.
Shining under the sun was the black hair, bouncing around on her back.
It was Hime.
But it was different from usual.
She had a long thing strapped on her back, covered with a purple cloth. The item inside was unknown. Which class would need that kind of thing?
“Himecchi, did you get hurt?”
Like Chiwa said, Hime's left arm was bandaged. But the quality of work was bad, and the end of the bandage flapped in the wind. No matter how one looked, it was made by an amateur.
“But it seems weird. If it’s a fracture or a sprain, you'd have to use a cast to fix it in place, so is it a burn?”
Chiwa, who had experience in injuries, tilted her head in wonder——However I have some ideas about this issue.
The reason for those meaningless bandages.
That huge thing strapped to her back.
……I could think of why this might be.
“Wait there, that first year!”
Hime wanted to go into the school earlier than us, but was stopped by the disciplinary duo who was in charge of promoting the “Greet others campaign.” They were also there when Fuyuumi wanted to shut down the club: the third year with the ponytail, and the second year with the glasses.
But Hime didn’t look at them, and tried to walk away.
“Hey, you, wait up!”
Ponytail-senpai went to grab Hime’s left shoulder.
Hime instantly evaded, open her arms, stood on one leg and struck a pose—
The pose of the eagle.
“Don’t touch my sword! Do you want to get possessed by a dragon curse?”
I suddenly felt sweat rolling down.
Hime and ponytail-senpai started pushing each other, and the other students all stopped to watch the scene.
Chiwa ran towards them, grabbed Hime from behind, and pulled her away.
“Calm down, Himecchi! What happened to you?”
“Don’t get near to me, human! ku…… I can’t! I can’t suppress the, the urge, to, kill!”
Hime shook off Chiwa, fell to the floor, started rolling around, and knocked her forehead on the sign which had the school name. She fell quite beautifully, and voices echoing “Ohhh—” rang around us.
I ran to her wanting to check if she was okay, but Hime instantly stood up, her forehead still red.
“I said don’t come close to me, I can’t guarantee your safety, Villager A-ta.”
"I'm not Burning Fighting Fighter anymore?"——I was about to say this, but then I remembered it. Right, previously, to make Hime hate me, I made myself “Villager A who was given the memories of being the Burning Fighting Fighter,” but the effect was the opposite of what I hoped.
“Right now I’m not Burning Prin Princess—|
Hime started swinging the stick on her right hand. Ah, that was dangerous. Chiwa and I stood back three steps to evade it.
“I’m the blood-stained crazy fighter ‘Burning Prin Princess • Genocide mode’! An!”
Once the swinging stick hit the gate, Hime gave out a cute scream and let go. Her hand was probably numb from the impact. What a weak warrior.
“What, what do you mean by genocide? What do you want to do with that stick!”
Ponytail-senpai had sweat on her forehead, and she asked Hime with slightly shaking legs.
“Hmph! Only the sword knows the fate of the sword……that’s right, only this “Raijin Slayer” knows.”
Hime picked up the fallen stick, and she suddenly held it with both her hands into the air. Her voice didn't seem firm. Could it be because her character was not complete yet?”
“Be careful, Wyverns. Right now I won’t be as soft as before, because I've thrown away my kind heart and exchanged it with the powerful Genocide mode!”
“Don’t be stupid! You'll affect your future like this!”
“This mode’s power is ‘lightning.’ It can release a power equivalent to twelve times the power of a thunder in this world with a single strike!”
“Then you can work in the electrical company, can’t you?”
What a good senpai, guiding Hime so seriously.
There were a lot of people around the two, as almost every student stopped to watch.
After a while, someone easily parted a road through the crowd like Moses——Fuyuumi was finally here.
“Wait, just what is happening here?”
“Well, I also want to ask that.”
“Why today, out of all days? Has the chuunibyou worsened?”
Also, Hime's embarrassing moves usually only appeared in front of us. I heard she was quiet and did not stand out in Class 2, and she certainly was not the kind of people to make such decorated performance.
What happened to her today then?
It was just like letting go of something in front of the crowd———no, it’s she like gave up on herself.
“Anyway, Hime-chan, give me that stick!”
Her master, Fuyuumi, came close, and Hime held her Raijin Slayer close while moving back.
“Sorry master, I cannot return to the usual peaceful life any more.”
“What are you saying? You think you can become popular with that kind of thing?”
Chuunibyou vs. Love-struck mind. Although this was an interesting match up, I couldn't leave myself out of this since Hime was involved.
“Whatever, just give it to me!”
“No. A human won't be able to handle this sword.”
They both started pulling at the stick, and the purple cloth covering it loosened. The thing inside that came out was a fishing pole. I didn't know what it could do against the Wyverns, but looked like it could catch a lot of eels.
Because the cloth came off, Hime and Fuyyumi who were pulling at it fell almost simultaneously. Fuyuumi, who was pulling harder, knocked her head on the electrical pole, and made a loud sound; it sounded kind of painful.
Hime managed to escape because she was weaker, and stood up before Fuyuumi who was clutching on her head in pain. She looked at Fuyuumi apologetically————but she immediately looked down, picked up her fishing pole and cloth, and walked towards the school gate.
“Hey, Hime-chan! Wait! Listen to what I'm saying!”
Fuyuumi finally stood up with some effort, but her voice didn't reach Hime.
“What could have happened to Himecchi?”
Chiwa tilted her head, looking disturbed.
In the crowd, looking at the drama, I saw Masuzu. She was looking at Hime's back with a troubled look.
It looked like things were going in an unexpected direction.
#2: Eighth-Grade Syndrome is Critically Ill, but it's still Mayhem
The test went rather well.
Despite the incident from this morning, I still managed to focus with my full attention, so it felt like my maturity improved. If this continued, I could still maintain my number one position in the grade.
My mission was finished anyway, so I decided to think about Hime’s matter.
After such an outrageous performance, how would she be treated in class? During middle school, nobody talked to me for a week after I stirred up a commotion like that. As an “experienced” person, I should help Hime.
And so, I went to Hime’s class after school.
Hime’s seat was the last seat next to the window, and there were quite a few people gathered around there. A mixture of five boys and girls were talking to her about something. Was she being bullied? By five people?
I pretended to look at the bulletin board at the end of the classroom as I listened to their conversation.
“Does Akishino-san know how to fish? Me too! Let’s go together next time.”
“This is the ‘Raijin Slayer’. It is created to kill and destroy.”
“Ah—what a cool name. Looks like it can fish very well.”
The boy who loved fishing nodded.
“Himeka-chan, are you wearing that bandage to copy Visual Keis?”
“No. This is the seal made to suppress the ‘Dragonic Aura’.”
“The vocalist of my favorite band also wears bandages like that. Himeka's snow-white skin is really suited to for this. I’m jealous—”
Clumping a cool fashion and a girl’s simply bandaged hand together like this.
They looked like they were having a normal conversation?
Both the boys and girls were saying Hime’s replies were interesting. I couldn't find any sign of them bullying her or treating her as a joke. Everyone looked happy to me.
“But that bandage, can’t you buy it at a normal pharmacy?”
“As long as I infuse my thoughts into it, I can give magic to any earthly substance.”
“Akishino-san is really interesting—I never noticed this because I never talked to you.”
“Bl-bloodthirsty fighters are not interesting.”
Actually, Hime was the one who felt really confused. Although she maintained her poker face, her eyes were unfocused and her hands couldn't stay still. That confused look was very cute, and it seemed to catch everyone's attention.
“Yo, Kidou, why are you here?”
Someone I knew from class 2 approached me. It was Kurashima from the same middle school I went to.
“Ah, I just wanted to check up how my fellow club member was doing……”
“Well, she’s a member of your harem. Are you worried about her?”
“Don’t say it like that.”
Kurashima laughed loudly. He was still so straightforward. Also he was a riajuu who had a girlfriend since middle school.
“Hime, how is she usually like in class?”
“I don’t talk much to her, although I do greet her.”
Compared to the old Hime, she improved a whole lot, since she used to be a one-man group in PE class.
“How about lunch break? Does she eat with anybody?”
“I see her eating with the girls sitting around her sometimes.”
Seems like she wasn’t as lonely as I thought.
“That fishing pole, didn’t the teacher confiscate it?”
“Our homeroom teacher doesn’t do things like that. She only said not to wave it around during homeroom.”
Maybe because everything was done by the disciplinary committee in our school, there were quite a number of lenient teachers like this.
“Hime, time to go to the club.”
I ignored the people around and pretended to call her nonchalantly.
…ah, she was calling me.
“Don’t come over here too much. Maybe there are still Wyverns who think you’re ‘Burning Fighting Fighter’.”
I suddenly remembered this setting.
Even if that was the case, Hime was still too cold.
This “Villager A” setting I created to become hated, was now being used in a way that felt a bit painful.
And so, we came to the clubroom of Jien-otsu.
“I checked the meaning of ‘Genocide’ in the dictionary, it means killing everyone right? Won’t you get arrested before you become popular?”
“There’s no problem. If any country wants to do anything to me, hyperdimensional thought entity will control the causality. When I’m in genocide mode, I don’t belong to this dimension (code breaker), human’s law cannot hold me.”
“Sigh—looks like the police will feel troubled.”
Chiwa and Hime continued their meaningless conversation. Or should I say Chiwa can accept almost anything? Really, this girl can easily accept any weird thing said to her.
But, the lovestruck mind disciplinary committee was lecturing her with “You cannot do this” from the start.
“I told you, Hime, getting popular with that weird decoration only happens in middle school.”
“ Even if time continues to flow, the quality doesn’t. Now I will create a new era, and evolve it.”
“About this, it also occurred in my middle school. ‘As long as you stand out you will be popular’ or something like that. No matter boys or girls will find people like this popular, I don’t disagree with this.
“I am the one who will bear the sins of the genocider, destroying all evil. I don’t mind if people misunderstand me, but, I will become the base of the new world, you must believe me……”
“However, it is different in high school. Teenagers are part of another world! Compared to the person who stands out the most in the class, the humbly smiling and kind person beside him is the most popular one. Also, this remains the same even when you come out into society, in the market.
A-chan, since when did you come out to society? I wanted to say this, but in the end I didn’t. I don’t want to complicate things further.
Anyway, these people are all in their own world.
The thinking of a lovestruck brain is flowing constantly out of Fuyuumi, while Hime is stutteringly releasing waves of Chuunibyou. Although the contrast between them is large, but in terms of living in their own world they can be seen as partners.
“Then, let’s start discussing about the school festival.”
Ignoring the two of them, Masuzu stood in front of the whiteboard, looking as if she recovered from yesterday’s impact.
But she never looked into Hime’s eyes today.
Hime was also ignoring Masuzu, staring at the magical circle (drawn with a highlighter) on the back of her hand.
“As I said yesterday, at the last day of the school festival, there is a voting for the most popular show. This is the best chance to introduce us ‘Jien-otsu’ to the entire school.”
I feel like we are already criticized throughout the whole school, but I cannot say that now.
“My aim is to let our club be acknowledged as having the most popular performance we deserve; does Eita-kun have any good ideas?”
“Eh? Me?” The conversation was suddenly handed over to me.
“Even if you ask me…..we have only five members, isn’t there only a limited amount of things we can do?”
“True, we can't do large scale activities.”
“How about asking Kaoru-kun for help?”
Even though Chiwa said that, that guy has his own work as the secretary of the student council, he should be quite busy during the school festival.
“Chiwa, do you have anything you want to do?”
Chiwa crossed her hand while muttering “…umm”. I know when she does this, she’s just pretending to think, actually she doesn’t and in the end she will answer with her instincts.
As expected, everything is related to food.
“Yakitori shop is still understandable, what is with Yakibuta and Yakiushi?”
“I think it’s simple since we only need to grill meat—”
“Then we can just open a yakiniku shop.”
Chiwa happily clapped while saying “Ooh♪”. Don’t be happy, it’s a joke.
“What about Masuzu?”
I see, this may actually be suitable for Masuzu.
“But, with only five people we can’t make a good performance.”
“We can overcome this with Eita-kun’s one-man show.”
“Isn’t that impossible?”
“Or we can use the 'self entertaining' you’re very good at.”
“Ahh, this I’m very good at…..mind your own business!”
Accidentally acting dumb with criticism, so even getting told I’m "self entertaining"; I feel I can’t be saved anymore.
“You only reject other people's ideas; say, Eita-kun, what do you want to do?”
“Setting up a resting area.”
I instantly suggested.
“You want to win the most votes by a resting area?”
“It’s impossible, but as long as it’s relaxing it’s okay.”
Resting area is the number one choice for spiritless classes during a class activity.
Speaking of it, my class did this during the second year of my middle school (Not the disease Chuunibyou). What we did was just move the tables and chairs, and had a few girls who were good at drawing to make a sign.
Though, for some unknown reason, I think it wasn’t appropriate.
Thinking back, it was just to exhibit “Everybody goes left so I go right” anti-mainstream Chuunibyou (Yes the disease) —but at the day of the school festival, I shouted in front of the class “You lost before the war even began!”
Then I ran to the roof of the school building, took off my clothes and put it aside, striking the pose of the eagle—
I uncontrollably let out a scream, stopping myself from thinking that particular scene that can possibly end my life.
Gahh, my chest, my chest hurts!
“What; what happened Eita-kun?”
“I beg you Masuzu! I beg you, please, please stop reading that!”
“Calm down. I never did anything.”
I suddenly got to myself.
Oh yeah, Masuzu didn’t take out my notebook, what happened just now shouldn’t be like this.
“Eita-kun, are you exhausted after studying too much?”
I wiped off the sweat and sighed, ahhh I can stop worrying. I believe that if that past I almost forgotten gets exposed I will be sick in bed for ten days.
“Ahh! Speaking of school festival, when Ei-kun was in second year of his middle school—”
“Hey Chiwa shut up!”
How dangerous! Not only the notebook, a living evidence is here!
“You guys, what are you rambling about just now? We can’t even talk calmly now.”
Fuyuumi pouted and complained, looks like she wants to continue to lecture Hime.
“We are discussing the performance for the school festival. Do you have any good ideas, Ai?”
“Isn’t there a lot of things to do? Like Popucute floss candy store, Popucute takoyaki stand, Popucute ghost house.”
“You are just adding 'Popucute' to everything.”
But in the end it looks pretty interesting, what kind of cute monster will there be?”
“Then, what about Himechii? Do you have anything you want to do?”
Hime shook her head heavily.
“Since I’m in Genocide mode, I cannot walk into human crowds anymore. Even now my current form is depending on this seal to control my urge to kill, it’s dangerous.”
Hime raised her bandaged hand while saying these cool lines.
I don’t know why, but her proud expression makes me a little frustrated, so I pulled out the end of the bandage and it came undone.
Good, now how will you react?
If it was the old me, I would’ve said “Ugh! Everybody run! You will be hurled out of control ‘Dragonic Aura’! Please get away from me…while I still have a humane heart!” or something like that, and then say: “Everybody……thank you……for accompanying me until now!” and leave the classroom with a bitter smile. Of course, the next day I would come to school as if nothing happened.
As I was to see how Hime would react, she clumsily tied the bandage again.
“Only this much?”
I was still waiting for a well-designed delusion act, how surprisingly simple.
“This is not good, Hime, the bandage needs to be done like this.”
Chiwa took the bandage off, and bandaged it with experienced hands.
“Thanks to you, it is over without the bloodshed; thanks for your help.”
Chiwa smiled, while Masuzu had a serious face.
“Akishino-san, are you saying you’re not joining the school festival?”
“Why? Didn’t you said yesterday that everyone will get along well together and work together?”
I can see Hime’s body twitching.
But her expression didn’t change, and her voice remained cold.
“Because of this, I can’t be together with you. If my battle with the Wyverns gets too bloody, this club will also be hit by misfortune, it would be better if I am not here.”
“Is this really what you think?”
Hime didn’t answer Masuzu, but instead stood up.
“Don’t cry for me when I lose. But, please remember, that Genocide Bleeds Red every night!”
It probably means “temporarily stopping club activities”.
“Why so sudden? Tell me your reason, Hime-chan!”
I stopped Fuyuumi who slammed the table and stood up, while using the softest tone and ask Hime.
“Next week you are coming back right? Let’s prepare for the school festival together.”
“That will have to depend on how the Wyverns perform.”
Hime walked straight past me to the door, the fishing pole she slid to the floor, dragging on the floor behind her.
“Hey, are you coming to school tomorrow in this getup?”
“It’s enough for me.”
Hime picked up the fishing pole and left.
“Hi-Hime-chan became a delinquent!”
“Did we do anything to make her mad?”
Ignoring the seemingly frustrated Fuyuumi and Chiwa, I exchanged a glance with Masuzu.
Looks like we need to strategize seriously.
I was called out by Masuzu, to the same café we usually meet.
Once I got into the shop, the waitress told me,“To that seat, please!” while smiling and pointing towards the seat beside the window which Masuzu was sitting. Looks like my face is remembered, maybe without ordering she would serve me a coke.
“What does she want?”
Once I got seated, Masuzu started talking.
“I don’t know, completely clueless.”
This of course isn’t about the waitress’ memory, but today’s Hime.
“Don’t you feel like that's a protest aimed at us?”
“So her chuunibyou got serious? It doesn’t make sense.”
“But the trigger was what happened yesterday, right?”
Masuzu stared at my eyes, looking for a reaction.
“Hey, yesterday after parting with me and going to the toilet, did you say anything to Akishino-san?”
Because I can’t hide it anymore, I nodded honestly.
“I believe I need to tell Hime why we need to act as fake lovers, so I told her it was to help you block out confessions.”
“You don’t need to blabber so much…….”
Masuzu frowned and sighed.
“I only wanted to tell Hime, Masuzu has her own reasons.”
“I’m saying there is no need for this. After telling this to other people, it will only make people feel ‘are you boasting that you are popular?’”
Hmm—this girl is really twisted.
If she said this, she probably told this by people before, insult in the face or talking bad behind her back. Because I’m a guy, getting joked about having a “harem army～♪” is still passable; it seems pretty troublesome from a girl’s point of view.
“Hime will not do this; you know very well.”
“……really? Who knows how it’ll turn out.”
Masuzu sipped the coffee with her pouted lips.
“Then why will Akishino-san do this?”
"She answered, ‘I don’t understand what you’re talking about.’; she is probably holding her end of the deal.”
“Like this huh……”
Masuzu’s face looks relieved.
Then she stared at me sharply.
“The cause of all these is because Eita is too careless, you're the one who made me say fake boyfriend and such.”
“You still have the nerve to say that, you losing control is probably the root of it.”
“You lost control after I talked a little to other girls, did you forget that we are fake lovers?”
Masuzu’s eyes widened.
“There you go.”
“Didn’t you say if I said ‘fake boyfriend’ ten times you would hug me? You haven’t hugged me!”
“Don’t say something so embarrassing so loud!”
I feel like all the customers around us are looking here, in the corner of my field of vision; that waitress from before was clenching her fist giving a “Give it your all, Boyfriend-san!” look. What is this……stop looking out for us so kindly.
“Back to the topic.”
Getting back into position, Masuzu drank some cold water. I gulped down the remaining cold water to moisturize my throat, calming myself down.
“Those weird things Akishino-san did—fishing pole or bandages, in terms of Chuunibyou what kind of behavior is that?”
“That kind which thinks battling with unknown enemies is very cool.”
Masuzu showed an obvious “huh?” expression.
“I still can’t understand the viewpoint of being ‘cool’, but it is all a solo act, a ‘soliloquy’ right? Isn’t it very lonely?”
Dammit, this woman sure knows how to talk. Isn’t she herself the leader of the Jien-otsu.
“That’s because we’re already self-absorbed, completely absorbed in that world. Ignoring the normal and peaceful daily lives, believing we, ourselves are the chosen warriors to fight alone! Burying the sorrow of not being understood by people to the deepest part of our hearts, battling with attackers from the other world! ‘Is that guy psycho?’ the more we get ridiculed, the more self-absorbed we get, ‘normal humans……it’s okay to not understand my sorrow……’ into the whirlpool of delusion! To escape this is very hard -ehhhh!?”
I stood up without noticing. The gazes from the customers nearby were piercing me again. Hey, waitress, don’t look at the sky with a “sigh—” look, get back to work.
I sat down while coughing.
“Anyway, Hime must think it’s ‘very cool’ to do this; this won’t be far from the truth.”
“Even if it’s like this, this can’t explain this incident, can it?”
Masuzu stared at me with her hands supporting her chin.
“Those delusional acts of Akishino-san, normally only occur in front of us. If she does this even in her class, there should be rumors since school started.”
This is actually rather accurate. Kaoru once told me his impression of Hime was “even in her class almost nobody heard her voice”; simple and doesn’t stand out much. Hime only shows her real self in front of us—only in front of the “Burning Fighting Fighter” who battled fiercely in front of the station, and my partners,'Jien-otsu'.
“As I see it—she seems restricted in her own parameters.”
“Eh? Isn’t it the exact opposite?”
“Because she only showed this side of her in front of us, now even her whole class sees it? Don’t you think this is weird?”
Masuzu slightly bend forwards when she heard this.
“Akishino-san’s real side, does Eita knows about it?”
“No, so she must become a Chuunibyou patient because she likes manga and anime too much—“
“We can only say that is her interest, right? At least I never saw her real self.”
I wanted to say something back, but I was rendered speechless. Nevertheless, when I speak of Hime, I will begin thinking of Chuunibyou and such. I thought for a while, maybe that is not Hime’s real self……
“Ahhh, but Eita knows it.”
“Akishino-san’s, naked butt.”
This girl stills hold grudges for what happened in the nurse office before summer holidays?
Dammit, don't look down on me! Do I look like those shameless men?
Thinking back, the slowly rubbing thighs which are whiter than the sheets of the nurse's office already took over my mind. The two unimaginably round and firm buns which are usually hidden under the uniform that makes her look slim, I already—
“Your eyes are dirty.”
Masuzu said as though she is looking at trash.
“You are an anti-love, but you can use these kind of eyes to look at Akishino-san? Sexual urge is another matter to you? Are you an animal?”
“I said that's not it!”
Sorry, you're not wrong. Himeka-san, I am sorry.
The customers who were still talking loudly until a while ago are all silent, some of them peeked at us from time to time. From their point of view we probably look like “lovers who are fighting due to jealousy”. This is unavoidable.
Masuzu quickly stood up.
“Let's get out of here.”
We left the café instantly after paying. When she was finding the change, the waitress whispered to me. “After rain the ground's more solid.” What exactly do you mean by this?
After leaving, Masuzu seemed to realize something, and she moved over trying to hook my arm.
I instantly avoided it.
Masuzu stubbornly stepped over further, while I nimbly stepped back from her hand.
But the enemy isn't weak, using her front leg as the axis, changing her direction instantly, spinning like a ballerina, as if she looked through my movements, reaching towards my arm. But, I will not let you get what you want. I jumped to the grass area by the sidewalk to avoid it.
“Why are you running?”
The headlights of the oncoming cars shone on me as I walked at the edge, Masuzu chasing up to me.
“What if our classmates just happened to pass by? Lovers not holding arms is unnatural.”
“There are not many high school students who walk arm in arm.”
“You never said this kind of things before.......”
Masuzu seemed to not be able to tolerate this and was complaining.
“Then, holding hands should be possible right? Let's hold hands.”
“Please hold hands with me, sorry to trouble you.”
“…...even if you suddenly get polite, it's still no.”
“Hey bitch fucking hold hands with me!”
“Threatening me is also useless.”
I jumped down from the edge, looking back at Masuzu.
“Recently, you are a bit too much.”
“I'm saying you're getting ahead of yourself, aren't you the same as the lovestruck brains we hate so much?”
Masuzu's eyes widened with a “regrettable” look.
“Stop joking, don't lump me together with those trash.”
“It's the same, you saw how those people at the café looked at us right? There are people who looked like they're criticizing us for publicly showing affection, won't we get seen as lovestruck brains too?”
Masuzu's voice raised when she heard this.
“Saying I'm a lovestruck brain, what nonsense. From top to bottom it's not real; acting; fake. About this I'm very sure, please do not think too much of it.”
I sighed and surrendered.
Masuzu nodded happily, and instantly hooked my arm the during the instant “An opening!”. Shoulder leaning closely, and her head leaned over as if she's showing affection.
“'Eh' what, let's go.”
After walking for a while, we reached the junction that splits into my house and Masuzu's apartment, but she doesn't seem like she'll let go of my arm.
“Why are you following me?”
“We didn't finish discussing yet right? We never managed to plan any strategy after that right? So I need to go to your house, and won't you treat me to some monyomonyo?”
Really, this, this girl.
“That, although I think it's impossible, but to make sure, I'll ask first.”
I stared at Masuzu's blue eyes.
“—Do you like me?”
Initially I planned to act like it's nothing big and ask, but my voice turned sharp from getting nervous.
I feel that after asking this, it will destroy my accomplice relationship between me and Masuzu, it makes me afraid.
Masuzu doesn't know my thoughts.
“It's impossible. What are you talking about?”
“Yea, yea, that's right.”
“Asking me—'Do you like me?' which handsome guy are you, to speak this line, please wait until your looks deviation gets above 70.”
“Yes yes yes, I'm sorry to have an ugly face.”
I feel disappointed for some reason. Of course I don't think she'll like me, but I thought she would be a bit more anxious or taken back. Looks like it's just me who's looking for trouble.
“But, I want to perform monyomonyo, this feeling is true.”
Masuzu rubbed her face on my chest.
“I don't have any thoughts about you, even though I'm thinking 'This idiot! Closet pervert! Virgin turned bad!', my body just wants to monyomonyo, this is an undeniable truth.”
“Your choice of words are subtle......wait, what did you just say? Virgin turned bad?”
“Isn't it nice? Anyway you want to be a virgin for the rest of your life right? So I will also be a virgin throughout my life, and only needs monyomonyo, so it's fair between us right?”
“Don't call it fair all by yourself!”
Virgin turned bad, Natsukawa Masuzu.
I never thought that the school's number one beauty would be like this. The other boys at school certainly would never have imagined this either.
“Stop blabbering, let me monyomonyo! If not I can do it here!”
“Yes, I know I know.”
No choice, let her complete her monyomonyo fast and I'll just send her out.
Once I opened the door, a noise came from the kitchen. I thought Saeko-san was back, but her shoes were not there. If that's the case, there's only one possible person.
I grabbed Masuzu's shoulder and turned her to the right.
“What happened to you? I didn't even get my shoes off.”
“Okay, tomorrow! We'll talk tomorrow! So let's call it an end here for today! Okay!?”
The noise of the slippers got near.
“Ei-kun, welcome home—♪......!?”
Chiwa ran over happily in an apron, and froze after seeing Masuzu.
Masuzu also froze looking at Chiwa.
Their gaze sandwiched me, clashing.
How do I stop this battlefield? My brain worked to its full potential to find an escape route.
Before I got an answer, I thought the sparks from their eyes would become the fires of hell, but—
“Wh—at, Natsukawa-san is here too? ♪ Why don't you come up? Let's eat together!”
“Eh, Harusaki-san is here too? ♪ If I knew I would've brought a gift.♪”
What? Why is their relationship so good?
This feels bad......
#3: It's Obviously a Cooking Contest and it's still Mayhem
While my childhood friend was making dinner, I simply waited together with my girlfriend.
If I heard this during my middle school years, maybe I would say,"I'm envious." or something. If I heard it this April I would say,"Huh? So it's like that?" or something. And if I heard it last month, I would've say,"You...are you leaving this world?" and my eyes would widen with fear as I say it.
Such a rare and horrifying occurrence goes on silently in my kitchen.
Firstly, Chiwa's cooking is already very dangerous, and Masuzu is even joining in. What kind of quest is this? A battlefield where you don't know the requirements to clear, filled with buried landmines.
I was trembling on the corner of the sofa in my living room, Masuzu sat beside me reading Saeko-san's entertainment magazine, raising her head in a seemingly bored manner.
"Harusaki-san, do you need any help─"
"Nothing─there's nothing─♪ So Natsukawa can just sit there and wait!"
While answering with a cheerful voice in the kitchen, the "go, go" noise from the kitchen knife can be heard. Someone who is used to cooking would never make such sound while cutting.
"Er, Harusaki-san, do you know how to cook?"
Masuzu asked in a small voice.
"Basically no, the meat and potato stew I made just now also turned out as a failure."
The "Chihuahua special creative meat and potato stew" with tomato, no matter the color or the taste, is unforgettable.
Thus, for some reason Masuzu, with a face proud of victory, relaxed her shoulders.
"Childhood friend-san's cooking are rather abstract huh. If it was me I would prepare a warming dish that will never change in taste."
"That's because it's instant food, you know."
"And it only needs three minutes. The better ones only take one minute chin! Isn't that great?"
"That's why it IS instant food."
However great you proclaim it to be I will only feel troubled. Also what is chin? Are you from the Showa period?
"Sorry for the wait─!"
Chiwa brought a pot to the living room.
I made my determination to be prepared to face whatever might come, and looked at the Chihuahua meat and potato stew.
Eh? For some reason there is some appetizing smell......
Opening the pot, the meat and potato stew in the boiling soup came into view. Both the onions and the potato looks good, it should be delicious. At least it looks like food.
"Ehehe. Actually during the summer break, I studied a bit of cooking with Ai. Because Ai is really good at cooking."
"She said I only need to follow the recipe, especially if I control the ratio well, it isn't hard. Although I still need practice on my cutting."
Teehee, Chiwa knocked her head.
Honestly the carrot and potatoes don't look too nice, but the taste is more important.
Picking up the potato with my chopsticks, I blew it for a while and placed it in my mouth.
It's edible! It's really edible!
Not too sticky or wet, completely the taste of meat! Although a bit bitter from being overcooked, but it's still quite good. I sometimes overcook mine too.
"Um, it's good. Seconds please."
"All right ♪"
Chiwa took my bowl happily, placing lots of meat and potato stew on it.
On the other side, Masuzu turned white. Also, putting the potato into her mouth to chew; she made a dull sound as she ate.
Chiwa moved over while holding back her laugh.
"So─how is it Natsukawa? Is it good? Does it fit your tastes?"
Using an unexplainable voice, she said with a proud face.
Masuzu's chopstick hand trembled as if she was about to have seizure.
"Eh, ehh...... Oh right. Although not as good as muscat flavored Weider in jelly, but isn't it good? But the peach flavored Weider in jelly is still better."
"Ah, Ei-kun, there is some in your face♪"
Ignoring Masuzu-san who was mumbling non stop, Chiwa took the rice on my face and put it into her mouth.
Then Masuzu's hands wouldn't stop trembling.
"Wha, wwwwww, whaaaaaaaaaaattt are you doing? Wha, whaaat are you doing in frrrrroooont of tttthe gi, giiiiiirlfriend?"
"Don't let your blood pressure rise, Natsukawa! Let's get along well! Our relationship is good, right♪"
"Aaahhhhh thhhhaaattttt's righttttt hohohohohoho"
…...it's getting really weird, with these people.
That good relationship is just on the surface, the inside should be even more dangerous than before our summer break trip.
"Bu, but I can also do it! Something like cooking."
"Is that so? Then is there any dish that's your specialty?"
"With the ingredients, I can do anything for you."
And then Masuzu-san stared at Chiwa with some bloodshot eyes while talking big.
Chiwa, with a blank face with a ｢Eh, that's great｣ look as she opened her eyes.
"Then, why don't you make something? There still are some potatoes and carrots."
"I'll borrow the kitchen!"
Masuzu placed her left hand on her face, stood up with a bizarre pose, and walked away.
"O, oi, you don't need to force yourself......"
"I'm not forcing myself! I can cook-!"
Thus, the suspect denied the charges.
Masuzu shouldn't know how to cook. During the trip she beautifully angered Fuyuumi with her skills, and always ate Weider in jelly, Calorie mate, the type of stuff that collar workers usually eat when they work overtime.
"Why did you have to say such provocative words, Chiwa?"
"It's not like I'm provoking anything."
Her cheeks full with her own meat, Chiwa stared at the kitchen with the eyes of a fierce dog. Unknowingly, a cooking war started.
Eh, that was fast!
On the tray Masuzu carried out from the kitchen, is a cup noodle with steam on top of it. …...ah, I already guessed it would turn out like this.
Chiwa's eyes became two small dots.
"What is this?"
"It's ramen. How's that? With the ingredients, even I can do it."
"What are the ingredients?"
"Hot water and noodles."
"Can you even call those ingredients!?"
"Boiling hot water and a cup of noodles."
"You only described it with more details!"
There, I patted Chiwa's shoulder. I don't want things to become more troublesome. Even like this, as long as there is no tragedy from cooking failure, it's already enough.
Taking the lead and saying ｢itadakimasu｣, I started eating the noodles.
"…...this cup, it's tasteless."
"Ah, I'm sorry, I forgot to put the soup packets in."
"Then, didn't this turn out to be a failure!?"
I feel extremely exhausted. Since when did my girlfriend get like this? Where did that cool beautiful returnee woman go?
Chiwa moved over to her with a serious face.
"You know, Natsukawa. I want to let the hardworking Ei-kun eat nutritious food."
"Instant food or whatever is not bad, but I still feel that homemade food is still better, right?"
"…... It's as you say."
Disappointed─, a drooping shoulder Masuzu could be seen. Somehow, she looks really pitiable.
"Don't worry, after all the soup packet can just be added after cooking."
I took the soup packet from the kitchen and poured it into the cup. Now I can eat this. Although I'm still full from the meat and potato stew.
Masuzu looked dazed, and when she met my eyes, she looked as if she would say,"I missed it!" and curled her lips, and shifted her gaze.
Tch. What was that.
Can't you let me see that cute pouting face some more?
The three of us made tea and drank together peacefully after dinner.
"It feels like it's been a long time, since only the three of us are together."
Sipping the hot green tea and staring at us, Chiwa nodded.
"Before Himecchi and Ai joined, it was only the three of us."
Masuzu suddenly made an "Oh, I remember" face.
"To be honest, I came here for the issue of Akishino-san."
"Me too, I wanted to discuss this with Ei-kun."
Looks like Chiwa also thinks that we can't just not care about Hime.
"Chiwa, what did you think of Hime's behavior today?"
"At the start I thought something angered her, or maybe......she was just acting awkward? Or rather, it was as if she were doing this because she was being bullied?"
"But the reason for becoming like this is unknown."
I feel that I know said reason. Of course, it's not something I can tell to Chiwa.
"Fuyuumi is also involved; it should be better if we do something about this."
"If this goes on, our 'maiden's club' will fall apart. …...actually, I have an idea on how to solve this, can you hear me out?"
Masuzu made a “lend me an ear” gesture, so Chiwa and I leaned over with our foreheads touching.
“It’s definitely a good idea, but will this go well?”
“Thus, we'll have to see how Eita-kun performs.”
Masuzu looked around the living room.
“Do you have the things we need?”
“You should have those in the storage room, right?”
Before I managed to talk, Chiwa answered in my stead.
“But, why does Natsukawa know this? That's something about Ei-kun in middle school.”
“I heard about it before. I am his girlfriend after all!”
Looking at the smiling Masuzu, Chiwa’s lips trembled and made a “heh—” sound. She only knew that because she has my notebook, and made it her advantage with just this simple method.
“Nah, I know everything about Ei-kun without anybody telling. From first grade until now.”
“Hah, then do you remember how much bread Eita-kun has eaten until now?”
“Ei-kun is not a bread lover— he likes rice— you are his girlfriend, and you don’t know that?”
“What are you so happy about! Eita-kun can immediately understand any JoJo reference!”
Let’s not talk about the meaningless quarrel, my heart feels heavy.
The three of us went to the storage room in the garden, and took out an old cardboard box.
The things that attracted me a lot until last year, sealed away heavily with masking tape. No signs of me wanting to unseal it. This is something that I would kill myself over if it gets spread out.
“Are we really doing this?”
“We already decided on this, Eita-kun has no room for refusals.”
“No, but you know…”
“No problem! Ei-kun can surely pull it off!”
Even Chiwa is saying such things, I can only nod in agreement.
This is all for Hime's sake.
To shoulder that responsibility, of hiding our fake relationship.
Leaving the details for tomorrow, Masuzu stood at the door.
“It’s quite late, should I see you home?”
“True, I should go as well.”
“Don't. I’ll take a cab. ……if anything happens I will not stay silent too."
“Is that so? Do you want to take the leftover meat home?”
With a scary face and voice, Masuzu disappeared from sight. She looks a bit staggering from behind. Is it because she is still unhappy about losing the cooking battle?
If it was the usual her, she would have glossed over the showdown with Chiwa rather easily. Why would she now take this, head on?”
“Nah Chiwa, something must have happened between you two right?”
“I said it's nothing! However, Natsukawa is also my rival. I absolutely don’t want to lose to her.”
While saying this, Chiwa’s eyes were shining.
“That’s because, Ei-kun, think about it. Have I ever won something against Natsukawa?”
“……I don’t remember such things.”
Since the founding of “Jien-otsu”, Natsukawa’s strategies always manage to fool Chiwa. But today Chiwa totally rolled over her.
“Even though I’m not Ai, epic victoryyyyyy—! At these times I want to say this.”
Chiwa held up her fist, looking at the autumn sky. Holding her hand, celebration like, as a sign of victory.
“Ei-kun, you're studying until quite late? I put the potato and meat stew in the refrigerator. Take it and eat if you’re hungry.”
“Thanks. I will.”
“It won't do if you just eat instant food, you know?”
Chiwa said this by my ear, smiling.
“You know, when looking at Himecchi today; it reminds me of the old Ei-kun.”
“Back in middle school, Ei-kun also had bandages like this, right?”
I had a period where I did wear a “fashionable bandage” like Hime.
But, it sure is hard to bandage with one person. So like Hime I simply bandaged it up, and it fell off.
Seeing this, Chiwa helped me to re-bandage it a few times.
Because of constant injuries while practicing Kendo, Chiwa had very good 'bandaging skills', her bandaging was a lot better looking than mine.
“I’m really grateful for that time.”
“Eh—you are saying thanks now? That time you were always saying ‘don’t do needless stuffs’, ‘I won’t care if you get cursed’ or something along those lines.”
“……umm. Don’t talk about that anymore. I will die.”
Looking at me who was wiping sweat from my forehead, Chiwa laughed.
“If it’s Ei-kun, tomorrow’s plan will surely succeed, let's do our best.”
Cooking for me, and waking me up in the morning.
And also, smiling while encouraging me like this.
I feel like the current Chiwa is like those “childhood friends” shown in animes and mangas.
#4: Eighth-Grade Syndrome VS. Eighth-Grade Syndrome Mayhem
The morning of the next day.
After meeting with Masuzu, I went to to the clubroom to get changed. Then, I waited for the appointed time to come. The plan was for Chiwa, who was stationed at the school gates, to give me a phone call.
"It suits you, Eita."
"Don't lie to me!"
I protested at Masuzu who had a narrow smile.
"You must like it a lot yourself, hm? You threw away your manga and light novels, but the precious thing you ended up keeping was this."
"I don't treasure this at all! I only sold those because they were books. There was no way I could sell this."
"Then you could have just thrown it away."
"But then I would have been found out by the neighbors!"
This was a big thing to me. How could I let my disgraces be spread about?"
"Oh yeah, is it really okay that we didn't tell Fuyuumi about this? Wouldn't it be better to just let her know?"
"If we told her about this, that illogically soft girl would definitely not allow it."
"......I guess that's true."
Just then my cellphone rang. Chiwa was calling.
"Himecchi's coming! Get ready!"
"Understood." After that brief reply, I hung up the phone.
"We've already gotten this far, so I just need to resolve myself."
"Right. Leave the funeral arrangements to me."
To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it, and I had more-or-less resigned myself to fate.
I slapped myself on the face several times to muster up my enthusiasm, and strode out the clubroom. I ran through the hallway, enduring the astonished glances of students who had already arrived at school. Then I passed through the main entrance and walked towards the school gates. It would have been troublesome if I ran into a disciplinary committee member or a teacher, but it looked like the ｢low probability route｣ that Masuzu planned for me was accurate.
Good, from here on was my territory.
I took care not to let the students going to school notice me as I crouched in the bushes next to the school gate. I only let my head peep out to survey the situation around me.
Today, the same two disciplinary committee members were on duty at the school gates carrying out the ｢Good Morning Initiative｣ as they examined the clothing attire of students who passed by. For the most part, our school was very peaceful and we didn't have any extreme delinquents who severely broke the rules. At most, girls that were wearing too much makeup were stopped, but that was it. That's why I could understand how hyper-dimensional Hime was yesterday.
Right now, I was about to enter this hyper-dimension (ANOTHER DIMENSION).
"Hey you again, stop right there!"
A voice that seemed to cut straight through the morning clamor reverberated in front of the school gates. That was the ponytail disciplinary committee member.
I tried my best to stretch my neck in the direction of the voices from underneath the shadow of the thicket, just enough to see Hime walking forward while carrying a fishing rod with her left arm bandaged. Today she was already wearing a dark black cloak, which waved freely in the wind. Where did she buy that? It was the kind of dream item that I would have been overjoyed to have in middle school.
Hime tried to walk past the disciplinary committee members without stopping, but she was grabbed by the shoulders and obstructed as she tried to go through the gates.
"Yesterday we warned you, but you haven't learned your lesson yet? This is a serious challenge against the disciplinary committee of our school. Do you have any idea what you're doing?"
Ponytail-senpai had a ferocious glare on her face, and Hime looked a little fearful.
However, she immediately recovered her poker face:
"That's a stupid question. My actions have been completely and implicitly recorded. The gods are in the heavens. It's nothing to have the whole earth at peace."
"Fine, then you're going to the disciplinary committee room—"
Damn, I better stop them fast!
I was about to charge forward, but suddenly another voice spoke up at the school gates.
"Wait a second, Himecchi!"
The students who were watching the uproar had formed a circle, but Fuyuumi Ai parted the crowd in half and strode forward from the empty street.
She was wearing a pure-white kimono, a tiny triangular towel, and even tabi on her feet.
This was the so-called, historical ｢funeral clothes｣ which the Date clan wore to calm down Toyotomi Hideyoshi's anger. 
The future candidate for disciplinary committee president was wearing attire that unquestionably violated the school rules, and the sight of this silenced even the noisy crowd that stood around at the school gates. Ponytail-senpai and even Hime was dumbstruck as they watched Fuyuumi walk in.
I was too.
Having missed my timing to enter the stage, I disgracefully retreated back into the bushes.
—What in the world are you thinking? Ai?
"W-What are you doing? Why are even you dressed up, too?"
"This isn't a violation of school rules! This is formal attire for offering an apology."
Fuyuumi came to Hime's side and spoke to the speechless ponytail-senpai.
"Apology? Why you?"
"Himechi is my important friend and my disciple. The disciple's mistake is also the master's mistake, so I've come to make an apology!"
Fuyuumi kneeled beside a flustered Hime.
With five fingers on the ground, everyone could tell that this was the prostrate posture for making an apology.
"Come with me, Himecchi. Let's apologize to senpai together! Then, promise with me that you'll never do a thing like this again!"
"I…… can't do it."
"Why?! Didn't I tell you yesterday that dressing up like this won't make you popular?!"
"No, I'm not doing this to become popular."
"Then why is it? Explain it to me!"
Hime tightly clutched her cape that was fluttering in the air as she spoke,
"Because I want to turn into a liar."
"I, want to turn into a liar. I want to deceive everyone, deceive the world, and become a true liar. This way—I can carry out a massacre (genocide).
Fuyuumi and the two disciplinary committee members tilted their heads from confusion?
Even the bustling crowd looked at each other and whispered in dismay. It looked like there wasn't a single person who understood Hime's words.
Of course, I didn't understand her at all.
But there was one thing I did know: if Hime went out of control, it was up to us to take responsibility for it.
In short, the scene had calmed down now, so it was the perfect opportunity.
I took a firm breath and resolved myself. Then, I charged out towards the school gates.
I shouted with all the cool-ness in my heart
"DIVE! ANOTHER DIMENSION! 
No! It's no good, Himeka. Sei. Heavensrain!"
The moment I shouted, everyone gathered at the school gates simultaneously turned their attention onto me. I confirmed that everyone was staring with wide eyes and open mouths.
Yes, this is exactly what's expected!
That's because I was dressed exactly the same as Hime—no, mine was a chuunibyou that was even more extreme than Hime's.
Directly over my bare chest, I was wearing a out-of-season black overcoat. My pants were black jeans.
I was carrying a massive sword comparable to the size of Hime's fishing rod on my back. I made this, ｢Wyvern-Slayer｣ (DRAUPNIR), from a cloth's drying pole that I sawed up, tied together with rope, and spray-painted with black paint.
I wore cotton gloves with the fingers cut off on both my hands, on which I had written ｢Death｣ and ｢Kill｣ with red marker.
With the exception of my white gloves, I was head-to-foot in black. This was my aesthetic taste. In middle school, I thought this was super cool, and to be honest I still felt that way, though only a little.
"What are you doing Ta-kun? Are you an idiot?"
Fuyuumi's cold giggle pierced into my back. Damn, this girl didn't understand chuunibyou, and I certainly didn't want to be told off by a girl who was wearing burial clothes for atonement.
I pretended I didn't hear Fuyuumi as I gazed at Hime.
"Don't become engrossed in the power of killing and games! I should have told you this before in our past lives. But right now you've become drunk on the force known as power! How are you different from the Wyverns, then? Evil forces will continuously draw from your mood, and you'll become depraved!"
Even though I've been free of this for a year, I could still say something smoothly like this.
Although this was lamentable, it looked like the chuunibyou had penetrated the depths of my heart to the level of my soul.
"—I'm already aware of that."
Finally recovering from the attack, Hime responded with her usual apathetic voice.
Even though. I know this. I'm very clear about it.
Faking this expressionless face, Hime tilted her nose upwards!
"Honestly, you on the other hand, how long do you intend to pretend to be the ｢Holy Dragon Knight of Dawn｣? You're just villager A-ta. If a powerless person like you wears that kind of equipment, you'll be engulfed by ｢Dragonic Aura｣ to the point your existence will be wiped off the Akashic Records. You should remove that get-up right away and turn it over to me."
"What's so funny?"
I laughed so loud that even students who had been holding their breath and listening from the distance could hear me.
You've taken the bait, Hime!
Yes, yes. If you had chuunibyou, that was certainly what you liked! There's no way you couldn't have taken the bait.
"That's why I said you're naive, ｢Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn Hime｣. You've been confused and mistaken the material world (USHER) for the spiritual world (ASTRAL), haven't you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I've already achieved complete fusion with the ｢Holy Dragon Knight of Dawn｣! In this material world, there weren't any appropriate vessels, so there was no way he could appear in this universe. That's why he used my body and was reborn—no, he was newly born! I'm no longer ｢Villager A｣. As a brave hero, this original ｢A｣ has been replaced—｢Holy Dragon Knight of Dawn - A (ACE)｣!
But I never expected Hime's brows to furrow into a ｢八｣
"......I've alway felt that setting was implausible…..."
"S-Shut up! Don't talk about settings!"
"This ACE stuff isn't cool."
"No way! It's definitely really cool!"
While I was retorting, Hime suddenly returned to her original state.
Damn. Though what she said did have some sense to it. Since I only made it up last night on the spot, this setting in itself wasn't very consolidated. At the peak of my power, I was able to create a magnificent, luxurious, and epic setting in just one night. If only I had just thought of a dazzling name that sounded cooler than ACE!
"Ei-kun, continue! Continue!"
Probably because she noticed me pause, Chiwa's soft voice from the bustling crowd helped lift me up. Thanks to her, I came back to my senses.
"—Alright, since that's the case, then I'll use this Wyvern-Slaying Sword to prove it to you."
I took out my black painted sword (drying pole) and set my stance, the sharp end of the blade pointed towards Hime.
"Saying anything more is useless! I'll use Raijin Killer to discuss my justice!"
Hime again raised her nose and similarly prepared her sword (fishing rod).
"I'm coming! Die!"
"Take this! GENOCIDE!"
Our swords collided simultaneously. Perhaps because I used too much force, Hime stumbled back a few steps. No good. I should probably hold back a little bit.
Incidentally, I glanced around us and saw that the bustling crowd had increased quite significantly in size. This wasn't just people from our school. Even passersbys on the road had stopped to watch our battle with interest.
I felt a dull ache, and it really did hurt.
The warrior's spirit—that was the hot blood that was currently raging!
"There seems to be a bit of hesitation in your swordsmanship, Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn Hime!"
"Same with you. You're not as nimble as you were in your past life, Holy Dragon Knight of Dawn - A!"
I was completely drunk with the sound of fencing that reverberated on this early morning air.
Because even during the period I had actively had chuunibyou, something like this had never happened before—I had never had a comrade in chuunibyou.
Hime definitely felt in a similar way I did. She was gasping for breath, dripping with sweat, and continuously brandishing that fishing pole just like a child.
However, that happy moment didn't last.
The morning bell rang through the school grounds.
Also, the sound of this bell was also the signal we had predetermined to be the ｢ending point｣.
"Okay cut, that's enough for today, that's enough for today."
Masuzu cleverly stepped forward from the school building as she loudly announced, ｢That's enough for today｣.
"So we'll wrap up around here—! That's enough for today—!"
Chiwa, who had been closely watching us, similarly began to shout this.
"Chiwa? Natsukawa-san? What's going on?"
"I'm sorry Fuyuumi-san, we didn't have time to tell you—actually, this was a rehearsal for our performance act."
"Huh? What does that mean?"
Breaking off Fuyuumi who was in a daze, Masuzu faced the bustling crowd of people and announced,
"We apologize for causing such a commotion so early in the morning. We'd like to thank everyone for helping ｢The Society for Bringing Out Your Maiden Self｣ conduct our rehearsal for our act at the school anniversary festival.
The crowd was synchronized as they all went ｢Huh?｣ with astonished faces.
However, the one who was most astonished was Hime. Her eyes were wide open as she stared at Masuzu's and my face in alternation.
"In other words, this was just practice for the ｢Maiden's Club｣?"
Masuzu nodded in response to Ponytail-senpai's question.
"Actually, we were having a lot of trouble trying to decide what to perform for the school anniversary, so we decided to try all sorts of different things. We're going to pick the most popular parts. Akishino-san's peculiar behavior from yesterday and today, along with Fuyuumi-san's burial outfit, are all part of it—isn't that right, Harusaki-san?"
"Mhmmmm, um, Absolutelyyy~"
Compared with Masuzu's flawless acting, Chiwa still seemed like she was reading from a script. Whatever, there's not much we could do about it.
"B-But, I didn't hear a thing about it—"
"In short, that's the story! Sorry for causing such a disturbance!"
We even managed to get Fuyuumi, who was venting with discontent, to reluctantly bow her head. Then, we all apologized to to the two disciplinary committee members. I'm sorry, Ai-chan. I'll explain to you later.
The entire crowd seemed to lose interest, and they commented as they walked towards the main entrance: ｢Come on? It was fake.｣ ｢I thought they were actually fighting—.｣
It looked like this ｢play｣ wasn't received that well. Chiwa's ｢Fighting Comedy Sketch｣ from last semester had a much better evaluation.
"Well, if it was just practice for the school anniversary, then fine, there's nothing we can do about it…"
Ponytail-senpai looked at each of us in turn, and the anger on her face subsided.
"However, I hope you will put forward an application the next time you make such a large-scale activity. I'll report this to the head of the committee, do you understand?"
"I guess there's nothing we can do about it."
Masuzu shrugged when senpai's gaze came to her.
Although we'd probably get a scolding no matter what, as long as we had the school anniversary as an excuse, we probably wouldn't get any disciplinary action as severe as a suspension. The most important thing was to let the disciplinary committee understand that this wasn't Hime's responsibility by herself. Rather, it was was ｢Jien-Otsu's｣ conduct all together.
Masuzu had thought of this ｢battle plan｣, and it seemed like there would be a minimum consequences for us.
After the crowd and the disciplinary committee members left, only we from the ｢Maiden's Club｣ were left in front of the school entrance.
"Alright, we should get going too."
The moment I put my hand on the blankly staring Hime's shoulder, she violently shook her head.
"Eita, why did you do something like that?"
"You're asking me why? Of course it's because of you—"
"Don't stick your nose in other people's business. I intended to be punished by the world in the first place."
This subtle chuunibyou wording was just like a line one could often find from an anime.
However, this wasn't the kind of language from the performance from earlier. Just one glance at Hime's expression, and I knew it. She no longer had an energetic expression that she wore while fighting. Now, you could say it was a gloomy or sorrowful look.
"What do you mean by being punished?"
Hime did not answer Masuzu's question.
She picked up the fishing rod again and started walking towards the school building with heavy steps. Even the impressive-looking cape that flapped in the wind looked crestfallen.
"Honestly, it makes no sense! What's going on?"
The sleeves of her burial clothes swaying, Fuyuumi's shout sounded like she was about to cry.
I also felt similarly.
The chuunibyou that was displayed earlier was linked by feelings. Hime was able to communicate through her soul, but I didn't understand her feelings. I just couldn't understand.
This made me incredibly anxious.
#5: Eighth-Grade Syndrome VS. Disciplinary Committee President Mayhem
During lunch break.
Without even eating, I went to Class 3 to apologize to Fuyuumi and explain to her the events of this morning.
"I see now, it was all for Himecchi."
In the beginning, Fuyuumi's mouth was shaped like a ｢ヘ｣, but after I finished explaining everything, it straightened out.
Of course, Fuyuumi and I had already changed into our uniforms. There was no way we were going to wear this morning's outfits all day.
"But, couldn't you have told me this from the beginning?! When I was dressed up like that—it was seriously too embarrassing!"
This was probably the first time in Hane High history that a student wore burial clothes to school. Next year, there'll probably be a line in the student manual that will clearly indicate: ｢Wearing white burial clothes or the equivalent to school is prohibited｣ or ｢Bowing prostrate at the school gates is prohibited｣.
"I didn't realize you cared for Hime that much. I'm sorry."
"Well that's obvious, because I'm her master."
Fuyuumi snorted and tilted her chin to the side. Her defiant expression was seriously cute, and I couldn't stop myself from being engrossed with it.
"You're a woman with strong feelings, Ai-chan."
"Even if you say that, it's not going to make me happy!"
"Then what am I supposed to say?"
Fuyuumi heard this and then shot a glance at me from the side.
Then, she extended her hand under the table—from this corner of the classroom, her classmates who were eating lunch wouldn't be able to see anything—and so, she grabbed my hand.
I couldn't help but glance all around us:
"Y-You shouldn't do this! In this sort of place, if someone saw us—"
"I want you to say I'm ｢very cute｣."
"Please say, ｢Ai-chan is very cute｣, okay? I only want Ta-kun to say this one sentence."
Fuyuumi gently twined her fingers and lifted her head to look at me with teary eyes.
"I-I can't, because I have a girlfriend. Also, you're a disciplinary committee member who's supposed to be upholding proper moral conduct…"
"I know that already…"
As she said this, her fingers started wrapping around me tighter and tighter.
"If you don't say I'm cute, then I'm not letting go. You can just have your afternoon classes right here."
"D-Don't say such disturbing things!"
A girl who was eating sandwiches two seats away glanced at us. Thankfully she didn't notice the mayhem that was happening under the table, but I was restless nonetheless.
……I guess I didn't have a choice.
I brought my mouth close to Fuyuumi's ears while she fidgeted like a child. Then, I whispered softly.
"Ai-chan's very cute. I love how you're so considerate to your friends."
The moment Fuyuumi heard this, her cheeks caught a rose-red color and her expression instantly became cheerful and overwhelmingly bright. Underneath the table, she vigorously shook my hand. Oww, it hurts, it hurts. It hurts when you bang my hand against the corner of the table.
"Ai-chan going outside to swing on the high bar——!" 
"A new version!?"
I tightly grabbed onto the table to prevent Fuyuumi from running away. How dangerous. I was nearly yanked away to the athletics fields.
Fuyuumi sat down again and drew her shoulders closer:
"Ta-kun, um that…"
"What? Is there something else?"
The girl from earlier looked at us again, but this time she definitely thought something was suspicious about us. She started whispering to the girl who was eating a bento across from her.
Fuyuumi should have been aware of this, but she kept bringing her shoulders closer and closer.
"Wearing that outfit next to Ta-kun really made my heart pound."
"Yeah, it really made me sweat."
Now that I mention it, it was the same now.
"It was just like a wedding. It made me so happy."
"Remember? I said it before. Didn't I say I wanted to get married at a shrine?"
"So what about it?"
"The burial outfit is white, right? Your clothes were black, Ta-kun."
At this point, I finally understood what she was talking about.
She was referring to how the bride in a traditional japanese-style wedding would wear a spotless white kimono. Similarly, the groom commonly wears a black patterned hakama. The Holy Dragon Knight of Dawn outfit was also black.
"Only you would make that kind of association just from the color! Besides, the only thing similar is the color!"
How obnoxious. So very obnoxious.
Basically it was a wedding between a chuunibyou groom and a bride wearing burial clothes!
"I'll bear with the embarrassment from this morning and consider it a dummy run for our wedding ♪."
"No, I can't take any more."
It looked the students from Class 3 were starting to notice that we were flirting instead of eating. I heard things like, ｢Isn't that guy Kidou?｣ ｢Hey, what's he doing? He has a girlfriend already｣. Not good. If this became a rumor and my ｢girlfriend｣ or childhood friend heard about it, I'd be murdered.
As I was trying to come up with a plan to free my hand and escape, a familiar-looking girl with glasses ran into the classroom. I recognized her as the second-year in the disciplinary committee who stood next to ponytail-senpai at the school gates.
"Ah, Yukinohara-senpai, what's up?"
As her senpai approached us, Fuyuumi reluctantly gripped my hand tightly for a moment, and finally released it.
"Fuyuumi-san, come to the disciplinary committee room immediately."
Glasses-senpai shot a glance at me:
"Akishino Himeka-san was brought to the president."
We walked behind glasses-senpai in the hallway during lunch break. I whispered to Fuyuumi beside me:
"The president is that antenna hair-senpai, right?"
"Not antenna hair! It's Ishige! Ishige Mari-senpai!"
I recalled the the beautiful third-year girl who suffered acute love poisoning from earlier this summer. On the surface she seemed morally strict and proper, but when she went out of control, she was an indescribable person.
As soon as we entered the disciplinary committee room, we found a platoon of disciplinary committee members lined up. The fifteen of them all seemed like totally serious girls, and they had a very overwhelming aura.
Hime was sitting in a chair and surrounded by disciplinary committee members. Although her expression was like usual, I could tell that her knees were trembling ever so slightly. The fishing rod had been propped up on the wall behind her.
Ishige-senpai looked at me with cold eyes.
"This is the disciplinary committee's territory. I don't remember allowing you to come in."
"Since you called Hime here, this is also my problem, because we're companions."
Even if I was actually very afraid, I still stood straight with my chest up. I couldn't let Hime feel uneasy.
"How praiseworthy of you to care so much for your comrade. However, this is a problem for the disciplinary committee of this school, so I hope you won't butt in."
Senpai's antenna hair stood up with a snap. It looked like she was an exceptionally good mood today.
"Himecchi's acted like that for our school's anniversary festival performance, so if you're going to punish her, I think you should include me along with all of the members of the Maiden's Club in this."
Fuyuumi bravely interrupted, but—
"Even so, why was Akishino-san dressed like this yesterday morning? There are eyewitnesses who testified that Fuyuumi-san also seemed very surprised."
We were easily struck back, and I was at a loss of words. It looked like the president was equally merciless with her own members.
Ishige-senpai turned around and faced Hime.
"I wanted to ask you something. Why did you bring that fishing rod to school?"
"If I'm to say it in a way that people from this era can understand, it's to prevent the imminent giant wyvern impact (WYVERN IMPACT)."
Even if it was the same every time, it made no sense at all.
"Why do you have to stop it? What will happen if you don't?"
"The world will change. As the children of Adam and Eve, humanity will be exiled and replaced with Wyvernians that will inherit the genes of the the wyverns. They will be the new rulers of the world."
"Will we be killed? Will all of us be killed?"
Ishige-senpai's antenna hair twitched slightly.
I didn't know when senpai was going to shout, ｢Stop joking around!｣. I felt like I was watching a timebomb ticking down. Fuyuumi also seemed to think similarly, and she seemed to be at her wits end as she approached my shoulder… don't you dare take advantage of the situation and hold my hand!
"I need to be at the center of the wyvern impact in order to save this world. This is the only way to to prevent the Wyvernian invasion. Thus, I must use the holy power (KAMUY) of ｢Raijin Slayer｣ to seal the dimensional gate (GATE) of this school."
"So that's why you brought it from home."
"Even if you're breaking the school rules, you have to bring it? At the worst, you could be suspended from school."
Senpai fired question after question at Hime who had a rather fearful expression.
"Do you have a conscience as a student of Hane High? Do you have any remorse for violating the school rules?"
"A high school student is my false identity. All along, my true identity has been the ｢Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn｣. Even if I'm alienated or hated by the people of this world, I must carry out my destiny."
Hime faced the sharp glare of Senpai and responded squarely, even if she was shaking a little.
During the summer, I saw a similar scene.
When her sister, Yuuhana-san, rejected her interests and talked crap about her friend, Mana, Hime forthrightly spoke out with her thoughts.
However, this time when she seemed to stand up for herself—to me, it looked like it was ｢stubbornness｣ as opposed to ｢forthrightness｣. It was the kind of stubbornness where she wouldn't change the way she thought no matter what they told her.
It was like she needed to affirm her identity as the ｢Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn｣ through external words to convince herself.
When Masuzu said, ｢It's like she's confined herself within her own circle｣, is this what she meant?
"—Do you really intend to continue to insist that you're right?"*
Senpai's antenna hair didn't move at all.
Just like the calm before a storm, Senpai stood with her hands on her elbows as she silently concentrated her stares at Hime. Was she finally angry because of the denpa radiation from this bad student?
I desperately turned my thoughts as I tried to think of something to say in defense. What if I exploded in Chuuniybou like the time I helped Chiwa in front of the station or when I drove away Mana from the clubroom? No, the situation is different than it was then. This wasn't an opponent that I could deal with merely by being energetic.
What should I do—?
"How… How amazing!"
In an instant, Ishige's face blossomed into a flowering smile as she fervently grasped Hime's hand.
"I never knew there was such a serious and just warrior who fought evil right beside me! You protect the world just like we protect justice, right? As the president of the disciplinary committee, I've never had such an honor."
Hime didn't affirm it or deny it, and she stared at Senpai as if she completely forgot what to say. She was completely frozen.
Also, I was thinking, ｢What the hell is going on?｣. Fuyuumi was taking advantage of the confusion and hugging me. Whatever, she can do what she wants.
The ponytail-senpai who was at the school gates this morning gave a dry cough:
"But, President, if you let her boldly carry that kind of rule-breaking item around, it'll be a bad example for the other students."
She was referring to the fishing rod that was leaning against the wall.
Senpai's hair antenna wound in circles as she contemplated a little:
"Akishino-san. Can you leave that Raijin Slayer in the committee room for now? If we go with you say, this school is the dimensional gate that the Wyvernians are going to enter through, right? If that's the case, I think it'd be safer if we protected it here rather than you carrying the sword with you everywhere."
Confronted with Ishige-senpai's easily fabricated ｢setting｣, Hime's stiff shoulders drooped. It looked like she completely lost her will to resist.
And just like this, Hime was excused of any guilt.
Furthermore, she had willingly put down that fishing rod while maintaining her delusional chuunibyou state.
Towards this, Hime was probably the one who was the most surprised.
After Hime was led out of the room by Fuuyumi, I boldly inquired:
"Hey, Ishige-senpai. Did you really believe what Hime said?"
Senpai looked back at me.
Senpai had a smile like a mischievous child who succeeded at a prank when she saw my astonished expression.
"That girl was talking about the plot in ｢Holy Dragon｣ right? I've also read the volumes my little brother bought, and it's a very fascinating manga."
Then, just based on this point, she most likely didn't believe in Hime's delusions.
"Kidou-kun, you've misunderstood us from the disciplinary committee."
Senpai looked around at everybody surrounding her as if she intended to address everyone:
"When one uses force to suppress others and make them follow the rules—this kind of practice is extremely strict, because people do not obey so easily. If we do things to that extent, then there's no reason to give students any autonomy; we'd leave it to the teachers to do the disciplining. If we want others to comply with discipline, we must first respect the ｢freedom of their heart｣. That's the best method. Don't you think so?"
"...Yes, I suppose that's right."
Honestly speaking, I had misunderstood this girl.
Ishige Mari-senpai was truly a ｢disciplinary committee president｣ worthy of Fuyuumi's respect. Her tolerance was so was great, she was nothing like the other disciplinary committee members.
You'll have to work hard to become like that, Ai-chan.
"Oh right, Kidou-kun."
"What's your relationship with Akishino-san? I heard that she was a member of your harem, but what's the real story?"
Her interest was overbearing and her eyes sparkled as she spoke. Uh—basically, she was the love-struck type. Seeing how love was her favorite topic, she really is Fuyuumi's senpai.
Well, if it's her, then I guess I could tell her the truth.
"Akishino Himeka is my ex-girlfriend."
How incredible. Her hair antenna became a question mark. What was her hair made out of?
"She had a lovers relationship with me in a past life, so that's why she's my ex-girlfriend. She's also a companion who fought the Wyvernians with me. I think we had five children, but because my annual income was so low I couldn't put anything in the bank. My life was filled with lots of twists and turns, hahaha."
The question mark shaped hair antenna straightened out.
Senpai pointed with needle-like fingers as if to jab at at my sides.
"Don't joke around you shameless person! Girls, take this boy to the disciplinary room!"
"Why are you doing this to only me?!"
It looked like the only people who could be forgiven for their chuunibyou are ｢beautiful girls｣.
I-It's not fair!
In the disciplinary room, I was very brutally reprimanded by Ms. Ponytail and Ms. Glasses.
Lunch break wasn't even enough for them. After school, I was taken away and severely reprimanded again. In the end, they gave me three 400-word sheets of paper and forced me to write my repentance until the boxes on each page were crammed full.
"C-Can I go home now?"
"Fine, and don't come back."
I was basically dying as I wobbled and left my seat. It was already five o'clock. Was there still anyone left in the clubroom? I guess I should go show my face.
"—If that Natsukawa Masuzu had never set up your club, I would never have been as severe as this."
I heard this quiet complaint from behind my back as I was about to leave the room.
"What does that mean, Densora? What's wrong with Masuzu?"
Ponytail-senpai realized she made a slip of a tongue, and she looked as if she was cursing herself. However, she decided to explain it to me in the end, perhaps because she realized there was no way she could cover it up.
"It's because Natsukawa Masuzu has all sorts of problems."
"Well… you're right about that."
I did think that Masuzu's flaw was that she wouldn't allow other students to understand her.
However, hasn't Masuzu always been playing dirty from behind the scenes? She was always the one to make the plans from behind other's backs.
Just like Chiwa'a ｢Dorara Performance Event｣ and my fight in front of the train station, she absolutely would never show her face in public.
The incident in front of the school gates today was a big exception.
"President doesn't want me to talk about this, and Fuyuumi doesn't know. That's why I hope you won't tell others….."
"I won't say anything. I'm Masuzu's boyfriend."
Ahh, right, Ponytail-senpai nodded. I never expected that my status as the fake boyfriend would actually come into use in this sort of situation.
"Natsukawa Masuzu's guardian is an extremely troublesome person. He doesn't act with the appropriate approaches, and he's interfered with our school quite a number of times.
"Doesn't act with the appropriate approaches?"
"He utilizes his status as a politician in the Hanenoyama city periphery—Masuzu's father seems to be a very influential person."
I remembered something.
Around the beginning of July, Masuzu's little sister, Mana, said something similar: ｢He should know what Suzu's like in school based on the politicians from this area｣.
"Previously, the fight that broke out on campus which was related to her was suppressed down into the dark. No matter what we said, the teachers and administrative staff didn't do anything."
Ponytail-senpai gave a sigh.
She was referring to the incident when Mana charged into the ｢Jien-Otsu｣ clubroom. Indeed, we never received any discipline from any teacher even though it was such a huge uproar.
It was most likely because Masuzu's father stifled it all into the dark...
"President Ishige is a very generous person, so she didn't cling so rigidly to this point, but I personally can't accept it. If something like this happens again, even if someone wants to interfere, I will definitely protect the discipline—please tell that to your girlfriend."
"Because this is a problem between Masuzu and her father, so others shouldn't butt in."
Senpai didn't say anything after that.
I could only speculate—but I felt that there was an entanglement between Masuzu and her father that outsiders couldn't penetrate. It wasn't just about her parents. I knew absolutely nothing about Masuzu's private life.
I could only wait for Masuzu to tell me of her own accord.
#6: Falling from First Place is still Mayhem
After the weekend, it’s now Monday morning.
Today is the day the top hundred candidates get their name posted on the board.
Of course I care about the result, but I have to take care of Hime first.
I thought after all the swordfight, I can get closer to Hime.
But, her last “I wanted to be punish by the world” makes me think twice.
Maybe Hime did all this to make someone angry.
If that’s so, she would wear her chuunibyou clothes today to school.
Although last week the disciplinary committee president showed her mercifulness, there’s a limit to everything. If what ponytail-senpai said is true, they will surely punish the “Jien-otsu” members severly if she did it again.
I left home earlier than usual with Chiwa, and waited for Hime in front of the gate.
“Eh? Isn’t this Ai? What happened?”
Taking the place of the usual ponytail-senpai and megane-senpai, Fuyuumi stood in front of the gate alone.
“Is Fuyuumi waiting for Hime too?”
“N, Not really? It’s just that today’s “Greeting Campaign” is my duty! Morning!”
Fuyuumi blushed, and greeted the other students loudly. Hmm…what a dishonest girl.
While we were standing by Fuyuumi waiting for Hime, we found another dishonest girl. Waiting in the bushes that I hid in yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the silver hair.
The hair slightly jumped.
“Don’t wait there, come here, let’s wait for Hime together.”
“I’m not Masuzu, I’m Summer River Suzuma, a Vietnamese with Japanese bloodline.”
What is with this incomplete tone and weird name?
Chiwa and Fuyuumi suddenly yelled.
“In ‘Pachi Lemon’s’ Popucute test, the “Postcard Maker” who always answer with really weird answers, is it Natsukawa?”
“Summer River is ‘Natsukawa’ huh? I see, that’s really a blindspot…..”
Although I don’t really understand what happened, but the both of them looked as if they received a large impact.
Just at this moment, I saw a bright black-haired girl amongst the students walking into school. A beautiful white skin that can be recognized from afar—the small-framed girl was Hime.
Today there were no bandages.
There also was no cape.
And there was no new weapon to replace the fishing rod.
Earlier than anybody else, Fuyuumi ran to Hime.
She held the dazed Hime’s hands tightly.
“You finally understood, Hime! I was worried you might become a delinquent!”
“I can’t see those clothes anymore—that’s quite a shame.”
Chiwa smiled while joking.
I observed the three, and felt relieved. That’s great, the worst case scenario of Hime getting expelled is avoidable.
“Looks like my strategy worked.”
The Masuzu known as Summer River who was hiding in the bushes stood up, looking the same as usual, but I knew her face is slightly less tensed and she also seemed relieved.
I walked to Hime.
Hime shifted her eyes and mumbled.
Ughhhh, she’s still not back to normal yet?
“Hey, Hime, you are coming to the club room today, right?”
“We still need to decide on the performance for the school festival soon, don't we?”
Even though Chiwa voiced out, Hime’s expression was still unmoved.
“It’s not nice if you pushed her like this, Hime-chan can come if she wants to.”
Fuyuumi smiled at Hime, and Hime smiled back.
“Thank you, master, thank you.”
“With our relationship this is nothing.”
What a touching teacher-student relationship.
If that’s the case, we won’t force her to come.
If Hime can get spirited and come to club activities, we will wait for her, no matter how long it takes.
After putting down my bag in the classroom, I walked to the board in front of class 5 to look at the results.
Although I have confidence, I’m still nervous, especially since this time I paid a lot to attend summer prep class. The feeling of wanting to know the results is making me nervous.
Since Hime’s problem is temporarily resolved, I have to do my own things properly too.
“Ei-kun, are you going to look at the results?”
Chiwa called me after coming out from the restroom between class 3 and class 4.
“Are you going to take a look too?”
“I only wanted to go back to my own class. Speaking of that, my name won’t be up there, will it?”
Chiwa said it as if she didn't really care much while we walked together.
“That’s not for me to say, maybe you got all the multiple choice questions correct?”
“I would rather use my luck at Pachi Lemon’s lucky draw instead of here. The winner gets a super cute Popucute Tote bag!”
Chiwa talked as if exams and magazines’ lucky draws are the same thing. On another note, her results are always at the border of failing.
“This time Ei-kun should be first place too, since you were so hardworking during the break.”
“I don’t know, maybe there are more people who worked harder.”
Although I said that, I didn’t doubt that I can get first place. Even in the tests during prep class, my results don’t really differ from the students from famous private schools.
“Hmm, how should I put it? Should I say it’s the pride of government funded schools’ students? I want to show them that.”
“Whoosh—whoosh—! How cool!”
Chiwa clapped for me, stop that, how embarrassing.
Just like this, we reached the corridor of class 5.
Chiwa, who was looking at the results with me, shouted.
“Pachi Lemon, I should’ve joined the lucky draw!”
I looked at the direction she pointed at, at the hundredth place there was the name “Harusaki Chiwa”. This is supposedly a hundred better than usual, quite a good result.
“You did quite well! You’ll surely improve through the second semester!”
“Hehehe, I don’t know how, maybe my hidden power is released.”
Chihuahua-san put on a fearless face, it’s as if her inner chuunibyou awakened.
However, these kind of things do happen a lot in tests. For starters, the question style is different from the mid semester exams and finals, and the questions majorly being multiple choice questions may also be a factor.
But, this has nothing to do with “Realpowered”, does it……?
Affected by Chiwa, my Chuunibyou strikes again, and I looked at the notice board again.
--Then, I saw an unbelievable sight.
“Eh? Second place?”
Second. Number two.
No matter how many times I looked, the name Kidou Eita is not at the top, but at the second place.
“This, this exam is really weird! Seeing I was placed at hundred, I already felt there was something wrong with it. Don’t mind it! Anyways, second place is already great!”
Although Chiwa said some comforting words, I don’t feel comforted at all.
What I want is the national university medical department’s recoomendation, and this is only given to a student with good results and behavior. Of course it wasn’t stated “only one person may get the recommendation”, but you can see it just by looking at the “Graduates’ Further Studies” which we received after entering the school: in the past ten years, there had never been a year where two or more people got the recommendation.
That’s why second place will not work.
If it’s not first place, it doesn’t mean anything to me.
At the first place is the name of a girl, “Mogami Yura”.
She is in my class, twintails, does not attract attention and feels simple. Her conversation with me is only to the extent of greeting each other, but when Chiwa comes over, I see them talking quite a few times.
“Chiwa, you’re quite familiar with this Mogami right? What kind of person is she?”
“Remember me telling you about the doctor who operated on me last year?”
I nodded, it’s that useless doctor. Although people know him as the best doctor in town, but he’s the useless doctor who told Chiwa to “give up on kendo”.
“She’s the daughter of that doctor. While I was in the hospital I spoke to her a few times and got acquainted. We also hung out occasionally.
Chiwa’s sight shifted to my back, and waved to someone.
I turned back and saw Mogami Yura standing there. She twirled one of her twintails around her finger, stared at the notice board stating that she got first place with a bored expression.
She saw Chiwa and walked over.
“Morning, Chihuahua. This is the first time we met since the second semester started right?”
“Yeah, morning—Yura, what were you doing during the break?”
“Nothing much, just spacing out a lot.”
I can’t help but let out an “ughhh” sound.
To the second place me who was tortured by Masuzu and Fuyuumi’s loss of control, and still have to study as hard as possible, these words of the first place pierced through me like a knife.
“Morning Kidou-kun, so you’re here too, I never noticed you.”
“I’m sorry for not having much presence!”
“Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean it that way.”
This girl speaks in a cold manner, it’s a different way of expressionless compared to Hime.
“Hey, Mogami, what position were you last semester’s finals?”
“Forty maybe. Ahh, maybe also fifty, I can’t remember.
“You improved quite a lot, did you study hard during the break?”
“My mom registered prep class for me herself. But I was mostly spacing out, and I wasn’t really listening.”
“……and this is your study time?”
“Yes, because I hate studying.”
Can she get first place suddenly like this?
So is the result just luck?
Or, is this known by people as “gifted”?
“Yura’s mother is also a doctor right?”
“A mother who only nags me to study every day. Because I come from a family of doctors, so she also wants me to become a doctor.”
I can’t ignore these words as if I hadn’t heard them.
“Then, your aim is also the recommendation from the medical department?”
“It’s my parents’.”
After Mogami finished her sentence calmly, she stared at me.
“’Also’ means, Kidou-kun also wants to enter the medical branch?”
“……no, I, erm……”
I got myself into trouble. It’s not like I want to keep it a secret, but I don’t like people asking.
“Ahhh—that’s right Yura! It’s been quite some time since we went to karaoke, do you want to go this Sunday? Karaoke!”
Maybe she sensed my uneasiness, Chiwa forced her way into the conversation.
“……that’s nice, karaoke.”
Mogami’s eyes shined, she probably likes karaoke a lot.
“Let’s invite Mei-chan and Aocchi too! Let’s talk over there, okay?”
After Chiwa took Mogami away, I stood in front of the notice board without moving for a long time.
No matter what, I looked at the list again and again. Even when the other students said “you’re blocking others” or “move”, I never moved an inch.
The impact I received is just too huge.
High school life is quite long, I can’t remain at first place forever, right? This is just the second semester of my first year, they would'nt decide the slot for the recommendation with just one exam.
I know this very well, I understand this, but I still feel beaten…..
“Aaahhhhhhhh damnnnnnn, goddammitttttt!”
To make up my mind, I stepped passionately and shouted. Although the other students looked at me, surprised, I couldn’t care less. After last week’ s incident at the school gate, my feeling of shame is already numb.
I walked while making my footsteps loud and fast across the corridor, and vowed.
From now on, I need to work harder.
Mid semester exam, wait and see! Mogami Yura!
As the bell signaling the end of school rang, Masuzu talked to me.
“Hey, after club activity today—“
“You want to say ‘let me monyomonyo’.”
“Can I go over to your place and monyomonyo……huh?”
Masuzu’s eyes widened in surprise. Fuh! Finally got you once! However, this is only because Masuzu’s behavior recently is too easy to see through.
“I’m sorry, I won’t be attending club activities for now.”
Masuzu obviously stared at me lustfully, are you that thirsty?
“My results dropped. The result was announced today, I became second place.”
“You, second place?”
Masuzu who was longing for monyomonyo widened her eyes in surprise.
“I need to get back first place on the next exam, so let’s stop monyomonyo for a while.”
“…..Is that so.”
I thought Masuzu would retort me, but she didn’t.
“If that’s the case, then I can’t bother you.”
“Oh, ohhh, do you understand me?”
She is too obedient to be Masuzu, which makes me wonder if there’s anything going on.
And I even prepared myself mentally, for she would probably say “Which is more important, studying or me?” and use the notebook as a shield to force me into following her.
“This is, well, to you, study is—“
Masuzu wanted to say something, but instantly stopped herself.
“What, what happened?”
“Nothing. I just feel that Akishino-san is still not back to normal, if you become weird I won’t be able to take it.”
I don’t know her original intent, but I’ll accept her goodwill for now.
“If you decide on the performance, do tell me, I’ll help out as much as possible.”
“Okay, I’m counting on you.”
Masuzu walked out of the classroom.
Her back feels kind of lonely—it’s probably just psychological effect.
That night, Chiwa came over to make dinner.
Today’s dish is curry. It’s a classic dish, together with potato meat stew and I thought it was nice. Well, to make curry taste bad is hard.
Thanks to her I can focus on studying. I memorized English vocabulary while eating curry with eating the mixed pickles and reading through my book.
“Ei-kun, don’t study while you’re eating, let’s chat—?”
“Oh, no problem. This spiciness hits the spot.”
Chiwa suddenly went silent when she heard this.
I looked at her to see what’s wrong, and Chiwa’s face was serious.
“If the reason you work so hard is for me……”
Chiwa suddenly stuttered and stopped talking. What’s weird is, her behavior is just like Masuzu's right now.
“No, it’s nothing.”
“Is that so……”
I feel like I actually know what she wants to say.
But, I can’t exactly say it out.
I think Chiwa is also unable to do this.
What she wants to say is probably…...my promise with her that night.
The Sunday afternoon after a week.
I invited Fuyuumi and Kaoru, and held a study group at “Jien-otsu” club room. I wanted to use the test answers as a starting point and discuss with the two people who have similar results as me, so it would be easier to set down a plan for later.
Speaking of the results, my English grades are worse than I expected. This must be the reason why I lost to Mogami Yura. “Accumulated subjects” like English and mathematics are a weakness for me who didn’t study back in middle school. Damn! Study study! I will catch up soon!
I went to the club room with a burning passion, but those two were already there. The room which usually only has Masuzu and the girls is really refreshing with Kaoru.
“Hi! Eita, good morning!”
Kaoru said as he flashed his beautiful smile. Why would advertisement companies not use this guy? If it was Kaoru who was advertising for the beverages, even if it is slime many people would still drink it.
“I bought Ta-kun’s favorite coke from the convenience shop.”
There was a bottle with a pink straw on the seat beside Fuyuumi’s. She patted the chair, just like she was saying “come sit here”.
So I sat beside Kaoru.
Fuyuumi stared at me with an “Aaah!?” expression, but instantly drooped her shoulders with an “Okay, nevermind” look and recovered. Then Kaoru—why, why is he blushing? Although that’s cute.
“It, it was unexpected that Eita will drop from the first place, you were in your best form during the prep class’ mock exams.
Kaoru changed the subject rather unnaturally.
“I can’t excuse myself, the difference from middle school is starting to come out.”
“I think the first place is Mogami-san? From the girls’ comments, it looks like she’s really smart.”
“What kind of comments?”
“When they split the bill at family restaurants, she will quickly calculate everyone’s share mentally. Also, she was once approached by foreigners on the street, and was able to point out the direction with English.
“I, I see.”
Listening to these stories of people using practical skills, you can really feel the difference……
“Ta-kun, how were your results back in middle school?”
“At best, they were below average, my English is faster counted from the bottom.
The time when I started studying fervently was at the middle of the second semester of my third year of middle school. It hasn’t even been a year since I made the oath of “Study comes first”.
“Getting the first place under such circumstances is great, that’s my Ta-kun!”
“It’s second now. Also, I’m not yours!”
I firmly reinforced it in the end, but Fuyuumi ignored it, she said “Please eat some snacks♪” and handed over some homemade cookies.
Kaoru forced a smile.
"A-chan, you've totally become Eita's wife haven't you?"
“Today all the other members of the maiden club are not here, so I wanted to flirt as much as possible.”
“Nufufu—“ Fuyuumi smiled dreamily. Damn, inviting this girl might have be a mistake.
“Come, let’s start studying, I’m counting on you.”
Fuyuumi, looking as if she was infected by the lovestruck brains, placed third on the test. In terms of marks she is only about ten away from me, and is especially better than me in maths.
“Okay, leave it to me.”
Fuyuumi, looking serious, took out an A4 size paper from the bag, with some pattern printed on top.
It’s a blueprint of an apartment. Seeing the rent printed on it, it’s probably printed from the website of a real estate dealer.
“This, is an apartment I want to house two people.”
“What do you think? Is paying the rent too much for two university undergraduates getting married?”
“I think it should be possible…”
Including all the fees it’s a hundred thousand yen, if it’s two university undergraduates working, it should be just enough.
“I tried counting. Working at a convenience store of 800 yen per hour for 5 hour, you can get 4000 yen per day right? If you work for five days per week, it should be about 90000 yen per month. That way two people can get 180000 yen.
“Then you can pay the hundred thousand yen rent.”
“But Ta-kun, try to think about it? More than half of the income goes to the rent, life is going to be quite hard. Don’t you think it’ll be quite imbalanced?”
Honestly speaking, I’ve never thought this hard about university life.
“Hey, Kaoru, what do you think?”
“I have a friend who got permission from the school, and is working at a convenience store, four hours per day and he’s already worn out. To study hard and work at the same time in university, I think it’s quite hard.
But if I enter the medical branch, the amount of studying I have to do everyday is a lot, and maybe I wouldn’t have time to work.
“But, I really like this apartment. It’s facing the south, the balcony is wide, and we can also keep a pet.”
Looking at the diagram, Fuyuumi sighed spiritlessly.
No matter how you think about it, it’s unmanly to let your wife show this kind of expression.
Should I say “No problem! Just follow me”—wait.
“What are you thinking about!”
Although it’s too late, I did my best to slam the table and throw the punchline.
Fuyuumi looked as if she was saying “Damn!”.
“Ta-kun hates pets?”
“No no! Go back a bit, back! Before this!”
“Ye-yeah, at this time we should have our own land right.”
“I said no! Listen to me!”
I slammed the table heavily, it hurt, but I couldn't help but slam it.
“You looked so serious and I thought you wanted to say something, but you’re only talking crap! And you made me start counting salary without me noticing! Why did you suddenly talked about future plans, what is this? I’ve never even been on a date with you!”
Fuyuumi leaned over instantly when she heard this.
“Eh? Ta-kun wants to go on a date with me!?”
This and that are two different matters.
I thought she would've be angry or upset, but Ai-chan said “Isn’t that so—?” and laid out her hands.
“Since you already have Natsukawa-san as your girlfriend, we can’t do that openly right? So in this regard I will not cross the line.”
“Don’t say it as if you’re very good.”
Fuyuumi’s lips raised slightly when she heard this, and smiled proudly.
“Hey, you don’t know how much patience I have right?”
Under her smile hides an unexplainable sexiness, and a powerful pressure.
“Ah—I really want to let Ta-kun see my heart—after you see it, you’ll surely be surprised. Because I have a lot of patience, hehe!”
Sometimes this girl says things that will make people’s hearts skip a beat, but isn’t she usually dumb?
Kaoru looked like Buddha throughout the conversation, and after listening to us, he spoke up.
“A-chan is really mature.”
“If I get serious, Chiwa-chan and Natsukawa-san will be pitiful. It doesn’t hurt to let them dream for three years in high school.
Where does your confidence come from, A-chan?
“Ah—not being able to be serious is painful—really～painful.
Fuyuumi Ai tilted her teacup elegantly. Looks like she’s already in a dimension different from us.
“Compared to A-chan, Natsukawa-san looks very unsettled recently.”
“How can you tell?”
That’s Kaoru for you, just a few days into the second semester and he already noticed it?
Her amount of conversation with Eita is significantly higher. Every break time she’s also Eita-kun this, Eita-kun that. Even during class she’ll stare at you spacing out, haven't you noticed?”
I never noticed any of this.
“During Friday’s lunchtime, you helped Akano-san with her assignments right? During that time she also stared at you guys with a scary look. I was afraid that she would run over and grab Akano-san.”
“There’s a high chance of her doing this.”
I remembered Masuzu’s jealous look when we went to karaoke during the summer holidays.
But, she’s even doing this in class.
If it’s the Masuzu from the first semester, she won’t show this type of problem.
“But, I still like the Natsukawa-san now more.”
“Yeah, I think it’s much more cuter than before—more approachable maybe.”
Kaoru smiled and said. If I was a girl, I would definitely fall for his smile.
That Masuzu is cute……really?
Receiving this kind of praise, I feel rather good as a boyfriend.
But, only a little!
The next day, after the sixth period.
Just as I wanted to show up today for the long awaited club activities, our homeroom teacher smiled and told us during homeroom.
“Today we’re going to have our first seat～change of the second semester!”
The classroom was immediately filled with happy and sad screams.
Some think that the current seating is good, but there are probably some who want a change. I think there should be all sorts of opinions, and the girl sitting beside me made a “HUWWAAAAAAA!” —a voice that sounds like it’s from the end of the world.
I look at my “girlfriend’s” face, and her eyes were wide open, mouth gaping, with her hands supporting her chin, and froze with this look.
“Hey, man up.”
I tried to wave my hand in front of her, but it was useless, she had no reaction whatsoever.
The teacher placed what looked like a seating plan created from a specialized software on the blackboard. Just like the first semester, there was no draws, ghost legs or anything like that, just a practical person.
“Only people who have bad eyesight and cannot sit in their assigned position can request to change. Now pack your stuff, start to move in ten minutes—“
About half of the class stood up instantly, and began discussing in front of the blackboard. I will pass, since I don’t have any eyesight problem and I can just check it out later.
“This is bad.”
Wiping the sweat off her forehead, Masuzu whispered to me.
“Wanting to tear us apart, that woman, is she a messenger of the devil?”
Masuzu stared angrily at the homeroom teacher.
“Never mind, it doesn’t matter where we sit.”
“Sitting closer is easier to show off our good relationship right? If we sit far apart then our relationship will also grow apart and there will be enough space for Chihuahua to enter.”
“There has nothing to do with Chiwa right? She’s not even in our class to begin with.”
“She always comes to bug us during break time! Won’t she keep clinging to you? Just thinking that I will not be near when that happens…….Aaahhh, how scary!”
Masuzu’s hands trembled non-stop. It'll be bad if this goes on because if I don’t let her monyo-monyo soon, her addiction symptoms will show and it will be troublesome then.
“Eita, don’t you want to take a look?”
Kaoru seemed as if he already finished looking and talked to me on his way back.
“I’ll wait for the crowd to disperse, since it doesn’t matter where I sit.”
“Aha! How cold—shouldn’t you say ‘the seat beside my best friend is good’?”
Kaoru’s smile instantly froze when he noticed the dark energy Masuzu was releasing.
“Wh-what happened, Natsukawa-san? You seem upset.”
“Wha-what what what? If it doesn’t matter where we sit, then maintaining this seating is not a problem right? Won’t you be lonely or sad away from me? If you want to cry and say sorry and plead for us not to separate you can only do it now. All I say and do is all for Eita.”
Masuzu never noticed Kaoru was calling out to her, and muttered with empty eyes.
Kaoru whispered to me.
“Even changing seats has such a huge impact on her? Eita, you’re really deeply loved—“
“Maybe that’s the case, maybe it’s not.”
“What do you mean?”
Right now Masuzu’s status is “unable to differentiate true from false”, which is not surprising. But in truth we are just a fake couple, and I can’t do anything about it. What I can do is calm Masuzu down, but I can’t let her monyo-monyo here.
Suddenly, “Wuuoooooooaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!” a beast-like roar filled the classroom. Yamamoto-san from the football club knelt on the ground in front of the blackboard, with tears flowing like waterfall, was thanking the Gods. Looks like something good happened.
Thanks to him the crowd dispersed, so I went and take a look. Masuzu too stood up shakily and followed me.
My seat is the last seat in the second row from the corridor. Mmm, not a bad place. It’s far from the air conditioner so it would be a pain when winter comes, but I won’t need to worry about that right now.
Masuzu frozed in place as she looked at the seating arrangement.
I look at her seat, it’s the third seat, second row from the window, quite far away from mine.
Masuzu suddenly raised her hand.
“Miss, my eyesight is bad, so I want to change seat.”
“Ah, if that’s the case, where do you want to sit?”
“Please let me sit beside Kidou-san!”
The classroom was instantly filled with screams and cheers.
Sakagami-san was whistling, Akano and Aoba, the double girls group, were also saying “Awwww—” while looking at us. Dammit, don’t make so much noise you lovestruck brains. And Yamamoto-san, please don’t look at me with that zombie-like face! This isn’t my fault!”
The teacher looked trouble and scratched her head.
“Erm, Kidou-san’s seat is at the back,so it’s even further away from the board compared to yours.”
“Never mind! Because my eyesight is bad!”
“If that’s the case……”
The teacher also knows about my relationship with Masuzu, therefore her request was ignored like “Sorry, lovestruck brain!”, and her seat was changed to the front row, beside the window. Then Yamamoto kicked down the door of the classroom after writing “Humans cannot be trusted” on the board and ran out, how pitiful.
“Eita, ta-take care of yourself! Don’t……forget about me!”
Even while changing places, Masuzu looks like she finds it hard to let go.
"You have to send messages everyday and come over here to play sometime, you must."
"I know, I said I know."
"Take care of yourself, don't catch a cold. I'll stab you a few times if you talk with other girls."
"Why is the last one a threat?"
After getting rid of the clingy "girlfriend", I moved to my new seat.
Sitting to the right of me, is the twintail girl--Mogami Yura.
"Ah, we meet quite a lot recently huh."
Her greeting was cold to the point of annoyance, but my face froze, even I feel I am a bit too conscious of her.
But this is a good chance, maybe I can get some tips on improving my results.
While the homeroom teacher was talking about the contacts related with school activities, I talked to her sneakily.
"Hey, where do you go for prep school over the summer break?"
"Kotegawa's prep class at Yunokawa. Because it's a university prep level course,so it's rather meaningless."
"Really? I wanted to go there, but the fees are too expensive so I gave up. I heard their notes are good."
"If that's the case, then I can give you mine. I probably won't use it anymore anyway."
"Really!? You can give them to me?"
I involuntarily leaned over, but Mogami stared behind me.
"You can have however many notes you want, but just don't involve me in your relationship issues."
She shrugged her shoulders and pointed behind me.
I turned back and saw--Masuzu staring at me from the front seat beside the window, with a fierce expression.
And she was tearing.
She made some gestures violently, as if she was trying to say something.
"What's she doing?"
Mogami tilted her head, puzzled--but Masuzu's gesture was getting more and more violent.
She drew a huge cross before her chest, and made a "Zip up your mouth!" gesture.
She also repeatedly press her mechanical pencil.
The number was accuracte, it's my number of conversation with Mogami.
…...this is too much, Masuzu-san.......
Doing this at the front row, of course the teacher will notice her.
"Natsukawa-san, are you listening to what I'm saying?"
"No! Because my hearing is bad!"
"…....I understand, come to the faculty room later."
Looks like Masuzu will be absent from today's club activity.
"Kidou-san, looks like you're deeply loved."
Mogami said with a surprised voice.
"But, you don't look very happy at all. Why? With such a beautiful lady as your girlfriend,shouldn't you be proud?"
"Because I'm always suffering......"
"So if Chiwa was your girlfriend it would be nice huh."
Mogami smiled as if she saw through everything.
Even if I told her this is not what I meant, she probably won't understand.
It's been some time since I came here, but there's nobody in the club room today.
Chiwa was attending her class' meeting on the performance for the school festival, Fuyuumi had to attend the disciplinary board meeting, Hime was still not coming, and looks like Masuzu's lecture got dragged on and there was no trace of her.
"It's fine, I can study better this way."
My monologue rang around the empty room, sounds like I was acting tough. This place is usually too noisy, so that's probably the reason I thought this way.
After I finished the maths questions, I stretched my body. The evening sunlight that shone through the window was quite deep. Recently the sky darkens pretty fast huh, even though day times are still quite hot, but we should be able to wear long sleeve to school soon.
I suddenly felt a bit cold, and sneezed violently.
"Ughhh......have I caught a cold?"
My throat was sore, and my mouth was dry. Recently I felt like I was lacking in sleep, so I should end the day and go home now.
Just when I was about to go back, I realized that I left my bag of gym clothes in the classroom. Initially I thought it was too troublesome and wanted to leave it there, but the next gym class is tomorrow, so I have to wash it today.
After locking the door of the club room, I returned the key to the faculty room and I walked towards the classroom.
As I was about to enter, I got a fright and stopped in my steps.
Masuzu was inside.
She sat in the last seat beside the corridor--the seat of the girl beside me, Mogami Yura.
She did nothing and just sat there.
She never noticed me who was at the door, sitting alone in the otherwise empty classroom and stared at the blackboard, sitting at the seat that was taken away from her because of the seating change--the seat beside me.
The most beautiful girl in our school wasn't there, nor was the venomous tongue who always made fun of me and Chiwa.
It was a helpless, pitiful, sad, and lonely sight--a lonely girl.
I hesitated slightly, but still talked to her.
Masuzu's silver hair flustered, and look back unnaturally.
I pretended not to realize her surprised look.
"Did the teacher finished her lecture?"
"She finally released me just now."
"Really? Do you want to go back together?"
Just one sentence was enough to bring back life to Masuzu's pale face.
"O...okay. Of course we should go back together, because--I'm the girlfriend.
I smiled and answered. No matter what, I feel happy to see her smile, because she always had a long face recently.
I took my bag of gym clothes, and walked out of the classroom together with Masuzu.
Walking on the corridor dyed with the colour of the setting sun.
"Hey, Eita. This is the school right?"
"This is the place we need to show off our relationship right?"
I made up my mind, and after wiping off the sweat on my hands on my pants, I held Masuzu's right hand.
"Is...is this enough?"
It's really embarrassing, I feel a chill down my spine.
But Masuzu was smiling more and more.
"Yes, this is good, we need to show off to them--huh."
Masuzu was like a child at the amusement park, swinging her hand wildly, I was dragged to the school gate with her.
There was already someone there at the shoe lockers, who was changing into her outdoor shoes.
Coincidentally, the girl was Hime.
We were surprised, and so was Hime. She remained crouched on the ground, and never moved from there.
Because class 1 and 2's shoe lockers were facing each other, this is not entirely impossible.
But why would it happen at this time.......
The instant their gazes meet, Masuzu instantly let go of my hand as if she were throwing it away.
I threw a punchline without thinking.
The one who said "We have to show off our relationship to them" just recently, instantly let go of my hand in front of Hime and this makes me want to throw a punchline.
Because Hime already knew about our fake relationship?
No, even at that time Masuzu was insisting that we were real lovers. That's why, in front of Hime, we should show off that we are lovers more--even if it's just fake.
Hime ran out without saying anything, and she was wearing her indoor shoes, her outdoor shoes lying on the floor.
Masuzu stood still, staring at Hime's disappearing figure outside the school gate.
"…...let's go back."
After putting back Hime's shoes into the locker, I said to Masuzu.
After a long time, I finally got to go home with Masuzu, but in the end, we didn't hold hands.
On the way back, Masuzu didn't smile at all.
#8: Stirred Up Girlfriend's Sister Has Had Enough Mayhem
The next day around noon.
Today I went with Kaoru to eat lunch in the cafeteria because I woke up late and didn’t have enough time to make a bento. This is something that we haven’t done in a long time.
"Eita, are you not feeling well?"
Kaoru anxiously asked as I gave a huge sneeze.
"It's not a big deal. However, I'm awfully sleepy today."
Because I took some medicine this morning, I didn't feel that bad from my cold. But I kept yawning non-stop, perhaps as a side-effect of the medicine.
As we walked in the hallway leading to the cafeteria, we ran into Hime who was carrying a carton of milk and a ham sandwich and walking from the opposite end.
I waved and called out her name, but Hime looked frightened and stopped in her tracks, lowering her shoulders.
I saw how frightened she was, and felt a little hurt.
"A-Are you coming to club activities today? I'm going, so how about we go together?"
"Fuyuumi's also really worried about you, okay? It seems like the business with our school's anniversary isn't figured out yet, so Hime…"
I didn't even finish, and Hime rushed past us towards the classrooms without even picking up her head.
"That girl. I had no idea she could run so fast."
Kaoru said as he stared at the silhouette of Hime's back.
I didn't know where to put the hand that I raised, so I used it to scratch my head.
"She seems kind of fretful."
".....It's my fault…."
As soon as I thought about what happened at the the school gates yesterday, I could feel cold sweat.
What was Hime thinking when she saw us like that? A fake boyfriend and a fake girlfriend so fondly holding hands and walking along. Honestly speaking, I would have also been bewildered by it. Although I didn't mean it, I felt burdened as if I had deceived her for a second time.
I was sudden, but Kaoru gently patted my back.
"Today's lunch is on me."
This kind of purposeful sympathy had an incredible curing effect.
"I…… might as well become gay."
"What's with you all of a sudden?"
"If I were gay, I wouldn't need to deal with all these girl problems. My relationship with Kaoru would be even better as well, haha."
I originally meant to bring it up as a joke, but Kaoru didn't laugh.
He was just like a girl. His fair cheeks suddenly blushed red and he shyly responded:
"......If Eita's mentally prepared for this, then….."
Then Kaoru shook his head substantially.
"Never mind. Let's go. Why don't we go to the cafeteria?"
Pushing my back, Kaoru started walking.
What was he about to say before he stopped?
When school ended, Hime didn’t show up in the club room, again.
"Lately, it's been difficult to get everyone to show up."
Chiwa commented lonesomely as she looked around at all the assembled members. Even though the five of us apart from Hime were here, it still didn't feel like it was the real ｢Jien-Otsu｣.
"Fuyuumi, Hime hasn't been in touch with you?"
"No. When I text her, I don't get any sort of response, so I feel like she's almost hiding from me…..."
Fuyuumi's shoulders drooped quietly.
"How did it end up like this? I thought it was already solved, but did I do something to make Himecchi hate me?"
"You did nothing. This isn't your fault. Absolutely not."
I insisted as I tried to comfort Fuyuumi.
I also didn't know what Hime was thinking.
However, the cause of this was most likely because of Masuzu and me, since she's been strange ever since the first day of the second semester.
Masuzu was probably thinking something similar as she stood motionlessly by the window, gazing outside and seemingly thinking.
"Now excuse me!"
The door to the clubroom was crudely opened, and a ill-mannered blond-haired blue-eyed middle school girl entered the room.
It was Masuzu's little sister, Natsukawa Mana.
Today she didn't have the bodyguard who was usually stuck by her side. Did she come here directly from school? She was still wearing her uniform.
"Wait a moment, why is there a student from another school here?"
Prompted by her role as a disciplinary committee member, Fuyuumi stood up. However, Mana didn't even glance at her as she walked towards her sister without the slightest misgivings.
Masuzu spoke with her gaze still turned out towards the window:
"What are you here for, Mana? I remember telling you that those who are not outstanding maidens cannot enter this room."
"Then Suzu is an outstanding maiden? Don't joke around. You made Hime cry."
Huh!? Everyone, including me, exclaimed in surprise.
Even Fuyuumi, who had never met Mana before, was equally surprised as Chiwa, who had already met her.
Masuzu finally turned her gaze towards her sister:
"You met with Akishino-san?"
"I just ran into her on the way home, so I dropped her off at her house. When I asked her how she doing in the car, she didn't say a word. As soon as I asked her, ｢Did something happen?｣, she burst out crying."
Mana slammed the table and leaned forward, approaching her sister's face.
"In any case, it was Suzu's fault, right?"
Masuzu seemed to be biting back her pain with all her effort.
Even though she was trying her best to stand firm, her heels swayed and she looked as if she was about to fall over. I wanted to go hold her…… but if I did this in front of Mana, Masuzu would be exceedingly furious.
"Suzu, you're just this kind of woman. You always get everyone else caught up in your drama and make everything a total mess. When you said you wanted to return to Japan, it was the exactly the same! You suddenly announced it, and then you suddenly left. Do you know how much trouble you made for Mom?
"When you say 'Mom', you're talking about your own mother, right?"
Masuzu's voice seemed to be exceedingly cold.
“She's not my mother, so when you say I made trouble, what qualifications are there? I hated that person the whole time, but she some how made her way into our family nonetheless."
Some soft mumbles slipped from Chiwa. At least she could vocalize something. Fuyuumi stood there blankly with her mouth wide open, and I probably had a similar expression.
Even though I guessed that the Natsukawa family situation was very complex, I never expected it to be this this severe…...
"Hmph—so that's how you thought, huh."
Mana's eyebrows twitched.
"So because of that, you're entitled to trample over people’s feelings and torment others? Well, I'm a different story. Even though we're only half-sisters, we still have a blood relation. However much you hurt me, I'll hurt you the back the same. But—don't get other girls like Hime wrapped up into these things!"
Mana ferociously slammed on the table and her pigtails jumped abruptly.
Masuzu angrily glared at her sister who had a different hair color than her and spoke:
"You think you can act the role of the good guy? Mana, I heard about your famous reputation at your girl's school. I heard you have many followers, and you're called, "Her Majesty the Queen"? I'd say you've wielded the influence of the Natsukawa family name to get whatever you want."
"Yes, that's exactly right, but what's wrong about that? As soon as I say I'm a daughter of the Natsukawa family, all these girls start fawning over me. Those who have money are great. Those who have an impressive family pedigree are great. They're just girls who have this system of values, right? With that respect, I am NUMBER ONE—why is it wrong that I lead them?"
"Even so, you used money to fix Hime up. I suppose you're an expert at this?"
"—If I could do that, I would have done it long ago."
Mana's pitch suddenly lowered.
Her tightly rolled fists trembled nonstop.
"If I could give her beautiful jewelry, take her to fine restaurants, bring her to high-end beauty salons, and if that would make Hime happy, I would have done anything. However, that girl isn't that sort of person. She isn't like me, she has her own world. So… so, I have no idea what I can do to make her feel better. It's impossible to rely on me for this!"
On the floor, drip after drip of teardrops stained the ground.
Tears were rolling from Mana's face, and it was soaking the floor the clubroom.
To Masuzu, this was a bigger blow than being struck or being yelled at. Her steps finally weakened, and she leaned against the wall for support.
"Why... are you... crying……?"
"Be-because Hime… is the first friend I ever made."
When Mana said this, her beautiful face became a mess with the tears and snivel.
I quietly extended a handkerchief, but it was quickly flicked down with a quick retort, ｢Idiot, I don't want it!｣.
"I'm sorry, Mana."
"What do you want, you disgusting otaku? Are you also involved?"
I picked up the handkerchief, and placed it on the table where Mana could easily reach it.
"Chiwa and Fuyuumi, please listen too. This time, it was all my fault. I… made a lie, and that's what made Hime like this. That's why it was never your fault."
I didn't mention Masuzu's name.
Even though Masuzu was also an accomplice and should take responsibility as well… but for Masuzu who looked like she was just about to cry, that would’ve been too cruel.
It's the boyfriend's responsibility to protect his girlfriend.
"This Saturday, I'm going to talk with Hime. Can you please give me a little time?"
"Please," I bowed my head.
After a little bit of silence:
"I understand, Ei-kun. I won't ask any questions. Do your best."
Chiwa smiled like she usually did.
"Although I'm a good for nothing as her Master, I'll leave it to you Ta-kun, please."
Fuyuumi spoke with a hoarse voice. It looked like she had sympathized and started getting teary after being affected by Mana's tears.
"If Hime doesn't get better after this, I'll run you over with a bicycle."
Mana angrily glared at me with a frightening expression. Could she even right a bike yet?
"I've also… prepared myself mentally."
Masuzu used her way of speaking to shield me.
And just like that, it was determined that I would represent the ｢Outstanding Maidens｣ to meet Hime, even though I was a male.
No, because I was a male, I was the one who had to do it.
#9: Receiving Guests with Girls at an Old Hotel is still Mayhem
The weather was sunny and cloudless; although, it was a little chilly since it was only ten o'clock in the morning.
I left home and headed towards the address of Hime's home that Mana gave me.
Originally, Mana repeatedly insisted that she wanted to come, but she eventually agreed to let me go talk first. Besides, if Mana had come along, everything that I wanted to talk about would become complicated.
I got on a bus towards the foot of Hanenoyama Mountain in front of the train station. Even though it was noon on a Saturday, the bus was full. Apart from me, all the passengers were either carrying a mountain climbing backpack or a canteen. They were dressed as a group of people who were going out hiking. When I was in elementary school, I also went hiking, but I had no idea this was such a popular place of interest.
As I got off at the bus stop, I saw a sign with ｢Akishino Hotel Ahead｣, which had Hime's family name in it. Around me were these huge walls that surrounded a massive flower garden. Since this wall was way too long, I had no idea where the gate was. It was just like the proverb: ｢Even if you know where the house is, you may not know where the door is｣.
I had no choice. I could only follow the family that also got off at the same stop as me. This family was heading towards the building that was clearly used as a hotel, so I figured I'd ask the reception desk what was Hime's address.
When I entered the entrance hall that seemed just like a samurai's residence taken out of a history book, an elderly lady came and very naturally received the guests and led them to the reception desk; as for me, a young girl came to receive me. Was she still learning the job? Based on her gaze and footsteps, she looked extremely nervous. However, she was really cute, and she was probably the same year as me. Her skin was fair, and the luster of the black hair that hung behind her was...
"Wait a minute, you're Hime!"
I didn't recognize her right away, since she was wearing a kimono.
Hime also seemed to realize it was me, and her posture suddenly became motionless and rigid within a flash. I was the same. I had no idea I would run into her in this kind of place. On the bus, I had even thoroughly thought about how to ｢start the conversation｣, but now my mouth was completely frozen.
Hime was the first to recover.
"Eita, why are you here?"
"A-aah. I heard about your situation from Mana, so I wanted to talk to you."
This direct statement was the truth.
Hime lowered her head to think for a little bit, and then spoke.
"It'll be lunch break soon, so can you wait a bit for me in my room?”
Hime nodded slightly, and then explained this to the elderly lady who had been staring at me with this inconceivable expression from behind us this entire time.
"Oh my, it's Miss's friend? How impressive."
The receptionist examined me once carefully from head to toe, and then gave a pretty satisfied smile. However, I was totally engrossed in how Hime's face had blushed shyly red after being called ｢Miss｣ in front of everyone.
I was welcomed into the hotel by the receptionist, and we used the worker's entrance to go outside. We passed through the flower garden, surrounded by the back of the wall that I saw earlier from the outside. It definitely was a magnificent home that didn't lose to the hotel at all.
"Please wait here. I think it will probably be around 15 minutes before Miss will come."
After the receptionist left me in front of Hime's room, the anxious feelings suddenly resurged.
This was the first time I was entering a girl's room, apart from Chiwa's.
Also, I was the only one who was going in.
It almost felt like I was violating some unspeakable moral standard.
What kind of room was Hime's like?
Option A: It could be decorated full of anime posters and action figures; the archetypical otaku's room… would a girl's room be similar to a male otaku's?
Option B: There'd be cloth decorated with magic spells or tarot cards, and there'd be decorations like crosses and so forth. ｢Black Magic Chuunibyou｣-type room. In this kind of situation, the curtains would definitely be black, and the room would be lit by candles; her parents would probably be angry about it.
Option C: Everything is pink, and it'd be a room covered with female hormones. Even though this didn't match with Hime's personality, we couldn't eliminate the possibility that her room could be decorated with different hobbies.
I held my breath as I touched the ice-cold doorknob. Then, I said, ｢Excuse me｣, as I entered the room, although I didn't know who I was talking to.
As soon as my eyes adjusted, the first thing I took in was shelves packed tightly with manga and light novels. Because it was so neatly and finely arranged by publisher or category which made it look so natural, it really made one wonder if it really was an indoor decoration.
Towards the right was book shelves. Towards the left was book shelves. The 15 square meter room was crammed full with books. There was simply no decorations, so it looked like Hime only hoarded written works (CONTENTS).
"It feels… awfully nostalgic."
There was the scent of paper, along with manga magazines that were never thrown away and saved. Even new issues that didn't even have the plastic wrap opened were piled together.
It was exactly the same as my room in middle school.
In comparison with the overwhelming collection of books, the small and neat desk only had a single picture frame, which contained the group photo from the summer training camp. That was a picture when the five of us from ｢Jien-Otsu｣ were all smiling together.
I remembered there was also a picture I took together with Hime and me only, but she hadn't put that one on display.
The picture of the southern sea that Hime liked was placed as a decoration on the side—
"Eita, are you there?"
Along with a light knocking on the door, Hime entered while dressed as a female receptionist. On a tray, there was a teapot and tea cups, along with Japanese-style steamed buns.
"Was this the way of a female hotel receptionist that your older sister mentioned earlier?"
"No, this is just me helping out. That's all."
Hime looked very shy as she lowered her eyes and helped me pour tea.
As we ate the home-made hotel steamed buns as refreshments, we silently drank tea.
I was the one who came to talk, so it was definitely up to me to start the conversation, but going on like this wasn't bad at all.
Together with Hime, we slowly and peacefully drank tea.
This kind of situation was rare, since we were always surrounded by some sort of commotion.
The person who broke the silence was Hime.
"Hey, Eita, what's the difference between real and fake merchandise?"
Hime grabbed my hands and brought them to her chest over her kimono.
Despite being forced to do such a shocking thing, I somehow didn't have any dirty thoughts. As I was contemplating this, Hime's expression became increasingly earnest.
"Whenever I'm together with Eita, my heart keeps pounds like this."
Hime pressed my hand against her chest with force, as if to say her heartbeats could somehow be transmitted through.
"Is this feeling real? Or is it fake?"
I moistened my dry lips and then spoke.
"What makes you think like that?"
"During the ｢OreDere｣ competition, President and Eita looked like an incredible couple. I thought that, ｢I can't compare at all｣. You two kissed so beautifully, yet it actually turned out to be fake. It was unexpectedly an act, but I couldn't believe it. However, if that was all a lie, and if that was all made up—"
Hime let go of my hand and gave a lonesome smile.
"Then, I'm never going to believe in love again."
Perhaps right now, Hime's circumstance was the same as Masuzu's.
She couldn't distinguish between real and fake, and was confused.
—Yes, it's absolutely true. Love is all completely a lie.
It's a kind of fever or epidemic disease. As soon as the passion retreats, a couple will immediately betray, abandon, and detest each other. In the end, only hollowness is left.
That's what I originally planned to say.
｢I never wanted to get involved in any sort of love｣. That's what I originally wanted to say.
—However, this was only the ｢twisted sentiment｣ that only Masuzu and I shared.
There was no reason to wrap Hime up in this game of anti-love people. Even if it's Hime, sooner or later she'll graduate from her chuunibyou—she'll forget about this Holy Dragon Princess of Dawn business and eventually find another person she likes.
That's why I decided to talk about something else.
"Chiwa well, towards me…… she says she loves me. She always tells me, ｢I love you｣."
"I know. I heard that Chiwawa confessed to you, Eita, but you rejected her."
That damn Chiwa, did she tell this to everyone?
"The way I currently live my life is all thanks to Chiwa. After my parents vanished, I became just like a zombie. She was the one who gave me a goal. Right now, the thing that supports me is the promise I made with Chiwa.
"That isn't love?"
"Whatever you call it doesn't matter."
"Can you prove that this feeling isn't a lie?"
"Even if it were a lie, it doesn't matter."
I firmly asserted.
"To me, the only thing that's important is the promises I keep right now. It's the exactly the same with my contract to be Masuzu's fake boyfriend. It's the same as that."
"Eita's awfully cool. You're just like a real Holy Dragon Knight of Dawn."
"No way. I'm just villager A."
"No, what I mean is—"
Hime stopped in the middle of her sentence.
"When we had a meeting when Eita wasn't there, we made an agreement with each other. We were all comrades who liked Eita and we had to be cooperate with each other. Chiwawa, President, and Master all said it, you see……"
"Something like that happened? No wonder."
The reason for Chiwa's absurdly positive interaction with Masuzu finally made sense.
"I love the ｢Maiden's Club｣ that has everyone, so I don't want to destroy it. If I expose the fake relationship between President and Eita, the ｢Maiden's Club｣ will certainly shatter. That's why… even if President doesn't stuff and cover up my mouth, I won't say anything."
"It's because Masuzu is the kind of person who doesn't trust anyone."
"Even towards Eita?"
"For a person like me……"
I unconsciously exposed a wry smile.
"For a person like me, she trusts the least. In order to prevent me from exposing my relationship as the fake boyfriend, she's always constantly threatening me."
"......I didn't feel that was the case."
"What do you mean by ｢didn't feel｣?"
Hime stared straight at my eyes.
"I think that President is scared just like me. I felt that she was afraid of being discarded by you, Eita. That's why she tries to forcibly bind you."
Perhaps that was the case.
Hime saying this was the first time I ever considered it.
The explanation I had used to explain Masuzu's unsteady mood was that she could ｢no longer tell the difference real or fake｣.
This explanation was definitely true.
However, if it was ｢not only that｣?
If there's no way for her to be a couple with me, and if this ｢terror｣ itself could make that girl get lost and disoriented.
…...How was this different from real love?
"I want to confirm if President's feelings are real."
Because of Hime's voice, I was dragged back to reality.
"However, that girl rarely speaks the truth with anyone. You never know if she'll use a lie to get past it."
"Even so, I want to believe in President. This isn't for the President. It's for myself."
Hime's hands on her thighs turned into fists as she spoke.
"That's why, I need to fight with President."
#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?
#11: Masuzu's True Self
After she split up with Eita at the playground.
Natsukawa Masuzu harbored a deep anger within her heart as she rushed home.
"That idiot Eita! Fool! Virgin! Stupid! Idiot! Blockhead!"
As she repeatedly shouted these insults, she returned to the apartment where she lived alone and pressed the power button on her beloved laptop.
While she waited for the computer to boot up, Masuzu opened a locked drawer and took out an old-fashioned notebook.
This was the ｢Chuuni Notebook｣ that was stuffed full with Eita's black history.
"Hehehe, hahehehehe, hehehehehehehehehehehe."
Muffled laughter spilled over from her stiff lips. Although it felt so undignified, she couldn't refrain from it.
Starting now, Masuzu planned to scan the images of this notebook and distribute it on the Internet with every method she knew of. She wanted to to take Eita's embarrassing thoughts, miserable past, and boring dreams and release them all over the internet. Once it was out, she wanted to make him suffer an injury so extreme that he'd never be able to walk outside again.
Her heart was brimming with wicked happiness, but somewhere deep in corner of her heart, there was this unsure thought:
—How did it end up like this?
Even during Akishino Himeka's ｢challenge｣, she never felt this kind of feeling.Even if Himeka threatened to tell everyone about the fake relationship, Masuzu figured she'd coax a plan and net Himeka along with Eita all over again. She'd construct a new ｢fake relationship｣.
It was a calm yet brazenly sly.
In the past, she tricked the adults just like this. She survived in a Swedish society where demons and monsters bossed each other around while whirlpools of Machiavellian tactics popped up everywhere? What sort of threat was one chuunibyou high school girl? It wasn't even worth mentioning.
Even if this was the case, because of that one line, all of her plans crumbled.
｢Because President—You actually love Eita, right?｣
"That can't be……"
Her own voice was trembling right now, and Masuzu couldn't admit it. She could only deny her own feelings.
She denied those warm and radiant feelings that were lying dormant within the depths of her heart.
—What? Why Eita? Isn't he just an ordinary guy?
—He's inelegant and uncool. He's also an otaku.
—Even when I talk roughly and grouchily, he always listens politely. He's so useless.
—And he frequently cries out when things are unjust or makes him feel discontent. He's passionate on every aspect of this.
—He's indecisive, and is always hesitating. But when he makes a decision, he's unwavering.
—More importantly, he's a boy who can keep up with my JOJO references.
—Most importantly, he's a person who will scold me.
"Aaahhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
Masuzu felt a pain like a knife twisted in her heart.
She wanted to eliminate those warm feelings that were springing up from her heart, but she kept feeling those stabs of pain again and again.
It was enough. Just release it all.
Whatever, just release it all. Like this, it would all be over all in an instant. Eita's high school life would be over and all of her relationships would be over and no longer be fixable. ｢Jien-Otsu｣ would also crumble apart. In an instant, it'd turn into a pile of ashes. It didn't matter. Even if it became like that, none of it would have mattered at all.
Removing several levels of protection, she took out all of the notebook images from its hidden folder.
As she looked at the thumbnails arranged in columns, Masuzu gave a gloomy smile.
She clicked on a few images to examine as she decided which ones she would upload first.
(The Short Essay on Promised Victory)?
Or (This Thoroughly Rotten World)?
Or (Four Beautiful - Dance - Angels who Protect Me) wasn't bad at all. That time, his expression was priceless.
When she sorted the images systematically by date and began searching for the funniest entries, Masuzu's hand stopped.
The date on the notebook entry was that day.
After this date, the next entry was a month later.
The new handwriting was totally different from before.
With great difficulty, she arrived at the words that were written on the last day of the diary. The handwriting was coarse and ugly.
That's when Masuzu realized that her cheeks were wet.
The browser already had the upload window open. Here, she could upload multiple images and the paste the links on the appropriate message boards. Then she'd give it all sorts of publicity, and it'd all be out.
However, the finger that hovered over her mouse didn't move for the longest time.
Only tears flowed steadily and dripped nonstop from her eyes.
Her fingers didn't want to move.
At that moment, the doorbell rang.
It was probably some solicitor, so Masuzu ignored it.
The doorbell rang three times before it stopped. After a short pause, the sound of ｢ka-cha｣ echoed through.
That was the sound of a key being turned.
Masuzu exclaimed in surprise, and stood up.
Could they have broken through the door? No, that was impossible. This apartment had electronic locks, so if they weren’t a resident or an employee from the administrative business office, then the elevator wouldn't even operate.
This person had the key to this room.
Masuzu knocked over her chair as she stood up and ran towards to the front door.
S-She's, finally back!
When Masuzu became a stage prop for her father and left the country, her mother vanished without a trace. She figured that if she waited in the room where she grew up when she was little, her mother would come back. Masuzu always believed in this all along, and today was the day. On the day she wanted her to come back the most, her mom came back. She really is my mother. I love you. I love you. I love you—
However, the person standing there was not her mother.
The man that Masuzu wanted to see the least on this entire planet was standing there with a smooth smile emerging from his face.
"You look terrible. Were you crying?"
He still had a very youthful appearance and probably looked no older than thirty. He wore a neatly fitted and high-class suit that was clearly specially tailored. He also had a friendly smile.
"I heard from Mana about the approximate circumstances. Didn't I tell you this already? You don't need club activities, boyfriends, or anything like that."
Her father gently stroked his daughter's tear-stricken cheeks as he spoke.
"You just need to stay by my side forever."
#12: Witness. Mayhem. And then...
I wore a dark set of armor, and ran into the azure sky gifted with the godly rays of the Sun god.
“But, this equipment is not meant to be used to battle humans, right?”
To let others see my cool shirt, I flapped my cape, and posed against the electric pole. A bunch of elementary students pointed at me and questionably said,“What’s that?”. Whatever, I don’t really care.
It’s eight in the morning and this is a road that is bustling with students and working people.
Of course, I attracted a lot of attention. It can’t be helped, this “black” is too full of spirit, it will attract the attention of commoners. In order to not be too attractive and force female pedestrians unconscious, I have to walk carefully.
“Weird, isn’t that Eita from the Kidou house?”
“He looks so cool, totally like he’s back in middle school.”
Nichoume’s Tanaka-san was watering plants in front of her house, and was talking with Suzuki-san.
That’s right, I’m back to my old self.
This wasn't like the performance a few days ago in front of the school gate.
To fight the Wyverns again—I had return to my true form!
“Hey, Mom, that onii-chan is really black!”
“Mmm, really black, so don’t point at him, okay?”
“What’s that? It’s only September and he’s wearing a coat and wool gloves?”
“Oh no, I'll laugh for sure. If I laugh, I’ll surely get beaten up before we make eye contact; let’s walk faster.”
High school girls walked away while laughing silently. Fufufu, poor girls. It’s normal that you don’t understand my truth. That’s right, for normal people, ignorance is bliss.
“This is impossible! Am I stupid ahhhhhhh?!?!”
I flung my clothes hanging line to the floor and it broke. The setting was it is able to slaughter millions of wyverns, but when the opponent is mere tar it already broke.
It’s still too embarrassing.
I thought that after doing this a lot in school, I would be immune to it, how naïve. Embarrassing things are still embarrassing.
“What are you doing? Ei-kun.”
Someone called out to me and I turned around. Standing there was Chiwa.
“You’re wearing this again, is it another battle? Things didn’t work out with Hime?”
“No, that went quite well. But…”
As a side effect, that chuuni-notebook should be out by now.
My high school life is over. The school’s number one harem king, what will happen when this name is associated with “shameless dreamer”? I can’t even bear to imagine.
I’d rather announce this myself before Masuzu spread it out.
Initially, this is what I thought…
“How weird, what happened to you, Ei-kun? Are you not going to school?”
“…I’ll go and change…”
In the end, I didn’t have a resolution.
Yeah, I guess this was inevitable..
If I can solve it like this, I wouldn’t have been her fake boyfriend!
After reaching school, I saw that Masuzu’s seat was empty, and her bag wasn’t there.
She wasn’t here during morning assembly. The homeroom teacher told us “Natsukawa-san is absent today”, my death is pushed back by a day.
…Maybe, it's already out on the internet?
I tried searching for my name during break, but I didn't get any relevant results.
Did Masuzu really do it?
The classmates around me are still looking at me normally today, but they will probably be smirking at me tomorrow. Although I have made mental preparation, it hurts to think about it.
“My head hurts…”
“What happened, are you sick?”
Mogami Yura, who was beside me, looked at me. Although I feel like I caught a cold recently, the reason my head is hurting right now is not this.
“That’s right, the teaching material I talked to you about a few days ago, I brought it.”
This is a gift that makes me happy when I’m down.
I instantly got up with a happy expression and Mogami looked at me, slightly stunned.
“It’s good to be hardworking, but you still have to take care of Chiwa.”
“What do you mean?”
“Because that girl, she hasn’t given up on you, did you know that?”
My heart can’t help but race.
“Chiwa, Chiwa said that?”
“Anybody can tell this. Ahh—how annoying, such a slow nerd."
Dammit! My greatest enemy telling me this?
I will completely study through this material. I will surely defeat you, mid semester tests!
I was the first to arrive at the club room, and while I was doing the questions, two different footsteps approached.
The door was open energetically.
“—what, it’s only Ei-kun.”
“Hime isn't here yet.”
Accompanying the disappointed voices was Chiwa and Fuyuumi.
“Don’t be so excited, you two.”
“What are you talking about, Ei-kun, aren't you pretty calm?”
“You talked with Hime-chan yesterday right? How did it go?”
“I said not to be excited… listen to this and you will see.”
A third footstep rang from the corridor.
The sound was different from the two, very soft, and the door was opened softly.
“Lo-long time no see…desu.”
Hime’s red face sticked out from the door.
Chiwa ran to her, yelling,“Caught you!” and dragged Hime into the club room.
“Hime-chan! You’re finally back!”
“I’ll never let you go again Hime-chan! Don’t you ever run off to somewhere else!”
I felt that it was exaggerated, but this is what they call a touching reunion. Fuyuumi was already tearing up.
I walked to Hime, who was in pain from the strength of their hug.
“Is everything okay now? Hime.”
“No problem. I managed to defeat the wyverns. So I decided that there isn't a problem in undoing Genocide Mode, and got permission from the Hyperdimensional Body; from today onward I may return to normal.”
Looks like she is all back to her original self. Hime with a little chuunibyou is really cuter.
“Oh yeah, bucchou is not here?”
“Yeah, she was absent today.”
“Is that so…”
Hime’s expression was slightly dark, and tilted her head.
“You don’t have to worry too much, she will be back tomorrow.”
Even if I said that, I was really worried. And also the stuff about the notebook, if she takes tomorrow off as well, I should just go to her apartment straight away.
Fuyuumi suddenly remembered.
“This isn't related to Natsukawa-san's absence, we should decide on the school festival’s presentation soon or things will be bad.”
“Hmm—can’t we do something like a yakiniku stall?”
“As I said, it’s because you want to eat it yourself, isn’t it? Think harder.”
“But, we don’t have time to think anymore, do we? I still have a performance to take care of in my class.”
The school festival is at the end of October, if we take into account the mid semester exams before it, time consuming performances are probably impossible, we have to decide on it now.
“No problem, I thought of one.”
Hime raised her hand strongly.
“I want to open a café.”
Should I say this suggestion is safe, or very normal?
“Recently I’ve been helping out at home as a waitress. Although it’s hard, when the customers express their gratitude, I feel really joyful.”
Although Hime was embarrassed, her voice sounds excited.
“If I was that happy in my own family business—if I do it with Eita and you all, I will surely be happier!”
The three of us can’t help but look at each other.
Then Chiwa smiled and spoke up.
“A café is quite a good idea! I can also make simple food, and can make cute uniforms to serve the customers!”
“I agree too, Hime looks cute as a waitress.”
“Eita, don’t tease me.”
A red-faced Hime slapped me on the back. Ohhhhh, how cute! This reaction is new!
“Does master agree too?”
I stole a glance at the silent Fuyuumi, she was covering the corner of her eye with a handkerchief while sobbing.
“Master, why are you crying?”
“I -I am not crying! I am definitely not happy because my student grew up!”
Despite what she’s saying, her handkerchief was wet. This girl, just how easy does she cry? What an emotional woman.
“Then Fuyuumi, do you agree with Hime’s suggestion?”
“Of course I do. Everyone think up of different dishes, or make our own uniforms, that’s a café like our style. Our aim is, of course, the first place!”
So this is the plan, it does look interesting.
“Then, we just need to wait for Natsukawa’s approval!”
Chiwa said that, and this is the problem.
“Doesn’t Masuzu hate this kind of stuff? She doesn’t like to be the center of attention.”
“A waitress isn't the only position right? She can just help out in the kitchen.”
Fuyuumi said that, but—
“Don’t you remember what happened at the summer training camp?”
“...sorry, please forget what I said.”
Looks like Fuyuumi remembered the poor potatoes and onions.
“Bucchou can’t be in the kitchen.”
Hime said with an out-of-character strong voice.
“Bucchou has a lot of male friends in the school. If we want to aim for the first place, I believe bucchou must be the waitress.”
What Hime said made sense, but because this is the case, I think Masuzu won’t agree to this.
“Anyways, let's convince her when she come to school, okay?”
We decided to do so as Chiwa said.
The next day, Masuzu was absent yet again.
After the short class meeting before school ends, I asked the homeroom teacher in the corridor. All I got was she was absent for “family reasons”.
If she was absent because of a cold, I wouldn’t have cared that much.
But when it’s “family reason”—because I know her family issues, I felt unease.
“Do you know anything about it? Like who was the one who called?”
“Because it wasn't me who answered the call, I don’t know much.”
As I was just about to ask,“Please tell me who the person who answered the call is.” I sneezed. Looks like I’m rather feverish today, maybe the cold is at a level where commonly sold cheap medicine can’t cure.
“Hold on Kidou-kun, your face is red huh? Did you catch a cold?”
“It’s nothing, there’s no need to worry.”
I bowed to the homeroom teacher, and walked away.
Compared to a cold, I'm more worried about Masuzu.
If this is the case then I’ll just go to her apartment, I want to ensure that she’s okay.
Thinking back, when I left at the park, she was unusually scared and messed up. Because it was Masuzu, I wasn’t that worried... but shouldn’t I have realized it earlier?
These past two days I sent her a few messages, but she hasn't replied.
I felt unease.
I ran out of the gate after packing up, but before I even ran a hundred feet, I crouched by the road.
Dammit! I got tired so fast.
And I was dizzy from the fever. Did the virus spread through the body because I ran?
I dragged my heavy body after me, white collars who happened to passed by stopped me with a startle look. “Are you okay? You're sweating a lot.”
“It’s nothing”, initially I wanted to laugh it away, but my feet instantly gave out. I feel like sleeping, if this goes on I might sleep here.
The white collar halted a taxi, and I was sent home.
I have no other choice, I will just sleep on the sofa for a while before going to Masuzu’s house.
If I sleep, my cold will surely get better.
When I woke up, in front of me was a teary faced Chiwa.
“What happened, Chiwa?”
I tried to talk. But I got taken aback by my voice—such a heavy nasal voice. Dammit, did my cold got worse?
As I sat up, the wet towel on my forehead rolled down. On the table was a bucket full of ice water. I looked at the clock, it was already six in the evening, and it was already starting to darken outside.
“Ei-kun, your fever is quite serious huh? Your face is red, you’re sweating profusely; this never happened when you grew up. You never caught a cold back in middle school, you’ve been too rash recently.”
“Were you taking care of me?”
“This is nothing. I just called Saeko-san, I think she will return soon.”
“Why would you do this, this is too much.”
After September I only saw Saeko-san twice. She must be busy with her work during this period, but she has to come home for me.
“If Saeko-san comes, let her bring you to the hospital, okay?”
“I can go tomorrow, I have somewhere to go.”
Chiwa stopped me when I was standing up.
“You cannot move! You’re still feverish!”
Just wait for an hour, I will be done soon.”
I have to check on Masuzu, I won’t feel at ease without listening to her venomous tongue and bashes. I want to listen to her cold voice scolding me,“Why are you here? I’m planning about how to spread your notebook” or lines like this—as if. I will surely be relieved with this.
“Okay please let me go, I have something I definitely have to do.”
“No no no! I definitely won’t let you go!”
Chiwa and I pushed each other on the sofa.
I, who was supposed to be stronger as a male, couldn’t muster my strength because of the cold. Although I managed to stand up, but I'd already used up my strength, and couldn’t push Chiwa off me.
Before I noticed it, I was already leaning on her by pushing her against the wall.
Chiwa stared at me with red eyes.
“You have to go no matter what?”
“Then, at least, pass the cold, to me.”
Transparent tears welled up from her eyes, and rolled down her cheeks.
“Pass it to me, please, Ei-kun……”
Why are you crying, Chiwa.
Why do you have to cry, I don’t understand.
“It’s always Ei-kun who makes me cry, idiot.”
Chiwa’s hands which were hugging me brought my head closer.
Two breath-liked voices overlapped.
Tear-smeared soft lips touched mine.
And as I moved my face away, startled, Chiwa said with a teary smiling face,
“I do these kind of things when you’re not prepared.”
Although I was wondering what did I “um” about, but I can’t think of any other things to say. I can’t think normally already. My brain’s core is already numb, my forehead and lips were blazing, numb.
My knees gave way, and I fell into the sofa once again.
I am already out of strength.
“I'll wake you up when Saeko-san comes back, so you can sleep for a while more.
Looks like, today, I won’t be, able to go to your place.
Saeko-san ran back without color on her face, and brought me to the nearest hospital.
The results came out, and there was nothing wrong with me, just a normal cold. The dizziness was also a temporary effect from the fever, if I sleep and eat well I'll get better soon.
“I said there was nothing serious, it was Chiwa who made it seemed serious.”
I said this on the way back, and Saeko-san sounded a little angry.
“If little Chihuahua didn’t force you to go to the doctor, you surely would've been more rash, right? If the cold gets worse it'll be serious, you should thank her for this.”
“Anyways, sleep properly after you go home. Tonight I'll be at home too, and you're not allowed to go anywhere, are we clear?”
Since Saeko-san said this, I can’t do anything but obey. Ugh, I wanted to sneak over to Masuzu initially.
Once I got down from the car, Chiwa, who was waiting in front of the door, ran to me.
“Ei-kun, how was it?”
“Ahh, there was nothing wrong.”
“Really? That’s good to hear!”
“Banzai!” Chiwa threw her hands and shouted, although I still think it is exaggerated, but it felt good.
“As long as I sleep well today I'll get better. It’s all thanks to you; thank you.”
Chiwa suddenly turned red and got silent.
“You said all thanks to me, err, err…”
I was still wondering what was she embarrassed about, once I saw her lips I understood.
“No-That’s not the case! I didn’t get better because of that!”
Chiwa lowered her head, embarrassed.
“I may catch a cold tomorrow……dane.”
“You won’t! It’s just a superstition!”
No matter what, I felt slightly embarrassed.
This was the second time I kissed Chiwa, but it made me understand a little more. The first time was a bit sudden because it came surprisingly, so I felt more surprised than anything else. But this time—although I couldn’t push her off, I could feel her softness fully, and even the salty tears—
“I, I have to sleep now.”
I wasn’t able to look at Chiwa, and got back into the house. Ahh, my face is burning. This must be because of the cold—I think it isn’t.
I was drinking the sports drink I bought from the convenience store on the way back when Saeko-san called me.
“This thing was dropped near the window.”
The object Saeko-san passed to me was familiar.
That stain left by coke on the cover—I wouldn’t have mistaken it for something else.
“Is-isn’t this my notebook!”
“Because it was dropped in the house, I thought it was yours. Of course I never looked at the contents……but, this notebook looks pretty worn out.(!) What's in it?”
“It’s just a normal scribbling book! There’s nothing much about it!”
The curiosity as a game developer popped out; to get away from her, I went back to my room.
To confirm my thoughts, I flipped through the contents.
Various unbearable regrets from my dark history.
This is really my chuuni-notebook which ended up in Masuzu’s hands.
“That girl, did she come just to return this?”
But, why didn’t she say anything?
Even a feverish brain could think of the reason instantly. She saw what me and Chiwa did. Dammit, this is not a joking matter. I let the person who mustn't witness it, witness the scene that nobody should ever witness.
At this time—
My phone’s message tone rang.
It’s that cursed message tone.
I opened the message with my trembling fingers.
The sender was the person I was thinking about.
What she wrote was also as I expected.
The notebook was back in my hands; there’s only one explanation for this...
At the start of December 2012, monthly magazine BIG GANGAN serialized the spin-off series 《Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru Ai》.
At the start of January 2013, the anime of this series began broadcasting.
Both of these were extremely fortunate events.
This work has received so much support from all sorts of media.
This has been an extremely rare opportunity, and I'm very happy. But even now, when I encounter these other spanning works, I feel ｢e-extremely embarassed…..｣.
To make an analogy, it feels like when Kidou Eita's chuuni notebook is read out loud.
It's always such a pleasure, and it makes me so happy that I want to roll about.
But even though it's so happy, it's so embarrassing.
Even though it's so embarrassing, it's so fortunate.
Because I'm the kind of person who always lived a life packed full with embarrassing deeds. But at this stage, I guess it doesn't count for much—but I felt that after a while I should stress in this short afterword that I still feel that it's ｢s-so embarrassing…...｣.
This is such a fortunate thing.
Attached at the end of this volume is Marimo-sensei's ｢OreShura 4-koma｣ that's serialized in ｢YOUNG GANGAN｣.
When I see my favorite ｢YOUNG GANGAN｣ publishing a spin-off of my work, it makes me feel ｢s-so embarrassed…｣. Furthermore, when I see Marimo-sensei's delightful smiles and adorable characters, I feel extremely extremely blessed.
Well, this time the story ends here.
I'm extremely thankful for all my readers who have accompanied me until here.
Translator notes and references
- 柱の男 or Pillar Men aka "Man in the column" is a race of immortal beings which play an antagonistic role in the second part of Jojo
- Old Joseph Joestar’s stand in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, it can read minds and use clairvoyance
- She switches to a childlike tone here. If you are wondering, Chiwa, Hime, Ai & Masuzu all have "childlike" tones and they are all different from each other
- She denies it with a childlike tone
- She switches the tone in this sentence. Tai = battle
- The title can imply that the "runaway" can be run rampant
- くず is trash, Masuzu replaced ます（真） of her name into “くず”
- Kuzuzu is supposed to sound similarly to the way sports teams are named ("zu-zu"). So it's kind of like, "Team Trash".
- the expression he uses is like "it(knowledge) comes naturally to them"
- Raijin means Dragon God
- this Keita
- Raijin (雷神） is the God of Thunder, according the Japan mythology.
- Visual Kei is when musicians(largely Japanese) dress up heavily, with large amount of makeup and hairstyle which looks like characters from anime. It does not necessary affects the music genre of the musicians.
- Riajuu is a person who has a girlfriend/boyfriend and popular, someone with a good life
- Grilled chicken
- Grilled pork
- Grilled beef
- Grilled meat, no restriction to any kind of meat.
- 独り上手, this is the closest translation I can get. It means to get happy all by yourself over little matters, like characters throwing out punchlines here and there, or diving into a world of delusion ignoring the surrounding.
- The second year of middle school is known as Chuuni (中二) in Japanese, and Chuunibyou (中二病） is when one gets heavily delusional for an extended period of time. Well if you're reading this novel you probably know what it is.
- Again you should understand the term by now. Same pun as above.
- Food. Balls with octopus. Best food in Japan.
- In a previous volume, it was mentioned that when Eita was resting in the nurse's room, Hime went in and locked the door from inside, while sleeping naked next to Eita.
- "雨降って地固まる" is a Japanese proverb, it means the more you quarrel the better your relationship.
- Something like cuddling. This word only exists in this light novel and its adaptations.
- Requirements given in quests in RPGs. Though you probably got it.
- This is actually not the ideal noise for a knife hitting a chopping board. The original character for it iｓ ”ゴッ”
- The original word for it is のんびり, which kind of means she is not serious with cooking. Abstract seemed like a better word to describe food for me.
- Well this is a gesture made by cute girls in anime. Usually after making a mistake. Tehe☆
- Ah, that pitiful Chiwawa. "Do you know how much bread have you eaten in your life?" is a legendary meme from Jojo, which came to be in part 1 from the hand of Dio Brando, a vampire which related devouring people to humans eating bread; it's among the most referenced lines / moments from the series.
- Tabi: traditional Japanese socks.
- This is a popular Japanese historical incident that I'm not particularly familiar with. All I can do is link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideyoshi_Toyotomi
- In English.
- High bar is the single bar in gymnastics.
- Ishige-senpai's name is a pun
- In Japan, lined paper actually occurs in boxes like this: http://cdn.printablepaper.net/samples/genkouyoushi.png
- I need this named to be checked. I have a feeling it's wrong: 田宇
- She said this in a slightly weird tone.
- The original word is ハガキ职人, which means someone who often send postcards to answer questions from the studio or magazines.
- Natsukawa is made up of the characters 夏川, which means “Summer” and “River” respectively.
- Original word真の実力者, with Realpowered written by the side. It kind of have the same meaning so yeah there you go.
- There was three “second” here, but due to English having limited translations I decided to skip one. It was originally “二番。セカンド。ナンバーツー” which all translates to second.
- Sorry for the terrible English I just don’t know how to properly translate this. This is a booklet where the results of the past graduates of the school are written. Result as in how they furthered their studies. Recommendation, scholarship, etc.
- I don’t know what exactly it’s known as, due to my raw missing the latter half of the word, but it’s pickled mixed vegetables. Seven vegetables, according to my source, and preserved with soy sauce, sugar, and mirin, which is kind of like sake.
- Honestly I have no idea what the author is trying to say here. Probably stronger defence against mental attacks? This is not important anyways.
- Yes I just ripped this off Pokemon. I don’t know what to put here either. It’s an attack to help a comrade, or something along those lines.
- I don't know what this is supposed to mean either but this is written by some other translator on the contents page. Maybe "Switching Seats Leads to Mayhem with Girlfriend"? Editors?
- I don't know what exactly it is called, but it is a prep class that prepares you for university.
- I know it makes no sense, but this is apparently what it says.
- 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.
- I don’t know what to translate this to, but it refers to things like armors which you wear in RPGs and chuunibyou animes and stuffs like that.
- They made it this way in the light novel so I thought I would keep it this way. It means “let’s go” in Japanese. He probably said it in a strong tone.
- It literally translates to this. In the original light novel it is written as “邪竜滅殺剑”, and I have totally no idea what to translate it to.
- Okay I admit I just bullshitted the name. “滅殺破裂拳” is the name given in the novel, and it literally translates to something like this. So yeah.
- Something that gives out an attractive vibe in this case. It’s hard to explain since it comes to me naturally as I’m Chinese, and I can’t put it in words in English.
- The kid’s gender wasn’t explicitly stated. I just assumed him as a boy.
- The original light novel also used “children” instead of “kodomotachi”. To bring out the more chuunibyou feel to it.
- Mittens maybe? But calling it mittens makes it sounds so much less cooler.
- It said “shinjitsu”, which means truth. I don’t know if it means true form but truth seems good enough. I shall use truth.
- No punctuation in the original. Therefore no punctuation here.
- I Originally It was written “maa, sorya sodayona.”, which is too hard to directly translate.
- It was “hi-hisashiburi…desu.”. In this situation desu is normal, nothing much to worry about. I just don’t want it to be empty after “see”.
- Yeah you guessed it. I don’t know what to put here either. Safe is the best word choice.
- Not necessary the center of attention. She doesn’t like to be in front of people. But that doesn’t seem too nice, so I used this phrase instead.
- These two sentences were just internal monologue. I think.
- Yeah again I couldn’t find the right words.
- I didn’t want this to be empty. The word itself doesn’t mean much. It's basically just a suffix to a sentence, kind of like 'desu' but you're agreeingly going along with it.
- In case if you don’t know, in Japan there is a belief that you can take over another person’s cold by kissing him or her. Which is probably bullshit as both of you will end up with the cold.
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