OreShura: Volume 7 Chapter 1
#1: School Festival leads to Mayhem
As the end of October carried us into late autumn, the air temperature changed from ｢cool｣ to ｢frigid｣.
I, Kidou Eita, was faced with my first school festival since I entered Hanenoyama High School.
I had originally expected that the school festival would be ｢spectacular｣, or something exciting along the lines of what I had in my imagination. However, to use the words of my childhood friend, Harusaki Chiwa, “Isn't this quite ordinary?” In anime and manga, there were always all sorts of unusual booths at festivals, but these unusual booths don't exist in reality. A great majority of the stalls were completely occupied with simple sausage vendors, yakisoba vendors, donut vendors, and popcorn vendors; the kind of stalls that were guaranteed to show up at festivals. Also, there were small skits, stand-up comedies, and other totally ordinary programs in the rest area.
We in the ｢Society for Bringing Out Your Maiden Self｣ (Jien-Otsu for short), were hosting a maid cafe.
You could say this idea was the king of all kings, although to be frank it's hardly a novel idea—
"Ei-kun, two orders of hot coffee, woofwoof~"
Chiwa, as a puppy maid, rushed into the impromptu kitchen that we had set up inside a science laboratory using dividers.
Although I wanted to scold her about whether it was ONE (woof) or TWO, I remembered we were in a maid cafe setting, so no, it really didn't make a difference how she spoke.
"What about the iced red tea from earlier, woof?"
"I'm making it now. You can bring that tray over."
"There's no more ice, so what'll we do?"
"There's ice in the freezer."
I responded as I placed paper cups on the trays that were lined up on the table.
"Himecchi's booth idea was a huge success ♪"
"Yeah. That girl is really amazing, honestly."
The person who came up the idea for the maid cafe was Hime. Akishino Himeka was also the one who planned it all.
When we just started preparing, it didn't go so smoothly, and we ran into roadblocks like the rule: 「First-years are strictly prohibited from using fire, gas, and also portable electric stoves」. In the end, the school gave the OK only when Kaoru, the secretary of the student council, proposed that we use an electric boiler. But right after that, we ran into another roadblock. Due to our bad luck, we were assigned to a science laboratory next to the gymnasium, which was a huge distance away from the main gate. It would be very hard to attract guests to come.
Then, Hime brought a lot of additional assets for us to use in the cafe.
"I originally thought that a maid cafe wouldn't be anything special, but I never expected there would be this many guests."
"This isn't your ordinary maid cafe. It's an animal-themed maid cafe."
"See, look!" Chiwa turned around in a circle as she said this. The tail that was pinned behind her skirt wagged back and forth.
Chiwa's character was a ｢Dog Maid｣. Complete with dog ears, a tail, and fluffy round gloves, it looked that Chiwa had fully transformed into a ｢puppy!｣. It was seriously shocking.
"Himecchi is really amazing—I never knew she could make tails like these."
"She said that a dressmaker from a tailoring school that frequented her hotel came to teach her."
"Even so, she's still incredible. The embroidery is extremely beautiful. She must be really good with her hands."
We rented the maid uniforms using Saeko-san's connections, but Hime made all the accessories from scratch. She made a different character for each of the four members of our club, and the quality was so high that Saeko-san later asked,“Tell me where I can buy these!”
Although it was a set of accessories, in the end we didn't couple it together with the clothes.
"Hey Chiwa! What are you slacking off for, woohaha!"
A monkey, no, Fuyuumi Ai appeared.
The ears and tail that she wore was similar to Chiwa's, but there was heart-shaped embroidery on the back of her skirt. It was very interesting, just like it was mimicking the red butt cheeks of a monkey.
"I had a feeling you were acting all friendly in the back with Kidou-kun, so I ran over here to check. I never expected my expectations to be right on target, woohaha—! When you're finished with your order, come back out here right away woohaha—!"
With the suffixes that she added at the end of every single one of her lines, she sounded like she was always angry and in shambles. Though, in reality, she most likely was truly angry.
“Woofwoofwoof ♪,” Chiwa responded as she picked up her tray and headed back out into the cafe.
The monkey maid muttered, “She's so unreasonable,” as she watched Chiwa leave. Then, she leaned against my shoulder and crooned. "Hey, Ta-kun. Is the ｢Super ~ Sugar, Love, and Cream Coffee｣ that I ordered earlier done yet? ♪"
In my opinion, this girl was definitely the most unreasonable one of them all. Her lovestruck brain was basically an explosion.
"I'm terribly sorry, we're sold out of love."
"Then, do you need me to help you replenish some? I can supplement some Ai Love Sauce!"
I coldly responded that it didn't make logical sense at all. She was such a stubborn girl. No, more accurately she didn't listen to anyone.
"Now that you mention it—that girl never ended up coming?"
Fuyuumi's face became veiled with a thin layer of shadow.
"She never came. I think Himecchi tried to send her another text earlier, but there was no respond. She never contacted Ta-kun either?"
"No, definitely not."
No matter whether I sent her text messages or called her phone, there was no response. Even when I called the landline to her apartment, no one picked up.
Also, ever since that day, that girl never came back to school. She was not present for mid-term exams.
When I asked the teacher, she said it was ‘family matters’.
“That's what they told us, though to be honest they should have contacted us in advance. It's disappointing how they kept us out of the loop.”
"I think it's because that girl's family is really complicated."
I could only reply like that.
Because, in my heart, I thought I had an idea.
That girl, she had seen Chiwa and me kiss at my house for a moment.
When I saw that the Chuuni notebook had been returned to me and ensuing text message “Our contract is over,” I could more or less figure everything out.
Idiot. At least let me explain, you JoJo-obsessed girl
I watched Fuyuumi walk back out front, and I gave a sigh.
Well, now that my agreement to be her fake boyfriend was over, there was probably no point to worry over it.
Also, that girl said it very clearly.
—What I need is a ｢boyfriend｣, not Kidou Eita.
For now, let's not mention whether she truly said that from the bottom of her heart.
In other words, she very clearly instructed me “Don't you dare try to pry into my heart.”
Even if I wanted to do something for her, I felt like I would only hurt her dearly in the end.
"It's so hard……"
The sudden voice caused me to turn my head around, and I found myself faced with a rabbit maid.
It was Hime.
"It’s probably my fault that President didn't come. I feel like I need to bear all the responsibility."
Her long white rabbit ears seemed to wilt without energy.
"It's not your fault. She'll come back sooner or later."
Ever since we stayed together this summer, that girl has been very restless. Under this dangerous mood, I guess she couldn't imagine what it would be like if we maintained this lie for three years.
"Well, rather than worrying about this right now, we should make this cafe a dazzling experience. We have quite a lot customers, right?"
Hime seemed very happy as she nodded her head.
"The room is fully packed. And the line extends all the way into the hallway. If this continues, we might even take first place."
At the end of the festival, there was going to be a popularity contest for each club or class's stall or event. And our goal was to take first place.
"So, let's get a move on it. Here, three cups of red tea."
The long frills of her Hime's skirt and tail swayed as she ran out.
I returned to work in the kitchen.
The person who wanted us to attain first place in the popularity contest was that, that girl's goal, in the first place.
When that girl comes back, we'll show her some results that she'll be so awed to see, she won't even be able to speak.
By afternoon, everything became even busier.
"Ei-kun, three of the hot ones!"
"Ta-kun, four cups of iced red tea!"
"Eita, two cups of iced red tea and one cup of iced coffee, plus also this, and make sure it's without that, and also without that or that."
As I memorized the orders that rushed in, I basically became a tea-making machine endlessly working.
This is getting quite bad……
The line had gotten so long it looked like it was going to block the entrance beside the kitchen.
You couldn't even say that our customer service was good. Although Hime had experience helping around her family hotel and worked really hard, Chiwa and Fuyuumi were both extremely clumsy. I also never had experience boiling so many cups of coffee and tea, so the taste of each cup probably differed a lot.
"Ei-kun, are there any more tea snacks?"
Chiwa put the biscuit that we had been using as a decoration onto a paper plate. Her words gave me a shock of surprise.
"There should be more, right? Try looking over there. There should be some more in that cardboard box."
"There isn't. It's flat out empty." Chiwa flipped open the cardboard box to show me. "Earlier, when the football club kept asking for more snacks, could that be why we're out?”
"Those bastards. Just because they figured it was free, they just shamelessly closed their eyes and wolfed them down……"
We even especially went out to a specialty supermarket that sold large portions, but it looked like the athletic clubs one-upped us with their appetite.
"Well, if we run out of refreshments, will we keep on running the cafe?"
"But, on the flier, it says ｢Free Refreshments｣."
If it came to us not living up to our advertised reputation, it would probably severely impact the results of the popularity contest.
"I'll run out to buy some. Chiwa, please help me watch the kitchen."
"T-There's no way I can do that! If I walk away right now, the cafe will totally collapse!"
Just then, Fuyuumi rushed inside.
"Ta-kun, please! Two cups of iced coffee! Chiwa, send some hot water to table number two!"
"I need to send these hot drinks to table number three. What about Himecchi?"
"She's manning the cash register. To be honest, there's actually only two of us waiting on the guests in the cafe. There's no time for any kind of break."
To be honest, it wasn't just the refreshments. There wasn't very much stock left for making coffee either.
"Can’t we ask Kaoru to help us go buy some?" Fuyuumi suggested this.
"He said he had to take care of things in the student council office. What about you? Can you ask a friend in the disciplinary committee to help us?"
"I can't. With the patrols and writing people up for violations, they're already busy enough. When evening comes, even I'll have to go and help them out."
While I was considering asking a certain someone else, Chiwa crossed her arms in an X in front on her chest. At this point, we really were isolated without any help.
"Well, if we run out of coffee, then we really will have to say we're sold out."
"That's true. I think the popcorn stall from class three is also sold out."
What the two of them said was definitely true, but for some reason I wanted us to last until the very end.
Because if we're sold out, that girl definitely won't come.
"Master ~ Chiwawa ~ Please leads these guests to their seats~"
Hime seemed to be in lament as her calls echoed over, and Chiwa and Fuyuumi hurried returned to their positions.
As I returned to my state of operating the tea boiler, I wonder if there was any way we could solve this situation.
Was there really no one we could ask to help us buy things?
This definitely isn't anything to boast about, but I really don't have many friends. I could count on one hand the number of classmates I've exchanged my email address with.
Even so, perhaps there was someone who'd come help us.
I silently placed all my hopes onto the principle of friendship, and I opened my text messages and typed something.
I stood there blankly for a little bit, and soon enough the beeps of incoming text messages sounded.
I quietly closed my phone.
So my friends really were just trash.
All I had was my studies. Studying is the absolute justice.
"Is such a majestically grown man crying right now?"
"I-I'm definitely not crying!"
I turned my head around, and there was a maid dressed as a white cat standing there.
I was absolutely stunned, and I couldn't utter the slightest noise.
Contrasting against the fundamentally black maid uniform, those white cat ears and silver hair somehow seemed to be a perfect match. The tail that extended out of her skirt moved in a circle, and it seemed to bring a sense of honest feelings and a little tender love.
This maid that overflowed with charm made me unable to stop myself from reporting this situation to the others but—
"What's wrong, Eita-kun? You look like you've seen a ghost, hm?"
Natsukawa Masuzu gave smiled innocently as she spoke.
This was just like the Masuzu who'd ｢pretend to be a good kitty cat｣. 
"Where have you been this entire time!?"
"Something came up at home. Actually, I only flew back from Sweden yesterday."
Because they heard Masuzu's voice, Chiwa and the rest of them rushed into the kitchen one by one.
"President, you're back!?"
The first one to rush forward was Hime.
"This maid uniform suits me very well. Thank you for going out of your way to send it to my house."
Masuzu smiled as she spoke and hugged the teary-eyed Hime.
As Fuyuumi watched these two, she nodded ｢Mhm, mhm｣, while she wiped her nose. I handed my handkerchief to her, but she turned her head away.
Chiwa took one step forward.
Masuzu also left Hime's side and took a step forward.
"I've caused a lot trouble. I'm very sorry."
There was no smile on either of their faces, but there also wasn't any trace of anger.
And just like that, Chiwa's conversation with Masuzu ended.
It was so blunt that Hime, Fuyuumi, and I were all stunned.
"Alright, let's get ourselves hyped up again. Eita-kun will go out and buy things, and Fuyuumi-san will replace Eita and work in the kitchen. Harusaki-san and I will take care of the guests in the main cafe, while Akishino-san will be in charge of the cash register and helping out in the kitchen."
Even though she had just arrived, Masuzu had perfectly grasped an understanding of the present situation.
“Once Eita-kun returns, he'll immediately go to work in the kitchen and give Fuyuumi-san a thorough break. After that, everyone will take turns to rest. After all, if we receive guests with exhausted faces, it won't reflect well on our evaluations. —Right, we will definitely take first place…Now then, let's get moving!" Masuzu clapped her hands, and we all got to action.
In this kind of situation, she really made you think ｢she's really an incredible president｣. Although she wasn't great at her own actions, she was simply unmatchable when leading others.
After I grabbed my wallet and started running through the hallways, I couldn't stop thinking.
Once the school festival ends, I'll need to have a proper talk with Masuzu.
It didn't matter if it was about being a fake boyfriend, or the thing about Chiwa's kiss.
And also with what happened today, I needed to properly talk things over until both of us understood each other.
I also needed to carefully pay attention so that I didn't disturb my ｢girlfriend's｣ very delicate state of mind.
Then, I needed to clearly express my intentions to her.
Although I was contemplating all sorts of these troubling things, to be honest, I did also feel a little bit of this other emotion, too.
A happy feeling.
Later, during the popularity contest at the evening of the festival, we from ｢Jien-Otsu｣ beautifully seized first place.
Although the detailed statistics of the vote weren't released yet, we easily obtained at least seventy percent of all the male votes. They're probably all Masuzu fans, after all. In the comments section of the voting ballot, most of them were about Masuzu:
｢Masuzu's absolutely dazzling when she's wearing a maid uniform.｣
｢This was the first time Masuzu ever spoke to me! She even looked at me!｣
｢The coffee that this white cat angel brought had the flavor of eternal bliss.｣
Technically, I was the one who made the coffee, but everyone seemed so happy I decided not to mention it. Now that you mention it, when we read out a comment from some girl that said, ｢the little rabbit that was at the cash register was really cute｣, Hime shyly covered her cheeks with her hands. It was really a sight to see.
In the middle of the festival's evening, we slipped away and held a small-scale party in the club room.
I downed the fruit juice in my paper cup with one gulp, and gave a ｢puhaaaaa—!｣ of satisfaction. Fuyuumi wasn't here because of disciplinary committee work, which was a shame, but we'd hold the party again anyways.
"A special shout out to Akishino-san for being the one who made this happen."
Masuzu said, which made Hime's face turn even redder.
"Hahahaha, Himecchi, this is only fruit juice, you know? It's not alcohol—?"
"I deny this. This must be a secret drink of the Wyvernians. They must have swapped it with my drinkahhh."
Her usual chuunibyou was utterly smashed. Himeka really was so cute!
"Now then, Masuzu, will you be coming back to school now?"
I took advantage of the nice atmosphere and carelessly asked her.
But then Masuzu's expression suddenly turned serious.
"No. I'm returning to Sweden."
"You could say that this school festival was to be the peak of my glory. It was an honor that everyone bestowed onto me, and it really made me happy."
An empty paper cup slipped from Hime's hand and fell.
As it collided with the floor, it gave a ｢thunk｣, pulling me back to my senses.
"W-Why are you transferring schools right now?! It's too sudden to transfer in the middle of the second semester!"
"Who knows? After all, it's all my father's influence."
Masuzu spoke casually as if she were talking about someone else.
"Why do you have to obey everything that your father says?! Don't tell me you actually want to go live over there?!"
".......That's impossible." Masuzu's voice became low and viscous. "I also don't want to live in an influential family. However, my father's commands are absolute. I can only obey him……"
"If that's the case, I want to you stay here!" Hime shouted with a loud voice. "If President wants to stay here, then I want you to stay here. As long as you properly talk it out with your father, I think he'll definitely understand!"
"He's not that kind of an angel. Don't you remember? Before summer vacation, he did a lot of despicable things to try and take me back home."
"But you made it through that time! Right, why don't you ask Mana to help say something?"
"I'll also try and ask Mana for help. That's why, President, don't give up!"
"All of your good intentions really make me happy, but……"
Masuzu seemed to look very uncomfortable as she lowered her gaze.
Just then, Chiwa, who hadn't said a word until now, spoke up.
"—Hey, Natsukawa, when are you going to drop the act?"
There seemed to be a sparkle in Chiwa's eyes.
I knew those eyes. Those were eyes that Chiwa had only when she was together with her best friends. But its aura was slightly different. It was a serious expression that she often had long ago when she was active in the girls kendo club in the dojo.
If you put these two together, you could say it was……. What was going on?
Masuzu gently smiled.
"Recently, Harusaki-san's been so difficult to handle. How did you know?"
"I guess you could say it's animal instinct. I've been dealing with you for half a year already, so it seems like I've started to understand Natsukawa."
Although the two of them were smiling at each other, I had no clue what had just happened. Hime's mouth was also open in a daze.
"I lied. Actually, it was all a lie." Masuzu spoke simply. "After I talked it over with my father, he decided to let me do whatever I wanted. He agreed to let me stay in Hanenoyama City until I graduated."
"R-Really? Is that true?"
"It was too simple, so I thought I'd tease you all a little. I'm sorry."
Hime hit Masuzu's shoulders with her fists.
And she hit them again and again.
"You scared me to death! You scared me to death! You scared me to death! You seriously scared me to death!"
Hime, on the verge of crying, kept repeating ｢scared me to death｣, and Masuzu in response followed with multiple ｢I'm sorry｣'s.
Chiwa gave a slight smile as she watched the two of those like that.
…….Seriously, don't scare me like that.
In other words, this was Masuzu-san's top notch ｢faking｣. I was totally tricked.
Masuzu jumped away from Hime's beating fists, and in the mean time took the liberty to say something in addition.
"Also from earlier, my relationship with Eita-kun as boyfriend and girlfriend ended. Now both of us are incorrigibly single individuals."
I felt like a sneak attack had been launched against me.
I never expected she would publicize our situation at this sort of time.
This time, Chiwa had a totally astonished expression on her face.
"I-Is that true, Ei-kun? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I actually wasn't quite sure what happened, because all she did was send a one-sided text message."
I looked at Masuzu and spoke. "Hey, do you really want to break up?"
"It's not because I hate you…… but it's not going to work out, if it keeps continuing like this."
I figured she meant that we had reached the limit of ｢faking｣. When Hime found out about it, it was already over.
Masuzu, she finally understood.
…….However, I didn't think I accepted it completely yet.
"Let's talk about this later, okay? We need to clear up the misunderstandings between us."
Masuzu didn't meet my eyes as she said this.
Chiwa watched the Masuzu that acted like this.
She looked like she wanted to say something, but she ended up staying in her seat.
Hime was also incredibly flustered. She kept raising her hand part way and then putting it down, continuously glancing back and forth between Masuzu and me.
"I see. So that's what happened."
As I turned my head to the source of the noise, Fuyuumi Ai was leaning against the door to the club room.
Although I didn't know exactly what she understood, she kept nodding her head while saying,“Mhm, mhm”.
The four of our eyes met and she gave a flirtatious ｢wink ♪｣ toward me.
As I wondered whether there was some sand caught in her eye, she gave a huge stretch with her arms.
"My era is coming!"
Translator notes and references
- I believe this is a Japanese idiom of sorts, similar to a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.
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