OreShura: Volume 7 Chapter 14
Extra: Mana’s Bright Red Bicycle
Being Natsukawa Mana is quite hard.
Well, I think this is something most people wouldn’t understand.
My family runs a huge company known as the Natsukawa Group.
As to how big its size is, if you randomly enter a convenience store or restaurant, it is most likely related to our company. Although that’s the case, I’m not very proud of the whole “I’m the daughter of the Natsukawas—!” thing. In fact, I don’t know if the staff are considered members of the Natsukawa Group. This is a capitalist society after all.
I study at the middle school division of the Nenaka Girls’ Institution. It is what they call a rich girls’ school.
This school has an escalator system.
Or is it known as the conveyor belt system?
It’s like heavily packaging the family’s daughter and displaying it to society afterwards.
To be honest, it’s boring.
I have no conversation partners in school. 70% of classmates who barely touch the upper echelon of society fawn over me just because of the name “Natsukawa”, and the other 30% are just afraid of approaching me.
Taking Akishino Himeka as an example—there is nobody who would approach me by their own accord like Hime would.
Although I said that, for me to be together with peasants now is just, you know.
It’s hard to talk on the same level if the living standards are different. A distance will form from the perceived difference in worlds, either that or the presence of prejudice or envy.
Regarding this, Hime is the daughter of a long standing hotel, with a higher social status, so she is easier to talk with.
I love it.
……well, it’s not like I rely on it that much!
Ten o’ clock at night.
I faced the desk in my room and sighed.
The long summer vacation comes to an end, tomorrow is the start of the new semester. Although my assignments are done (almost all of them are done by the home tutor), I have a bigger “problem” in front of me.
Career survey (final).
As soon as I hand this in, my path is mostly set.
If I decide to advance directly in school, it’s pretty much decided that I will study in the high school division of Nenaka Girls’ Institution.
If I want to enter a high school outside of my institute’s department, I need to state its name here too.
I wrote “Prefectural Hanenoyama High School” here.
Because this is where Hime is studying.
If my homeroom old lady sees this, she might just faint with white foam coming out of her mouth. Maybe she will kneel in front of my father and apologize, “You place your precious daughter in our hands, we are really sorry it turned out this way!”
If it’s some other high level private high school it might just be fine, but there should be no students with a prefectural school as their choice. It’s unavoidable to surprise others, making them go “what happened!?”
However, it’s not like mama and papa will say anything.
Mom is quite easy going with me, and we are not staying together at the moment either. She is probably having fun in the area around Florence or Rome. She only phones me occasionally.
Dad has had no interest in me from the start.
The only person he’s interested in is Suzu—my sister of the same father, Masuzu.
So, whichever school I want to attend is my choice, I can go wherever I want.
“Is this fine? Me?”
Sometimes I ask myself this.
Isn’t career survey something more important than this?
Nevertheless, my aim is to enter the same school as Hime.
However, this feels like “I’ve no friends here, so I have to go to a prefectural school”.
If I value my pride, this is something I can’t allow to happen……
That’s why, I have yet to talk about this with Hime.
What if Hime stares at me with her innocent eyes and says, “Does Mana really not have other friends?”
I don’t want that—it would be like I lost. Maybe I won’t recover from that.
I don’t feel comfortable about this situation.
It would be better if I have a goal or a dream, but I have both money and power; I can get almost anything I want.
Although I know this is a luxurious worry.
It still doesn’t change the fact that I am worried about something.
While I was still unhappy, the second semester came.’
Even I, while living a boring life constantly surrounded by rich girls, have a small ambition.
That is—learning how to ride a bike!
Although I usually go to school by car, but ever since I came to Japan, I have been longing to ride a bike to school. Because, isn’t it cool to run against the “Shoosh, shoosh” wind in the morning? Besides, it’s not even rare to arrive by limousine in my school—machines need to be controlled by our own hands after all!
Although it’s great to have bought a custom made bright red bike from the manufacturer, no matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t achieve balance and repeatedly fell off the bike.
I never thought this would be something I couldn’t ride if I didn’t practice……
No license required, and even brats could easily ride it. I thought it was something anybody could easily ride, but it’s actually a form of transportation that only chosen people can control.
And, well, that’s the case.
After school on a random day.
I took my beloved bike Celine-chan to a nearby parkland.
The perimeter of this place is a bicycle path; I started practicing here a month ago.
The north side of the park is the entrance, bustling with people, but since the southern part is mostly forest, there aren’t many people there. It’s an excellent place that not many people know about.
After all, I’m so cute, no matter where I am, I will in—stantly attract all the attention.
Even now, just by walking, people are already staring at me. The old man just now was even widening his eyes th—is much staring at me! Kufufu, sigh—even such a withering old man is seduced by me, do I have the charm of an adult now? Being beautiful is a sin!
I ignored the stares and reached the usual spot.
My form has been quite well recently. I can ride from this tree to that tree and not fall for about ten meters. To have this result in a month, I’m quite good, right?
My resolution today is to ride from that tree to another tree. Let’s go?
I sat on the saddle enthusiastically, and stepped on the pedal—
“Excuse me, do you have a second to spare?”
A voice called out to me, and I stopped my leg from stepping down.
I turned and saw someone standing there.
I couldn’t identify the sex at first glance.
The person had white skin, slim and beautiful, wearing pants, and had a very gender neutral voice. It’s hard to identify the sex. The person’s age should be about mine, or maybe a year older than me.
“What? Why are you staring at my chest?”
No matter how I see it, there isn’t a bulge on the chest area. If it isn’t a girl with an extremely flat chest, it has got to be a guy.
If that’s the case, there’s only one way to deal with him.
“I’m sorry, I’m busy at the moment, so I can’t play with you.”
I smiled slightly at him, but refusing him completely with words. I can’t let him have any lingering hopes.
This is the secret to turning down someone’s approach.
He looked as if he’s troubled—
“No, erm, I won’t take too much of your time, it will be done instantly.”
Ah. He’s so persistent despite being hot. This must be because I’m too cute.
“It’s hard to say it, but, your backpack—”
“Ah this? It’s a limited edition Gucci, it’s not sold in Japan.”
“Mm, it’s that Gucci.”
He pointed at my butt on the saddle and said.
“Your skirt is stuck between your backpack and your back, it’s already half exposed.”
I instantly reached my hand to the back and touched my butt.
The piece of fabric that should be there wasn’t in its designated place.
It felt like I was directly touching my underwear.
“Ah, please wait?”
I stepped on the pedals with all my strength.
I just wanted to leave this place as fast as possible on my bike.
But at that moment, Celine-chan was feeling cranky.
I didn’t even ride for three seconds before I wobbled and lost balance.
Although it makes me irritated to hear a sympathetic voice, the pain of falling is worse than that.
Wh-why are you staring like that?
“Erm, it’s not just half now, it’s fully exposed.”
“Enough of that, help me you jerk!”
I’m not in the mood for practice today, thanks to the hot guy.
“Is it my fault?”
“Of—course, causing me to fall is a heavy offence.”
I parked Celine-chan beside me and sat down on the park bench, drinking juice.
Of course it was the hot guy’s treat.
“To be able to have a drink with me is a platinum ticket, you should thank me.”
“What unbelievable confidence, as expected of a foreigner.”
He’s actually admiring me instead of focusing on the topic.
“Anyway, I am sorry, I’m Asoi Kaoru.
“Hmph, not only your face, even your name sounds like a girl’s name.”
Kaoru didn’t look angry and replied with a smile.
“I get that a lot.”
I don’t like his composure.
There’s a super beautiful girl right beside you, at least show some nervousness.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Mana Kleinsmith.”
I used my mother’s family name.
After showing such an embarrassing side, I can’t use the name Natsukawa.
“Mana, what were you doing here just now?”
“Wait a moment, you’re calling me by my first name straight away?”
“Because ‘Kleinsmith-san’ is hard to pronounce?”
This guy is cheeky as expected.
“Give me a moment, I’ll practice how to control my beloved car.”
“Ah, so you can’t ride a bike.”
“I, I can ride a bike! I can go five meters without my feet touching the ground!”
“Isn’t that the same as not being able to ride a bike?”
After saying it with a carefree attitude, Kaoru finished his juice.
“If that’s the case, why don’t you try using training wheels?”
What’s that? Such a cute name.
“It’s a tool that will prevent the bike from falling down, you can’t even fall if you try to.”
“Whe—where can I get something like that?”
So there is such a godly item, it fits me perfectly!
“It is sold in bicycle shops; I can take you to one if you want.”
“Take me take me! Please!”
I let Kaoru lead the way and brought Celine-chan to the bicycle shop near the park.
The shop owner said “This is my first time installing on a Celine” happily while putting on the practice wheels on both sides.
I tried riding it immediately in front of the shop—how surprising!
“Ahahahahaha! What amazing sta—bili—ty!”
I don’t even need to worry about falling!
Although the downside is the “Gashagasha” noise it makes, the balance it provides trumps the flaw; it’s hard to fall this way.
“Look here look here Kaoru! Every—one is looking at me!”
Kaoru nodded while watching me ride a few laps in front of the shop.
“This should be a good enough apology for making you fall, right?”
“Ahahaha, looks like I have no choice but to forgive you!”
The next morning.
After installing the practice wheels, I fulfilled my wish of riding a bike to school. But, waiting for me were the unseen before shocked expressions of my classmates and a whirlpool of laughs from other people.
After school, I took a Celine-chan without training wheels to the park.
“I, I I I, I will kill you! I’ll definitely kill you!”
“Well well, calm down.”
I started ranting at Kaoru, who was sitting on the same bench as yesterday.
“How can I calm down!? This is the first time in my life getting laughed at by people this way! My skirt was flipped! I got laughed at for using training wheels! Ever since yesterday, I went through a hundred times the humiliation that I’ve ever felt before!”
“I’m not the one who flipped your skirt……”
“I don’t think training wheels are weird.”
“Even if you don’t think that way, everyone else thinks they are!”
“But, Mana, you don’t think they’re weird, right? Weren’t you really happy yesterday?”
“Tha—that’s……because, I am not familiar with how things work in Japan.”
Actually, I still don’t understand why I was laughed at for using training wheels.
“Compared to falling and hurting yourself, I think getting ridiculed is much better.”
“NO, I would rather get injured than be laughed at!”
I spoke without hesitation.
Compared to getting picked on by those high class female brats, a few scrapes on the knee aren’t much.
Kaoru stood up, lowered his head and apologized to me.
“It’s my fault, I underestimated Mana’s pride.”
“I-it’s good if you understand.”
What’s with that, suddenly becoming so gentle.
“I’ll take responsible for that by helping you learn how to ride a bike.”
That made me slightly happy.
To be honest, I have no idea what to do on my own.
“Because there’s no theory on how to ride a bike, it should be faster to learn if you experience how it feels once.”
“I see, but how should we accomplish that?”
“How about me riding, and you sitting behind?”
What a refreshing smile. If it was a simple girl, she would be easily captivated. But this move won’t work on me.
“But, Celine-chan doesn’t have a backseat.
“No problem, I rode my bike here today.”
I looked at the tree, and saw an old city bike parked under the shade. He made quite the preparation.
“Haha-n. So that’s how it is.”
“Your plot is to make me sit behind and hug you right? You’re a boy after all.”
For some reason, Kaoru tilted his head and replied.
“Am I really a boy? Is this the real me?”
“Huh? You mean you’re actually a girl?”
Come to think of it, his face is actually quite suitable for a girl’s too.”
“No no, that’s not what I meant.”
Kaoru smiled bitterly.
“Anyway, just get on, you don’t have to hug me.”
Kaoru sat on the saddle while I sat horizontally on the backseat.
The city bike slowly started moving.
“What are you doing? Go faster.”
“It is slightly dangerous though?”
“Just fly ahead! I can’t grasp the feel when it’s this slow.”
“Then, excuse me.” Kaoru said that and started to get serious.
“Kyaa—♪this is faster than Celine-chan—♪”
The bike went faster and faster; wind brushed against my cheeks as the scenery flew past me.
“Fast, fast this is fast! …..but isn’t this a little bit too fast?
The backseat started clattering and shaking; my butt hurts.
I held my skirt down to not let it get blown up by the wind.
“Wai—too fast too fast! This is too fast Kaoru!”
“Eh? What? I can’t hear you.”
I couldn’t hold on any longer and hugged Kaoru’s waist tightly.
This guy is really slim, his waist is probably smaller than mine. I thought this while hugging him with both of my arms to not fall off the bike.
Of course, I didn’t have any remaining room to hold down my skirt.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO IT’S FULLY EXPOSED AGAINNNNNNNNNN!”
We rode like this throughout the entire cycling road.
During the ride, I was pointed and laughed at by a group of elementary school students.
The salarymen lying on the grass stared at me.
The group of housewives holding shopping bags frowned at me.
That old man’s eyes widened once more. Why are you here again?
I can’t get married anymore.
“Was that on purpose? You did that on purpose right? You wanted to embarrass me right?”
“That wasn’t my intention.”
Kaoru sat on the bench and replied after taking a deep breath.
“It’s Mana who told me to ride faster right?”
“There should be a limit to that too! Even if I said to fly ahead, it should be at a speed that won’t flip my skirt up. You should at least care a bit more about me, how inconsiderate!”
“Girls are rather troublesome.”
Mmm—what’s with this guy, is he thinking highly of himself just because he’s hot?
“So, how do you feel? Can you grasp the feel?”
“I don’t know. I was hugging you with my dear life.”
The moment I said that, I instantly felt embarrassed.
I was hugging Kaoru with all my strength…..
“Then, how about you try it yourself?”
Kaoru was oblivious to my feelings and replied with a smile.
“Your hard work and embarrassment won’t be in vain. I have seen how hard you’re working.”
“Hmph, flattering me won’t help, you pretentious man.”
I decided to try riding.
I stepped on the pedal and started to ride slowly.
Although it is faster now, the balance is not there. Since the front wheel was shaking and I couldn’t go fast, I fell into the spiral of not being able to balance it, and in the end—
“It’s not working—!”
After falling down, I sat on the ground and yelled.
Kaoru scratched his head.
“As I expected, just by sitting behind, you couldn’t grasp the feeling.”
I don’t like this guy! I hate this guy!
“If that’s the case, you’ll accompany me every day until I learn how to ride a bike! Every day!”
“Erm, even if you say that, it will be hard to accompany you every day.”
“Stop joking around, do you know how many times you’ve made me fall? You have to take responsibility, you’re a man, right?”
For some reason, Kaoru showed a complicated face and murmured.
“Well, if you put it that way I have no other choice. Although I can’t do anything great, I’ll accompany you for now.”
“Hmph, of course!”
And so, the scrape on my knee got me a slave in return.
I’ll use him to his limits, and throw him away when he’s useless.
I visit Hime’s house every Sunday.
The trigger to it is the “doujinshi” I was forced to buy during the summer holidays. I went to her house to borrow the source manga, and from then onwards I started going to her house every Sunday for some reason.
“And then and then, that guy was totally head over heels for me—”
“That’s some good luck.”
Hime answered while moving her pen fluidly across her notebook.
Hime has been practicing drawing manga. She should be done with panel layouts now, and is using the script I wrote as a material, drawing over and over again.
Sitting beside her, I wasn’t fooling around either. I was busy reading Hime’s collection of books.
Actually, we are currently working on our plan of creating a doujinshi. The reason I was reading this hard was to find a title to work on.
“He said he is helping me learn how to ride a bike, but his intention to get closer to me is quite obvious. Well, if I turn down his offer, it’s like I’m too inflexible, right? Being popular is quite troublesome—”
Hime’s pen hand wouldn’t stop drawing.
“Hey~are you listening?”
Since she wouldn’t turn around and face me, I was a bit lonely, and I nudged her in the ribs.
Hime made a “nhyu” sound and curled up. She finally turned around and looked at me.
“Mana, do you like that guy?”
“Huh~? You really weren’t listening to me! I said this progress was out of my control, I had no choice!”
“But Mana, you look really happy.”
After being told by Hime, I instinctively touched my face, surprised.
“Th-there’s no such thing—! I think this is really troublesome! I’ll just use him until he breaks and dump him afterwards, dump!”
“So that’s how it is.”
Hime nodded and sipped her tea, taking a breath.
“So, Mana, did you find any outstanding works?”
“Mm, mmm—? That’s right, how about this? ‘My butler seems to become the king during the night’.”
I handed over the manga I was reading to her.
Hime instantly shook her head.
“I don’t recommend ‘MyNight’. The competition from the big names and the long standing circles are too strong, there’s no room to breathe. We should start a new genre.”
“Hmm, I see.”
Even the world of doujinshi have their own hardships.
“The new genre you’re talking about, can you be more specific?”
“You should take a look at this.”
Hime gave me a package of a game.
The setting looked like an aquarium, two men were hugging each other with a fish tank in the background.
This is ‘My Dolphin and His Whale’, a masterpiece that’s quite obscure. Although it’s still relatively unknown for now, I think it will experience a surge in popularity once it releases the sequel next month. So if we want to do it, we should do it now.”
The gender neutral boy on the packaging attracted me.
For some reason—he looks like Kaoru.
Although that guy’s hair is a bit shorter than the one on the packaging, the shape of the face and the eyes are almost the same.
No, the real one has slightly longer eyelashes……
“Mana, what’s wrong?”
Hime was trying to read my expression, and that pulled me back to reality.
“Do you like the prince that much?”
“That’s the nickname for the character; you’ll understand once you play it.”
Hime placed the game on my knee.
“How about you try playing? If Mana likes it, we’ll register with this genre as our debut.”
Since Hime said that, I’ll try it out.
Well, it’s just a game, there’s no way I’ll get addicted.
And so, after school practice time came again.”
“What happened to your face?”
The instant I appeared in the park, Kaoru exclaimed, surprised.
“Those are some bad looking eyebags, and your eyes is really red, did you stay up all night?”
“Um, well, I did stay up for a bit……”
“If you’re not feeling well, how about you go home for now?”
“It’s fine. It’s not like I’m tired.”
Really, I feel like, when I look at Kaoru, I just don’t feel tired anymore.
“His eyelashes are really longer than prince’s……”
“Eh? Who’s this ‘prince’?”
I realized I said it out loud and shook my head.
“Le-let’s not talk about this; help me today too will you!”
I started riding Celine-chan shakily.
If it was a normal day, I would instantly step on the ground out of fear of falling; but there’s no problem today.
Because Kaoru’s here.
“Ah, look out.”
That’s what I mean.
I lost balance after reaching the first tree shakily, and Kaoru stopped my fall properly.
“Your condition is not really good today huh?”
“I said that’s not the case. Let’s move to the next, the next.”
I did the same thing twice, thrice.
The fourth time……this feels good!
Although I started off shakily, I stabilized after I raised my speed.
“Wow, wow, wowow…….”
I can’t help but squeal with happiness.
This, this is what I was looking for! The feeling of splitting the wind apart! This is the feeling I was looking for when I started riding a bike!”
“Very good very good, keep it up!”
Kaoru, who was running by me, also sounded hyped.
When I stepped on the pedal to go faster, the front wheel made a “crunch” sound from an impact.
I stumbled on a small stone.
My hand, which was holding the handle, went numb and I lost balance. My body was thrown off the saddle and leaned forward, and just as I was about to hit the ground—
When I was inches away from the ground, Kaoru leaped over and caught me.
His slender hands circled around me, rolling across the ground with me.
His face, so close.
“Are you alright!? Did you fall on your head?”
Honestly, this isn’t the time for that.
Kaoru’s long eyelashes were right before me.
I couldn’t move my eyes away from his.
Our chests were pressing tightly against each other.
I wasn’t sure if he could hear my heartbeat; it was unnerving……
“……you look like you’re fine.”
Kaoru’s body moved away from mine.
He stood up and patted the dust off him, with his back turned to me.
“I’m sorry, but I need to go back.”
“Wa-wait up, what happened? Hey?”
“I just remembered that I have something important to tend to.”
Kaoru didn’t even turn to look at me and started walking.
I stood up and went after him.
“I’m asking you what happened, hey! I said hey!”
“Mana—what do you think of me?”
Kaoru stopped in his tracks and asked without turning his head.
“Do you think I’m a good person, for helping you learn how to ride a bike?”
No matter how our encounter went, I don’t think he’s a bad person.
“So Mana thinks so too.”
“What do you mean?”
“I—am not the type of person you think I am.”
Kaoru turned to me and said, having a somewhat lonely smile on his face.
“Actually, I’m full of malicious intent, am cunning, and I’m a liar. I’ve always acted like I’m an honest guy. ‘Upright man’, ‘popular guy’ or ‘fantastic guy’, I’m only playing these roles; nobody knows who the real me is, not even the best friend whom I love.”
“So you’re saying that it’s painful?”
So, you don’t want to help me practice anymore? Because you’re tired of it?
“When I’m with Mana, it is really fun. Flipping your skirt, making you fall, I feel like I can just be myself.”
“Th-then, isn’t that fine?”
“…………it would be nice if it can continue being that way.”
He made a dark expression that I’ve never seen before.
At this moment, his face overlapped with someone I was very familiar with.
A sad woman who plastered lies over lies, wore masks on top of masks, and ended up losing her real self throughout all of it.
I can’t leave someone who makes this face alone.
“If that’s the case, then let’s do it this way.”
I pledged to Kaoru.
“I’ll learn how to ride a bike alone, and you’ll stop playing one of the ‘roles’ you’re playing. After a month, we’ll meet here and compare our results, how about that?”
Kaoru stared blankly.
“Don’t you feel like the rules are a bit unbalanced?”
“NO. Is continuing to not be able to ride a bike fine? Is continuing putting on a façade fine? In the end, both are about ‘is staying this way fine’. This is a problem related to our pride!”
Kaoru thought about it silently for a while.
Before long, he answered with a weak smile.
“I understand, since Mana said that.”
“Now you’re talking!”
While we were talking, the sun fell in the west, and the area turned dark.
When it struck five, the speakers in the park started playing “The sun sets in the faraway mountains”.
“Then, we’ll meet in a month.”
I walked away with Celine-chan.
The brand new red bike was quite dirty, since I fell quite a few times; I’ll have to wash it when I get back.
“Mana, red colours fits you well!”
Kaoru waved his hand.
“If you ride that red bike with your blonde hair fluttering in the wind, I think it’ll definitely be as beautiful as a drawing.”
“Yes yes, see~you~”
I simply waved and replied, leaving Kaoru.
Even after walking quite a distance, my racing heartbeat did not return to normal.
I touched my face and found it hot to the touch.
His “red colour fits you well.” is still resonating inside my ears.
“Wh-what should I do……”
What should I do what should I do. What should I do.
I’m way too simple!
Ever since that day, I have practiced riding my bike super seriously.
The first two weeks were totally not going my way, but Hime gave me the godly advice of “taking down the pedal is the practice method of the dragoons”, and I improved dramatically. Riding without pedals let me focus on achieving balance, so I improved significantly. As expected of Hime, you’re great Hime, the Hime that only belongs to me!
By the fourth week, I was already fully capable of riding it.
If I’m just going to the convenience store, I ride there myself instead of taking the limousine.
Although the driver-cum-bodyguard Yasuoka complained that “it’s dangerous” and “it’s hard to protect you”, when I answered him with “why don’t you follow me on a bike?” he became obedient. I actually want to see how Yasuoka looks like on a bike.
However, I don’t ride my bike to school.
I decided to meet Kaoru first, and show him that I actually knew how to ride a bike before doing so.
And so, after school on the day we decided on—
I sat on the park bench where I first met him.
A week ago, I went to the bicycle shop and installed a backseat for Celine-chan. I’ll let Kaoru sit behind this time, and I’ll be the one riding.
……is he not here yet?
It’s already past four in the afternoon. Although we didn’t set a time, normally, it wouldn’t be weird for him to be here way earlier than this. Is he late because he has things to tend to in school or something? How impertinent.
That’s right, I need to ask him the name of his school!
Now, when I think about it, I don’t even know if he’s a middle school or high school student.
Will he be a Hane high student?
If that’s the case, I will make up my mind and attend the same school as Hime.
Hmm—it’s like I’m having naïve thoughts. Dammit, me.
What is that guy thinking.
Did he forget about his promise? He’s actually forgetting about his promise with a super beautiful girl? Stop kidding me! Does he know how much effort I made in one month’s time?
It can’t be that he fell sick or injured himself right.
I don’t know how to contact him either, I can’t do anything now can I? I can’t visit him either.
Then, more time passed by.
The speakers were playing “the sun sets in the faraway mountains”.
Although both meetings were at five o’ clock, the area is darker and colder than last time. If I knew it would take this long, I would’ve wore a coat.
“Why is he not coming.”
The words I murmured with my head lowered fell to the grass.
That guy, already, about me……<--Since Japanese and English have different sentence structures, incomplete sentences tend to be a problem since it makes no sense in English. Most translation tend to have a good idea of what the character is trying to say and change it to English form, but I can’t tell if Mana is trying to say Kaoru forgot about her or just doesn’t care about her or otherwise.-->
Footsteps could be heard.
I instantly raised my head, and saw the silhouette I’ve been waiting for.
I stood up and roared.
“How long did you want me to wait! Y-y-yo-you made me worried!”
Kaoru answered softly.
At that moment, I noticed something weird.
He was wearing a skirt.
Actually, it’s more of a uniform.
Although I couldn’t remember the name, he was wearing the female uniform of a nearby school.
“What’s this, you developed a crossdressing fetish in the short time we have not met each other?”
“It’s not like that, Kleinsmith-san.”
He was pronouncing the name that he once said was hard to pronounce fluently.
“I’m Kaoru’s younger twin sister, Asoi Kaori.”
“Wh-what are you talking about? Are you serious?”
“That’s true. Although I said that, I have no way of proving it.”
The Kaoru who called himself Kaori remained expressionless.
Is she really someone else?
Such similar looking twins, is it possible?
“My brother won’t come; he couldn’t hold up his side of the promise.”
This unexpected line made me speechless.
“Th-then ask him to come and explain it himself!”
Kaori looked like she was trying to find her words for an instant, and then—
“You are starting to fall for Kaoru, aren’t you?”
I couldn’t make a sound.
Maybe it was because she got it right, but it isn’t that simple.
Hearing those words from someone else is actually a really sad thing.
It’s like an important treasure that you try to hide from the eyes of others being exposed.
“My brother’s body can’t fall in love.”
Kaori continued coldly.
“If girls fall for him, the only thing he can do is to leave them. That’s the ‘role’ he’s shouldering.”
“Role” again, huh.
Just how important is that thing?
“So, that means he can’t appear in front of me again?”
The silence continued on for a while.
I flexed my sweaty fists while trying to calm myself down.
“Then, why did he talk to me; couldn’t he have just ignore a middle school girl who couldn’t ride a bike?”
Kaori took a deep breath and answered.
“That’s because you looked really happy, no?”
“Yeah, you worked hard for that small pride of yours.”
A cold wind swept by, taking away Kaori’s voice.
The leaves on the trees that are also decorating the bicycle route have already started their change in colour..
It shouldn’t be long before they are dyed in a flaming red colour.
“Just like I have heard; this is a really great bicycle.”
Kaori looked at Celine-chan and said that.
“I can ride it properly now; I fulfilled my promise.”
Kaori did not reply to that.
“Then, I shall take my leave.”
“Please hold on for a moment.”
I sat on Celine-chan.
“Sit behind me.”
“But, aren’t two people riding on the same bike not allowed?”
“Enough, just get on!”
Kaori hesitated a little, but she got on in the end.
“You should grab on properly.”
The instant I moved Celine-chan forward, Kaori grabbed my waist.
The feel of her touch sparked my memory.
……so, this girl is really…….
“You really learned how to ride a bike.”
Kaori’s voice from the back sounded a bit hoarse.
“—tell me one thing.”
“What school does Kaoru attend?”
After a short moment of silence that felt like hesitation—
“Prefectural Hanenoyama high school.”
“Is that so? Thank you.”
I made Celine-chan go faster.
My blonde hair fluttered in the wind.
The scenery I shared with Kaoru flew past me one by one—
My school of choice will be Hanenoyama High School.
My aim is to make Kaoru fall head over heels for me.
I’ll hold him captive down to his bone marrow and make him forget his “roles” and what not.
And then—I’ll throw him away like broken garbage!
Translator's notes and references
- A system where you rise from kindergarten to university directly without any entrance exams.
- SFX for bike and girl crashing to the ground.
- This line was written in katakana, it’s just Mana’s inability to understand the word.
- A result of a collaboration between Japanese tire making company Bridgestone and French fashion brand Céline, the Bridgestone Celine limited edition bike, extremely rare.
- Mana said this in English.
- Self-published works.
- Both “out of my control” and “I had no choice” are the same phrase originally, しかたなく.
- She said this in English.
- ”Tooki Yama ni Hi wa Ochite”, also known as “Shinsekai” (New World). Music composed by Antonin Dvořák in his “Symphony No. 9”, also known as “New World Symphony”, lyrics written by Horiuchi Keizou.
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