“Hnng~ it’s over~. I’m going back~ Hikaru”
After homeroom, Masachika looked up at his two close friends as he gathered his things in the classroom with a peculiar relaxing after-school atmosphere.
“Huh? Takeshi, are you in the light music club today? How about the baseball club?”
“It’s a day-off today. Around this period our activities are a little irregular”
Takeshi and Hikaru were in a band in the light music club, but Takeshi was also in the baseball club team.
His reason for joining two clubs was “Firstly, if I can play sports and music won’t I be popular with girls?”. His reason was simple and loaded with ulterior motives but, this was the reason for Takeshi’s strongness1.
“Is Masachika going home already?”
“Yeaah~ well, there’s not much to do~”
“Why don’t you just join a club, Masachika? It’s a little late in the season, but it’s not too late, yeah?”
“You’re really…. This is the only time you can spend your youth in club activities, right?”
Takeshi shook his head and said “Fu~ really this guy”, and looked up to the sky with theatrical movements.
“Friendships deepened through club activities! The smell of dirt, sweat and tears shed from days of effort! And then…. In the midst of all that, the feelings of love burn in blue!”
“Friendships that collapse because of difference in opinion. The smell of iron, blood and regret shed from days of effort. And then…. The feelings of jealousy burn in black when some of the aces got all the girls for themselves”
“Stooop! Don’t just bring out the dark and dull side of club activities! Our club activities ain’t like that!”
“Even friendship… after all, is just a fragile thing, you know?”
“See! Now Hikaru’s gone dark!”
“Sorry, Hikaru. It’s my fault so please come back”
“Love is…. Far more likely to hurt people, you know?”
Masachika and Takeshi tried their best to pull Hikaru back, who suddenly lost the lights in his eyes and started to carry dark shadows on his back.
After they somehow managed to make Yamiru-san2 go home, Masachika parted with both of them and headed towards his shoebox.
“Club activities…. huh”
He muttered that in an indifferent voice while looking at the soccer club team members gathering at the schoolyard.
Different from the time in middle school where he was always really busy with the student council, now Masachika had plenty of free time for club activities. It’s not like he never had the thought on the matter when he saw his friends enjoying their club activities.
But it never did manage to move his heart in any way. He was unmotivated. The feelings that it’s troublesome would always come forward.
For Masachika, it took a huge amount of effort to start something new.
“Well, like that is how I slowly lose opportunities and in the end, end up doing nothing though….”
He mumbled to himself, but only feelings of self-depreciation spread in his chest. It didn’t generate enough heat to move him.
Then, the phone in his pocket vibrated.
Just to be safe, he looked around to make sure there were no teachers nearby, and Masachika took out his phone and looked down at the message displayed on the screen.
He then let out a small sigh and turned on his heel.
Going down the hallway, he knocked on the door of the room indicated by the message and opened it. Right there, the perpetrator who called out Masachika to come here, Suou Yuki, turned her head to look at Masachika.
Yuki, who had been crouching down in front of a shelf organizing equipment, smiled like a blooming flower. She held her skirt down while standing up…. And immediately afterwards, she rushed over to Masachika in pitter-patter while raising a sweet voice.
“Ah, Masachika-kuu~un. Come come~”
Her usual young lady-like demeanor was nowhere to be seen, and she acted cute in a strangely playful manner.
If other students were to see this, they’d be like, “Did the princess eat something strange!?”, and get astounded by this sight but, Masachika showed a wry smile and went along with it.
“Sorr~y, did you wait?”
Masachika rushed over in the same pitter-patter manner while raising a coquettish voice. Setting aside Yuki who was a beautiful girl, this one was objectively very creepy.
But, Yuki didn’t seem to mind it and continued her playful act.
“Nnn. I did I did~”
“Hey now, right there it should be ‘No, I just got here’ right?”
“You two are really close, huh”
When a cold voice came from beyond the shelves lined up in the room, like a snap, Masachika stopped moving.
Still with a frozen expression, he creakily turned only his eyes that way and there, blue eyes were peeking out reproachfully from the gaps between the equipment stacked on the shelves.
“….So you’re here, Alya”
“Yes, I’m here. I’m sorry, okay? That I’m being a bother”
“No way, haha….”
While he sent a forced smile to Alisa, who said that in a thorny tone, Masachika turned his eyes filled with protest to Yuki.
However, Masachika’s cheek twitched when Yuki, who had completely returned to her young lady-like demeanor, smiled gracefully while tilting her head.
He was tempted to poke her in the face just like that, but he couldn’t do that in front of Alisa. Thus, Masachika coughed and covered it up.
“Err… so? You want me to help you organize the equipment?”
“Yes. It seems just the two of us were not enough to do it… May I ask for your help?”
“Well, I guess I could help…. I got the feeling that I need to start with other problems first though and it doesn’t feel great”
“It is just your imagination”
Masachika headed to the back with Yuki while cracking jokes.
“Alya too, let’s do our best”
Alisa replied back without taking her eyes off of the equipment on the shelves. While Masachika smiled wryly at that, he received the list of the equipment from Yuki.
“For now, could you please start from around here?”
“Desks and folding chairs. Checking for the quantity and damages, huh. Ro~ger….. Wait, I’ve been wondering since middle school but, is this a job for student council….?”
“Who knows… but, it is really convenient at a time of an event to know what equipment is available, where they are, and how much you have, you know?”
“Uhuh, that’s true but… this, I think it’s unreasonable for two girls….”
“Just in case, the president intends to lend us a hand later but anyhow, the president is also very busy too”
Once again realizing the lack of human resources in the current student council, Masachika began his work.
He checked the quantity exactly as written on the list, and brushed aside the torn cushions or chairs with leg caps that had come off.
“Impressive, you’re very good at what you do”
Masachika felt his own stamina deteriorating being subjected to Yuki’s honest praise and Alisa’s somewhat admiring gaze on his back.
(Ah~ shit, my arms starting to hurt)
He didn’t show such pretense in front of the two of them, but his physical strength definitely was not as much as it had been two years ago when he had been busy with the student council.
Masachika’s arms and hips started to sore after repeatedly lifting and lowering the stacks of folding chairs.
(Aah~ heavy tough troublesome. I shouldn’t have taken this job so lightly. If Yuki just contacted me a little earlier~ I could’ve dragged Takeshi iiin~~ Now that she mentioned it, if the president is coming she didn’t need to call me, didn’t she?)
While making some rather petty remarks in his mind, Masachika converted his frustration into energy and worked at a very fast pace. At his back, Yuki’s voice called out to him.
“Masachika-kun, can you give me a little help?”
When he turned around, Yuki looked troubled, pointing at the cardboard placed on the top-most column. Even among girls, Yuki was on the smaller side. So it might’ve been hard for Yuki to bring down the goods inside placed on the top-most column.
(I see, so you called me to do physical work and reach high places, huh)
Convinced of this, Masachika went over to Yuki and set the cardboard box down on the floor for her.
“Thank you very much, Masachika-kun”
“Yeah… wait, what’s this?”
The slightly open lid revealed a strangely colorful box through the gap. Out of curiosity, he opened it and found all sorts of table games inside.
“Life board games and card games… What are these? Why are there these kinds of things here?”
“I heard it was one of the equipment from the board game club abolished a few years back. Many of the items were bought with the school budget, so the school took them back”
“Haa~ so that’s it…. Wait, aren’t you not lending this out?”
“We do. But most of the students are not aware that these are available for lending, though”
“Thought so. I mean, what are you going to use these for?”
“For a school festival show…. Or a launch of a club for example, I think? I also had a little fun at a get-together the other day to celebrate the birth of the new student council”
“Fuuu~un, by the way who won?”
“Err~ I think it was me who won?”
“And the second place was….”
“You two, continue working”
“Ah, I am sorry. Alya-san”
“Well, excuse me”
Shrinking back at Alisa’s warning, the two stopped their chattering and got back to work. Reflecting, Masachika decided to not think about anything unnecessary and focus on his work.
For a short while, it was silent inside the room. What was audible was just the sound of equipment being moved around and something being written on the list. In the silence, Alisa’s Russian slipped out.
【Give me your attention, too】
A critical hit on Masachika’s heart! It was a surprise attack and it was very effective!
(Ngguuuh~~! No, this is just a glimpse! This is just a glimpse of Alya’s exhibitionism! It’s the kind I’m not supposed to react to!)
Biting his lips, Masachika desperately struggled to endure the coming onslaught of mushy feelings. That’s right, Alisa is just enjoying the thrill. Alisa is just having fun making embarrassing remarks that are supposed to go unnoticed. In other words, this is not her true feelings and it’s the kind of thing she doesn’t want people to react to!
【Give~ me~ it~, give~ me~ it, give me~】
The pressure is.. incredible….!
Masachika was vomiting blood in his heart at Alisa calling out in a whisper as if singing. It was not a situation where one could say she didn’t mean it anymore.
(Rather, how do you feel about this!? Are you not embarrassed!?)
Masachika was screaming his thoughts inside but, even Alisa too was embarrassed.
Alisa writhed in agony, soundlessly. As she crouched down in front of a shelf to do her work, deep down Alisa was excited in various ways.
She glanced behind her to check, even though she knew her thoughts didn’t get through.
She was relieved to see Masachika’s back as he continued his work
(Fu, fuu~n. He didn’t get it~. It’s an easy to understand appeal too…. Tru-truly, he’s really not sensible)
They were working with their backs to each other, but in reality, those two’s bodies were trembling in shame. It was very funny to watch from the side.
【Give~ me~ it~, give~ me~ it~】
(Gufuh! N-no, not yet! There’s still a possibility it’s not me! It’s possible she’s asking for Yuki’s attention, after all—)
Yuki called out to Alisa from the entrance, though she probably hadn’t noticed the state of the two of them.
“Alya-san, is something the matter?”
Alisa was startled, but quickly glossed over her appearance and tone.
“Aah, I’m sorry. I was singing a little”【Not you】
(–Not her, all right! I knew it!)
Masachika was on the verge of being knocked out by the relentless triple combo. His legs and hips have started trembling.
“He- hee~h, a Russian song? What song?”
Towards Masachika’s question, Alisa suddenly looked back. She looked somewhat happy and Masachike wondered if it’s just his imagination. The truth was not clear, but for now, Masachika’s heart took additional damage.
“The title is…”
“What, you don’t remember it?”
“I do, err… it’s ‘Unreachable Feelings’?”
Masachika’s heart died safely from the answer given with somewhat embarrassed upturned eyes.
“With this, we are more or less done. Thanks for your hard work. Thank you very much, Masachika-kun”
“Thank you, you really did help us”
About an hour later, with the remarkable work of Masachika, who had put his heart and soul into it, the three of them left the equipment room having finished the work much earlier than planned. Then, a large male student approached them.
“What, are you done?”
“Aah, president. Thanks for your hard work. And yes, thanks to Kuze-kun’s cooperation, we finished much earlier than scheduled”
“Ah, so you’re Kuze, huh. I’m Kenzaki, the student council president. I’ve heard about you, you know? I heard you’re considerably outstanding”
While giving a light bow, Masachika looked up at the man in front of him. Self-introduction was unnecessary, Masachika already knew who he was.
Second year, Kenzaki Touya. He was the charismatic student council president leading the current student council of the high school section.
He was a big man. In addition to being tall, he had broad shoulders and thick chest, which made him look bigger than he actually was if you looked at him up close. At a glance, he wasn’t a particularly handsome man.
Rather, he had a quite old-looking face. Together with his physique, he didn’t look like a second-year high school student.
However, his eyebrows were neatly groomed and his glasses were stylish.
Above all, his confidence overflowing from his expression gave him the charm and dignity that of a man.
(Now I understand, this is really quite a charisma)
Just one look at him, he’d make you feel that he was a reliable man. It naturally made you think that if you followed this person, things would go all right. To put it in a more exaggerated way, one could say he had the air of a ruler.
I was wondering what kind of man would be able to tow four really high-spec beautiful girls all by himself, but I’d understand it if it’s this man. Masachika thought so honestly.
“Then, I will leave now”
“Hold on. It’d be a shame to send you home without giving anything back after receiving your help. Time is of the essence. If you like, let me treat you to a meal at least”
“Err, just your feelings are enough….”
Masachika was reluctant to accept Touya’s offer. He simply felt reserved to be treated to a meal by a senior he had just met, but at the same time he had a bad guess in his head.
To be specific, he wondered if this might have been perhaps the true purpose of Yuki’s summon. Yuki opened her mouth as if to affirm his guess.
“Isn’t it fine to accept it. Either way, when you get home you won’t have any food, right?”
“Hmm? Why does Suou know about Kuze’s home situation?”
Yuki replied with a clear smile towards Touya and Alisa’s very reasonable questioning look.
“We are childhood friends after all”
(No, that’s not an answer)
Although Masachika was…. perhaps Touya and Alisa too were making such remarks in their mind, but Yuki’s archaic smile was so powerful that it left no room for such tactless remarks.
“Is that so…. Well, that being the case then it’s just right. Suou and Kujou little sister also come too. It’s my apology for pushing the odd jobs to you. It’ll be my treat today”
“It’s my pleasure to accept it, president”
“….I understand. Thank you very much”
The next thing he knew, he was supposed to go. To be honest, he wasn’t too keen on the idea, but he couldn’t bring himself to obstinately refuse. Thus, Masachika reservedly followed after them.
(So this is the strength of the student council president, huh….)
As he was thinking about that with resignation, Yuki looked back and gave him a complacent smile. Apparently, this was really her true aim.
(So this is the ploy of the student council public relation, huh….)
Masachika sighed inwardly. Going by the flow, Masachika turned his attention to Alisa walking next to him.
“Well, no reason”
“What’s that. It’s usually rude to stare at a woman’s face for no reason”
It was a valid point, so Masachika honestly reflected on it and looked forward.
(So this is the cold treatment of the student council accountant, huh….)
Masachika was thinking stupid things while having a distant look inside.
【Now I’m nervous, aren’t I】
Still having a faraway look, Masachika vomited blood. He could feel Alisa with a smirk on her lips glancing at him, but he had no room to spare to react. Masachika MP was already zero.
Once again in a state of nothingness, Masachika changed his shoes at the entrance and went outside.
Then after a short while, they came across a group of what seemed to be the soccer club.
They seemed to have finished their practice, and when they saw Masachika’s group of four, they naturally moved to the side.
(No, they look at the other three not me, right)
Even as they passed each other this way, he could feel staring eyes from the side. As one would expect, Alisa was attracting the most attention.
Then Yuki, and after that was Masachika. However, the attention gathered on Masachika was, “Who is this guy”, filled with such suspicion.
(Yeah, that’s expected)
Masachika himself was aware that he was out of place, but he still felt a little uncomfortable.
In contrast, it’s as one would expect of Alisa and Yuki. They were gathering more attention than Masachika, but they didn’t look fazed at all. They didn’t even seem to care.
That didn’t change even after leaving school. These two girls were even gathering the eyes of passersby. However, the three of them, except Masachika, proceeded down the street in a familiar manner and entered a family restaurant about ten-minute walk away from school.
They were guided to their table. Touya sat first at the far end, and Masachika urged the two girls to sit down first in order to not sit in front of him. However,
“Cause you know… Alya”
“Why are you dumping it on me”
Yuki recommended the seat in front of Touya with a nonchalant smile and Masachika passed it to Alisa with a feigning-ignorance face. Thus, a few seconds of stalemate. And it was Touya who broke it.
“Just sit down, Kuze. You’re troubling the employee”
When he looked, there was indeed a young female employee standing idle, holding a tray with glasses on top of it. Masachika gave it up and sat in front of Touya. Yuki smoothly slid down her body next to him and Alisa sat down next to Touya.
“….It’s a little late but, Isn’t it against school regulations to stop by in uniform?”
“Don’t mind it. It’s not uncommon for me to be late for a student council meeting, go out to eat and then go home. It’s a school regulation that has long since become an empty word. Never mind that and order anything you want. Anything less than a thousand yen, of course”
“President, you did lose half of your coolness with those last words, you know?”
“Fuu, Manliness won’t fill your wallet, Suou”
Touya’s playful line softened the atmosphere, and Masachika too also relaxed his shoulders. But, it was still too early to lose focus. As soon as they finished their orders, and precisely within a thousand per person, the topic of conversation immediately turned to Masachika.
“Even so, you managed to go through all that in so little time, huh. I was prepared it’d take until tomorrow, though”
Right after Touya said that, Yuki immediately chimed in.
“It was thanks to Masachika-kun doing his best after all. As expected, having a male help really makes a difference. Especially if you are used to it”
“I suppose you’re right”
“Masachika-kun is amazing, you know? He can do physical and office work without complaining, and he is also very good at negotiation and making connection”
“Hey, Yuki. You’re praising me too much. Overestimating someone even has limits”
“Hoh, it’s unusual for Suou to say that much. What do you think, Kuze. Are you interested in joining the student council? It’s just right when we don’t have anyone for the general affairs”
It came to this after all. Masachika glared at Yuki glancing at him from his side, and then formally informed Touya.
“I’m sorry but, I’m not going to be in the student council anymore. I already learned my lesson in the middle school”
“I see…. It’s true that the work of the student council in the high school section is more exhausting than in the middle school, but it’s worth the effort, alright? Compared to other school, our school gives the student council a lot more discretionary power, and to be honest, it’s going to have a big impact on your personal evaluation”
Touya’s words were the truth. Being a member of the Seirei Educational Institute’s student council was a big status in itself.
In particular, the titles of the president and vice-president, which were the institutional center of the student council, were the titles of absolute elites that transcended the boundaries of the school caste. Not to mention that it was advantageous for university recommendation, it would also hold of great significance after you entered the society.
After all, there was even a social gathering consisting only of Seirei Educational Institute’s former student council presidents and vice-presidents, to which a great number of important figures in political and business circles belonged.
If you were able to run the student council without problems for a year, it was like a guarantee of success in the society.
On the other hand, if you were to run the student council poorly and cause problems, you’d be labeled as “incompetent”. Nevertheless, there were still a lot of people aiming for that seat, and the quickest way to take the seat of student council president and vice-president in the next term was to pile up achievements as a member of the student council.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have that much ambition or aspiration. Currently I don’t plan to go to another university and the idea of having connections with big-shots isn’t particularly appealing to me”
For Masachika, who was just spending his daily lives casually without any future goal, such things were of no particular benefit, however.
“Don’t say that, and let’s work together in the student council. And then, let’s run for the election again, shall we?”
“Don’t increase your requests so casually. I mean, even without me you’re almost certain to be the next president, right? You’re the former middle school student council president after all”
“I want to work in the student council together with you, Masachika-kun”
“Don’t want to. It’s troublesome”
More than 90% of the male students at school would most likely involuntarily nod their heads to Yuki’s begging, but Masachika just cut it down. Looking at them amusingly, Touya stroked his chin.
“Kuze, to say Suou is surely to win the election is a big mistake, alright? There are other candidates too, and there’s this Kujou little sister”
Saying that, he glanced down at Alisa sitting next to him. Lured by it, Masachika also looked at her and his eyes met with Alisa’s staring at him silently.
“Alya, are you planning to run for the next student council president election?”
“Yes, Yuki-san and I are going to fight for it next year”
Alisa looked at Yuki in front of her. Yuki met her gaze with a calm smile. Masachika conjured up a vision of flames rising behind the two of them.
As if to break the ice, Touya now brought up a subject to Alisa.
“Come to think of it, Kujou little sister is sitting next to Kuze in class, huh. So how’s Kuze? From your point of view”
But as it turned out, it was an act of adding fuel to the fire.
“Even if you asked me how’s him… If I were to put in one word, it’s ‘frivolous’”
Alisa trashed him with a cold-hearted face, while Touya looked very interested.
Immediately after she glanced at Masachika, but Masachika was aware of it and could only shrug his shoulders.
Rather, “Way to go, keep at it and bring down Yuki’s exaggerated praises”, what a way he was thinking about.
“Always forgetting things, and his attitude in class can’t be said to be good either. It seems quicker to look for his grades from the bottom, too”
“Masachika-kun is.. Only doing the bare minimum when his motivation is low after all. But he always managed to just precisely not get a failing mark, though”
Yuki immediately made a follow-up after Alisa’s relentless evaluation of him. Alisa’s eyebrows twitched, and flames once again appeared behind her.
“….I guess so, I’m sitting next to him so I know his scores. Even on quizzes, he’s always avoided retests. That impressed me a little. If only he really puts his mind into it, couldn’t he get high scores, is what I think, too”
“Masachika-kun is originally really smart after all. He was also able to make it into Seirei without much trouble. Ah, I know all this because we are childhood friends, though”
“Kuze-kun is not only smart but he is athletic too and yet.. he’s not very good at ball games. Sometime ago too, in basketball lesson he jammed his fingers”
“Masachika-kun.. hasn’t been good at ball games since he was little. Although I said that, I can’t speak for others. Aah, Masachika-kun, your favorite in PE class is endurance run, right?”
Blazing blazing blazing
Phantom flames blazed up behind Alisa. Wondering if it hit him, sweat started to ooze out from his forehead. However, he didn’t feel hot at all in reality.
It was strange that Yuki, who was facing her directly from the front, had a cool face.
“Tha-thank you for waiting~”
Then, the employee called out shyly, bringing their food.
Of all places, the two beautiful girls sitting on the aisle side gave off an unusual atmosphere, and at that, the customer service smile of the employee cramped. Masachika looked over, and saw that it was the employee from earlier, holding a tray and standing still.
What a poor thing. From her point of view, today might’ve been perhaps an unlucky day.
“Oh, the food came. For now, how about we start eating”
At Touya’s words, Alisa and Yuki stopped their glaring showdown, and the atmosphere softened.
Masachika’s respect towards Touya had gone up. In addition, the employee’s favorability towards Touya had gone up. However, it would never develop into a romantic event because Touya had had a girlfriend.
After they had finished eating in the family restaurant, they went outside and as one would expect, the surrounding was already dark
Before that, first of all during the meal they had a friendly conversation. The host, Touya, basically did almost all the talking, Yuki took the role of moderating the situation with her high communication skills, and Masachika and Alisa wholly took the listener role so the situation didn’t get out of hand.
In exchange, Masachika was invited to join the student council several times by both Touya and Yuki, but Masachika didn’t nod to that.
“““Thank you for the meal”””
After Touya was done paying the bill, he left the family restaurant. The three juniors each thanked him and Touya nodded humbly. Then he made a thinking face as he moved to the parking lot.
“Kujou little sister is a walker, aren’t you. Suou takes the train like me, how’s Kuze getting home?”
“Ah, I’ll also be on foot”
“Is that so. Then Kuze, send Kujou little sister home. I’ll send Suou home”
He obediently nodded to Touya’s words as his respects towards Touya, who was a gentleman who was able to say these things naturally, had gone up. Then, Yuki raised her hand reservedly.
“Umm, President. I really appreciate your consideration but, I will call for a car so it’s fine”
“Mu, is that so?”
“Yes. I will wait here until the car arrives, so please don’t worry about me”
“…. I see. Then, see you next week”
Masachika saw Touya off, who told them so and walked towards the station. Then Masachika made eye contact with Alisa.
“Well then, let’s go?”
“It’s not like, you have to go out of your way to send me home. It’s fine”
“That reason won’t work. C’mon, let’s go. See ya, Yuki”
“Yes, see you”
“See you in a few days, Yuki-san”
“Yes, Alya-san too”
Yuki bowed beautifully while sending them off. Masachika and Alisa started walking in the opposite direction Touya was headed.
“How far is Alya’s home on foot?”
“Roughly about twenty minutes”
“I see, you sure do walk a lot”
“How about Kuze-kun?”
“Me? About 15 minutes I guess. Considering our walking speed, maybe the distance is not that different”
Then, silence. They were walking without being able to somehow find a topic of conversation, and a little further on, a door of a yakitori shop was opened. From inside, a group of what appeared to be salary men came out into the street.
“Sheesh, what the hell do those development guys think we salespeople are!”
“Chief, you had too much drink”
“Isoyama-san, not so loud, okay?”
A sitting middle-aged man with a red face and eyes was shouting and talking nonsense, and several men seemed to be his subordinates were soothing him.
The drunkenness was obvious. Masachika moved Alisa to the side near the road and tried to walk past them without making eye contact.
However, just as they were about to walk past them, the man called chief caught a sight of Masachika and Alisa in his eyes. Then, perhaps something didn’t sit well with him, his face contorted into displeasure and he started shouting in a loud voice.
“Whaat? Having illicit sexual relationship at this hour? Sheesh, students nowadays only think of fooling around! Students’ duty is to study, you heeaar~~?”
“Isoyama-san! That’s not good!”
“Let-let’s stop at that o.. kay?”
“Shut up! Besides… the hell.. Is that?”
Not even minding his subordinates trying to stop him, the man looked at Alisa walking in the shadow of Masachika, and snorted.
“What a dumb hair color. I want to see the parents’ face. I’m sure they’re just the same flashy-looking, useless parents anyway!”
Alisa’s feet suddenly stopped at the man deliberately making her hear his abusive language.
Sensing Alisa’s anger, Masachika urged her to ignore him to avoid trouble, but Alisa, still stopped on her feet, looked at the man with horrifyingly cold eyes. She then spat out at him with contempt incomparable to scolding she usually directed to Masachika.
“What a disgraceful adult”
The voice was small, but it sounded strangely clear, even over the loud voices of the man and his subordinates trying to sooth him. The men stopped moving for a moment as if taken aback by the overly unforgiving way of speaking.
However, the man called chief immediately made an angry face and shook off the restraint of his subordinates, who had come back to their senses. With rough steps, he then came closer to Alisa.
In response, Alisa turned around and showed an attitude of not backing down but…. faster than her, Masachika all of sudden wedged himself in between them.
He then faced the man approaching him with unconcealed anger, and smiled gently, seemingly out of place.
“It’s been a while, chief Isoyama. Was it since I had the chance to greet you at my older brother’s wedding?”
“A.. ah.. huh?”
The man stopped in his tracks, caught off guard by the sudden polite greeting. He seemed to have sobered up a bit from the unexpected situation and looked at Masachika’s face with confusion on his face.
“I’m glad to see you’re doing well. My older brother told me that you were an important business partner of our company, so I remember you well”
“A.. aah, yeah”
The man nodded while bewilderment clearly spread across his whole face as if to say, ”Eh? Who?”.
However, towards Masachika’s way of saying “business partner”, impatience started to slowly appear on his face.
While the man’s subordinates and Alisa were confused by the situation, Masachika showed a gentle smile and continued as it was.
“Be that as it may… even at my older brother’s wedding you seemed to be drinking a lot. I see that you really like drinking”
“Ah, yeah, speaking of things I like, it’s this weekend’s drinking party, you see. Hahaha”
“Is that so. Ah, and this here is my fiancée”
The turn of events was too much to predict. He put his hands on her shoulders and smiled proudly as Alisa opened her eyes wide and stared at Masachika.
“She’s really a brilliant one. A woman too good for me, I say”
“Is.. that so. Indeed, she seems to be an intelligent girl”
Even while confusion still oozing out from his face, the man made the exact opposite assessment as previously with a stiff smile.
In response, still with a gentle smile, Masachika lowered the tone of his voice with eyes harboring cold light.
“Don’t you agree? Also, her mother came from overseas. And she inherited her hair from her mother, you know. What do you think? Isn’t it beautiful?”
“N-now I see….”
Looking at Alisa’s obviously foreign blood in her looks up close, the man must have realized that his words were not a lie.
He looked completely sober and awkward. He faced Alisa and bowed his head slightly.
“Err.. I’m sorry about earlier. Although I was drunk, I did say something rude”
Seeing this, Masachike withdrew his sharp gaze and said gently.
“I have received your apology. You’ve too, right?”
He looked at Alisa over his shoulder, though, she didn’t say anything while glaring at the man.
Nevertheless, Masachika nodded approvingly. He put his hand over Alisa’s shoulder as if to hide her expression, and urged her to walk.
”Well then, we should be on our way”
He then left the place with Alisa. They continued for a while in silence. When the men were out of sight, Masachika removed his hand from Alisa’s shoulder and let out a breath.
“Really, you’re too reckless. You knew if you said something like that to a drunkard they’d get angry right?”
“….My parents were insulted, you know. Just because he’s drunk doesn’t mean I’d let it pass”
“Like I said, you’re too reckless. What if he hit you or something”
“It may not be obvious, but I too learned some self-defense techniques. I’m not soft enough to be injured by a drunkard”
Alisa’s voice was flat, as if she was still angry and had forcibly held it down from above. Masachika scratched his head wondering what to do because he also understood how she felt.
“….Well, even that old man admitted that he was in the wrong. You’ll have to settle for that this time”
“….I know that”
Alisa let out a long, whooshing breath and regained her calm expression as per her words.
“Anyway, is the man earlier your acquaintance?”
“No? I don’t know him at all”
When Alisa looked at him with a flabbergasted expression, Masachika then said with a faint smile.
“Well, that was a big surprise. Looks like a scam pretending to be relatives can also be successful face-to-face”
“Hu-Huuh!? Eh, then he’s a complete stranger? What about what happened at your big brother’s wedding!?”
“I don’t have an older brother, though?”
“Well yeah, he’s drunk and all that but, I also never thought it would go that smoothly. I was really nervous inside. Ha ha ha, glad it went well”
Alisa seemed to have a headache over Masachika’s empty laugh.
“….Why, did you do that?”
“Hmm? Nn~ how to put it~, it looked like he had a lot of alcohol flowing in his head after all. I was just trying to cool him down a bit by bringing up talk about work. And then there’s also that… I guess”
“What is it”
Masachika glanced at the suspicious Alisa and shrugged his shoulders.
“….I was.. ticked off by that old man’s abusive words, too. I just wanted to spook him a little. Things didn’t get messy and we got an apology out of him. Concerning the result, I think it’s quite enough”
“Haah… I can’t believe you’re able to come up with such a bunch of lies on the spur of the moment like that. You.. you have a talent as scam artists, don’t you?”
“How rude. You dare to talk like that towards this pure and innocent Masachika-san”
“….You sure are”
“Stop it. Don’t let it go through with such empty eyes. That’s much more spiritually damaging”
Snickering at Masachika’s pathetic face, Alisa started to quickly walk ahead. After he was fast enough to line up with her, Alisa muttered in a small voice, still looking ahead.
And Masachika too responded while still looking ahead. After that, there was no conversation between the two. They kept walking in silence, and before long they came to a stop in front of Alisa’s apartment building.
“Is it here?”
“Yes, thank you for escorting me”
Facing each other in front of the entrance, Masachika scratched his head while saying one last reminder.
“Well, I guess it’s uncommon to encounter something like today. Though, when you’re alone you really should just ignore it, okay? It’ll be too late if something goes south”
“What? Are you worried about me?”
“Yeah, I am. You’re a bit tactless when it comes to interacting with people after all”
Masachika replied with straight eyes to Alisa, who laughed as if to poke fun at him.
At his sincere reply, Alisa was blinking her eyes with a straight face. She then muttered a small “I see”.
She then spun around and looked back at the entrance over her shoulder.
“….I understand. I will.. be a bit more careful”
“Is that right. Then please do”
Continuing walking a few steps, she stopped before the automatic door. Without turning around, she then called out to Masachika.
“Are you really.. not going to join the student council?”
“Oh come on, even you too”
Masachika withdrew his joking smile at her firm voice that didn’t allow any mischiefs or deceptions. He then replied in a similar firm voice, so as not to leave any lingering hope.
“Yeah, I’m not going to join the student council”
However, Alisa did not back down. Her voice sounded a little bit more impatience as she continued to speak.
“What if.. I–”
But, the words were cut off there. After a few seconds of silence, Alisa said, “no”.
“It’s nothing. Good night”
She then went straight into her apartment building. After seeing off her back, Masachika also turned on his heel. He looked up at the night sky and muttered to himself, laughing sarcastically.
“….I wonder wha~t are they expecting from me~? Alya, and Yuki too”
Masachika had a slight guess of what Alisa was going to say. He guessed it, and pretended to not notice.
“There’s.. nothing I can do anything about it”
Masachika let out a self-mockery to himself, and walked the road home with a strange bleak feeling.
When Masachika returned to his apartment after sending Alisa home, he frowned seeing the shoes lined up at the entrance.
The only one living in this apartment were only two people, Masachika and his father, who was working as a diplomat and currently overseas due to his work.
And yet, there was a pair of shoes on the floor that didn’t belong to Masachika nor his father.
(Didn’t you say you were going home….)
While furrowing his eyebrows, Masachika headed to the living room. When he proceeded to open the door to the living room, there was Yuki with her hair in a ponytail, dressed very casually in a long sleeve shirt and sweatpants. She was sitting on a chair and watching anime on the television, acting as if she owned the place.
“Ah, welcome back~. Did you properly send Alya-san home?”
“No, why are you here?”
“Eh? It’s because I’ll be staying here today”
“No, I never heard of this”
“I never said it”
Her eyes still fixed on the television, Yuki said this without shame.
Her appearance and attitude were a fry cry from the perfect young lady-like she showed at school. It was the sort of complete change that if a person were to see this for the first time, they might have mistaken her for someone else.
Then the anime Yuki was watching ended, and the commercial started playing.
That was a commercial for a live-action adaptation movie based on a famous dark fantasy manga. Pointing to it, Yuki suddenly spoke.
“Ah, I’m going to see this tomorrow”
“No, you also come too”
“No, like I said I never heard of this”
“Like I said I never said it”
Sighing at Yuki’s complete no-shame state, Masachika glanced at the commercial.
“By the way, weren’t you in the opposition faction against live-action adaption movies like this?”
“Stop right there!”
At Masachika’s casual remark, Yuki suddenly shouted with her palm up, and started to speak rapidly.
“I know. I know from the time of its casting it’s 8 / 9 out of 10 a land mine! Honestly, the PV gives off nothing but bad feeling! But I don’t think it’s right to bash them without actually watching it. Maybe it’s not a land mine. Maybe there could be gold reserves buried waiting to be found in there! I know. Because there are people like me who are willing to spend money for it there are so many bad live-action movies out there, I know that. I know all that!!”
“No, this tension. What’s with this tension? It’s like you’re about to confess a secret I’m completely not supposed to know kind of tension”
“I.. Know! That my onii-chan and I are not actually blood related. I.. know all that, you know!?… wait, what are you making me say~. We are stroongly3 related by blood, aren’t we~”
“Saying strongly related by blood, that’s a power word”
“Well, I mean… there’s some right? Siblings, but on the contrary, actually they’re cousins~4 something like that. In that situation wouldn’t you say they’re related by blood?”
“Aaah~ there is. The ones that are safe because they’re cousins not siblings”
“Of course there is. You reeaally don’t understand anything”
When Masachika tilted his head in puzzlement, Yuki suddenly opened her eyes wide and shouted strongly.
“Stupid bastard!! It’s good because they’re blood-related siblings isn’t it!!”
“What the hell is good!?”
Suou Yuki. At school, she’s just a childhood friend, that’s the setting. But in fact, she’s Masachika’s otaku friend and… taken into custody of her mother when her parents divorced, Masachika’s real.. blood-related younger sister.
^1. 毅の毅 wordplay I guess? Takeshi no Takeshi. 毅 = strong
^2. Yamiru-san = Darkness (Hika)ru. Yami = darkness
^3. Original JP. Not sure if I got that right. I mean wth does gorigori suppose to mean
^4. 従兄妹 (read as itoko in the raw) the original Japanese. First 2 kanjis together are “Itoko” = elder male cousin. The last 2 kanjis together are “Keimai/Kyoudai” = older brother and younger sister / siblings. So I used cousins instead in the TL. I’m not really sure. I cant read Japanese
without helps of tools.
1. As per this chapter I also changed one part in the synopsis. “I want you to pay attention to me ,too” —> “Give me your attention too”. Because of this chapter. the latter also makes the LN more understandable overal imho.
2. Lines of a conversation in chapter 3:
“No, rather, what’s wrong with you!?”
“It’s my thanks for getting my socks. It’s a reward for you, right?”
“Well, it’s a reward only to peculiar people….”
“Oh my? Aren’t you one of them?”
“I’m not! How’s this a reward!?”
“It’s a reward for me though”—>”Me too though”
Masachika’s understanding would make more sense too. It could refer to her being a peculiar person too, or her not being a peculiar person too. Hence, Masachika’s misunderstanding. But why it’s a win-win situation for Masachika if he’s denying it? Dunno. Prolly he’s just denying it on the surface, but actually happy putting the socks on her, a beautiful girl. Could be another mistranslation on my part. It also makes chapter 4 makes more sense.I’ll be using my excuse of not being able to read Japanese without tools here again hahaha.
I guess that’s so far what’s on top of my head. I made some other ninja fixes too on previous chapters but I already forget what the others are. I only remember the one I think as significant.