For me, if you ask me if I want to see Kotone…. I would rather not want to see her.
It may be disgusting to say this to a girl younger than myself, but I still remember all the words that were said to me, so this is how it has to be.
“What will you do, President?”
“Uhm… Even if you ask me what I’ll do…”
Well, it’s understandable that it would come to this… But is it the first time for Iori to meet Kotone like this?
She probably know her existence and name from Shu, but I don’t have a grasp on the details… Nevertheless, since I’m curious, let’s go and find out quickly.
“F-for now, I will stay behind, okay?”
Iori seemed to be a little nervous, which is unusual for her.
I’ve seen Iori so many times in the past, so it’s really refreshing to see her looking so scared.
I went over to Kotone to keep Iori behind me for the time being.
“What are you doing?”
Her eyes pierced me with hostility… but it lacked the sharpness it had before, appearing weak.
(…So something like that happened. Considering she’s just a middle school student.)
Kotone has experienced her own mother being manipulated before her eyes and herself almost becoming a victim… In the game, things conveniently changed, but it wouldn’t be strange for her to become scared of everything around her.
Most likely, her reason for being here is Shu.
“Shu still has events coming up. Or if you want, I can call him. What do you want to do?”
“Even in the previous events, he had some cool moments. If his cute little sister is here, I think he’ll try even harder.”
In times like this, it’s better not to be too considerate and speak straightforwardly. I lined up words that would make Kotone happy, at least with me as the recipient.
Perhaps it worked, as Kotone blushed and displayed an expression that seemed bashful. At least with me, it can be considered a good reaction.
“Well, what will you do?”
I asked, and Kotone looked down, but soon lifted her head and said:
“…Why… Why do you talk to me like that? I am…-“
“Because I don’t mind. Neither me nor Ayana. We’ve already moved past it.”
I’m already looking ahead… That’s why we’re fine now.
Certainly, the words spoken by her and the others, including Hatsune-san, were hurtful. But with a change in perspective, one can alter how they perceive things. At this point, I wouldn’t be bothered even if I were told the same things again. Well, instead, Ayana might get angry in my place.
“Fear, or rather, experiencing pain can make you empathize with others. It’s quite humbling to see that arrogant little girl who used to hurl insults at me now behaving so meekly.”
Normally, I would expect a much harsher response. But as I’ve mentioned before, I have no intention of provoking anyone, and rather than causing others pain, I would rather cherish the happiness around me.
“That’s why… I forgive you.”
“I know about the things that happened through Shu. Despite being close friends, I don’t want to keep feuding with his sister forever. I won’t ask you to be friends… Well, let’s get along, shall we?”
Alright, I’ve conveyed everything I wanted to say.
Iori, who has been silently by my side, looks at me with a curious expression and smiles.
“You’re truly amazing, Yukishiro-kun… It feels like you’re much older than me when I watch you. Oh, I said the same thing again.”
“Perhaps I was reincarnated from a person who died in a previous life.”
“Ara, you’re even making jokes about it.”
It’s not a joke or a mere jest, though.
I appreciate Iori for not asking for the details and while feeling grateful, I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce her to Shu.
“It’s break time, so go and meet Shu. This lady here will accompany you.”
“Ara, are you okay with me?”
“Actually, it’s better if it’s the President… because she’s the person closest to Shu right now.”
I whispered the latter half in a voice too low for Iori to hear.
There is still an awkwardness between Kotone and me, but even so, the fact that I can approach her like this and exchange words is progress, isn’t it?
“Can I ask you to do that for me……?”
“Of course. …Hey, Yukishiro-kun, what did you say?”
“It’s nothing. Well then, I’ll leave it to you.”
I gave Kotone a gentle push on her back and directed her towards Iori.
Iori seemed curious about what I said until the very end, but well, regardless of what kind of relationship they’ll end up with… Kotone needs a woman who can provide her with comfort, and Iori should be just right for that.
Aisaka appeared as if he was swapping places with Iori. While it was a bit annoying that he forcefully patted my back, seeing his dazzling smile made me forget about it.
“Oh, so she’s Shu’s sister… Hmm.”
“Well… I just thought you’re amazing, that’s all.”
“What do you mean… I’m going to the restroom now, what do you want?”
“I’ll go too.”
Wait, did he silently observe our conversation earlier…? I didn’t do anything embarrassing, but Aisaka has been incessantly praising me ever since, so it was only natural for me to tell him to stop.
“Mari-chan? Is that…”
Aisaka’s face showed an expression I rarely see as Mari-chan suddenly appeared… Seeing him like that, I realized that I could once again find material to tease him.
After that, the break ended and the sports festival resumed.
Nothing significant happened, and we smoothly progressed to the closing ceremony, concluding one event.