Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“Yo, they’re hugging each other. Can I throw some hands?”
“Idiot! You lost to him just the other day!”
I, Rio Hayakawa, saw Toshiki and Sakashita sharing a warm embrace in the early morning. What the hell are these two doing with so many students around…
Actually, it’s refreshing to see Mashima, his ex-friend, glaring at the two from afar with bloodshot eyes. In any case, if she tries something, I’ll help out.
She had a lot of cronies around, popular guys and girls from other classes. They were very scary, and some notoriously shady. Mashima has 500k followers on social media websites, so making an enemy out of her would be extremely bad.
All in all, she was a “super” high-school girl with connections, and a cute appearance to boot. Though, even then, why did everyone fall for her?
In any case, Hirano and I went to school together every day. Even though he was hurt in his fight a few days ago, his bruises weren’t “anything to die for”. Toshiki attacked him in a way that “only made him lose consciousness”, is what Hirano himself told me. I don’t get it though, don’t you have a cracked rib, dude?
“I just let my guard down. I won’t lose next time.”
“You don’t have to try again… Oh, you’re gonna shoot a video today, right? I’m getting kinda nervous…”
Even after everything that’s happened, he hasn’t stopped fighting underground. That’s because he still needs the money. And besides, even though he’d lost to Toshiki, he still got the money from that fight, apparently.
“I see… The order was only to ‘fight’ him, not to win,” I heard Hirano mutter that a while back. Whatever the case may be, the fact he didn’t lose that commission eased his mind.
I took his advice and came up with a way to make money outside my part-time job, which was—
“Hey, are you sure you wanna do this kind of project?”
“UF’s website is all about violence, ain’t it? It shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, the response has been great.”
The idea was to upload videos of myself, a weak bullied kid, in the process of getting stronger. It was the popular underdog story, one you could find anywhere, but even so, our first two videos received tremendous praise.
I didn’t receive their money yet, but it easily exceeded my monthly pay for the part-time job. Though most of the popularity came from Hirano’s handsomeness.
The live comments went rolling in:
“Kyah~! A shirtless man!”
“Hirano-kun, you’re too precious!”
“Too athletic for you?”
“Looks like that kid’s been bullied.”
“Oh, Hirano and his lackey.”
“This is Hirano’s channel tho…”
“… I wanna support Hayakawa!”
“I know how that guy feels…”
“Hirano will train you well!”
“Huh? General’s here!”
“Please explain what went on in the vid, General!”
It was a video of me training with Hirano, him squeezing my meridians as I lay there, topless. While he did that, I talked about me being bullied.
I was scared to tell my story in the cesspool that is the internet, but I did it for the money. Honestly, I’d do just about anything to pay for my mom’s hospital bills, and also to get good food for my sister. Oh, and I won’t tell my dad. If I do, I’m afraid he’ll go back to being a slacker.
To be frank, I was glad to feel like I was being watched over, despite all the Hirano comments.
“Oi, you ready dude?”
“U–Uh, y–yeah, ready when you are.”
Today’s the day we’ll shoot our third video, in which we’ll confront my bullies. I’ve never fought before, so I thought that, no matter how much I trained, I wouldn’t get stronger.
But I’ll be fine, I hope. Compared to Hirano’s strength, these guys are nothing to be scared of.
Then, Hirano gently pushed me, as if he was lovingly patting my back. —Yo, dude, the way you touch me is too damn sus!
“I’m not gonna help you, Hayakawa. If you get beat up, just stand up and keep going.”
“You’re not?! W–Wait, you’re recording? —Damn it, I’ll go now!”
Some of the live comments were, “Go for it!”, “Beat’em up!”, “Crush them!”, “Turn the camera back to Hirano!”, “We got your back, dude!”
This has become my daily life now. Toshiki’s an important friend to me, but Hirano is too. Even though he’s a bit crazy, he’s kind and family-oriented. —No way I’m telling him that, though!
While ruminating over the fighting tips Hirano’s taught me, I ran toward the f*ckers that bullied me, and—
“H–Hey, what is this…”
Hikari Kawano was impatient. She had a lot of friends in the “upper caste” of school, and among them was a special girl, Eri Mashima. The two had been friends ever since junior high, and Hikari knew no one could disregard her own position as Mashima’s friend.
That’s why no one in class could defy her. If someone disobeyed her, the boys, who were the “keepers” of the class, wouldn’t stand still. Albeit inferior to Mashima, Hikari was a cunning girl who understood the level of her own attractiveness.
And this foxy girl stared at her smartphone, shaking. She had a large number of followers on social media, though not as many as Mashima. Her own count was 50k, and it was enough to satisfy her own desire to be validated.
However, the boys who always had her back, her guards so to speak, were gone. They were the same guys who bullied Hayakawa. And, against all odds, the thing she was watching on her phone was a live broadcast of Hayakawa confronting his bullies.
“I–I can’t believe this… W–Wait, why are you guys almost losing?!”
Hayakawa’s image in the video was, to put it mildly, one of a beast. He screamed, roared, and relentlessly pummeled her “knights”. He even grabbed their hands, threw them on the ground, and punched, and punched, and punched, and punched.
He did not stop until all of the bullies gave up. They groveled at Hayakawa’s feet, spitting a stream of apologies, even claiming they were only bullying him under someone’s order: Hikari Kawano.
And to top it off, the comments in the live stream were crazy.
“Woah, a dictator, huh?”
“For real, she’s the mastermind behind all this.”
“Isn’t it lame that they’ve followed a random girl’s orders to bully someone?”
“Hikari Kawano, I see you’re name has been revealed.”
“I’m sure this is all edited footage.”
“This is live.”
“It’s a site for underground fights.”
“Woah, a comment fight’s happening.”
“… Oi, isn’t Eri-chan spitting some crazy sh*t on Twitter?”
“She’s a very popular high schooler on social media.”
“I’m shocked, Hayakawa is a victim of a fake confession, done against him by Hikari.”
“I–Is she a freshman?”
“Everyone’s so trashy nowadays…”
“Sorry Hayakawa, I underestimated you. I’ll donate some money for ya.”
“Hikari sent such a disgusting image to Eri-chan… Disgusting.”
But as these comments rolled in, Hikari herself couldn’t help but exclaim:
“Why did these guys mention my name! those idiots! … huh, but what did Eri do? Why am I losing control?!”
When one is at their lowest, their true nature comes out without them knowing. Hikari’s classmates were surprised to see her demeanor change so drastically. And the ones who watched the video started to look at her in disgust.
While all that happened, Hikari checked Eri’s tweet. As she read it, her hand started quivering uncontrollably, her phone even fell out of her hand.
“W–Why the f*ck is Eri betraying me?!”
In her tweet, Eri defended Hayakawa and detailed every misdeed Hikari ever made. Videos and photos Hikari had sent her, as well as screenshots of some of her messages, were also in her thread.
“I wanted to stop my friend, but I just couldn’t… I was so scared when she told me about the bullying, yet I couldn’t speak up. So, if I don’t come clean here, I’ll let all my friends down. I’m sorry, I’m the worst for not being able to stop her…”
—At first glance, it may seem like an action completely unbefitting of a friend, since she was putting down a dossier exposing her old friend, but Eri’s followers didn’t see it that way. For them, it was an admirable action to be brave enough to make such accusations. Also, she was cute, so every action was justified.
As a result of all the messages, Hikari Kawano suffered a humongous amount of damage.
“E–E–ERIIIIIIII—! THAT’S WHY I HATE YOU, YOU F*CKING B*TCH!”
“Hikari-chan, you shouldn’t talk like that to your best friend.”
Eri Mashima was standing right next to Hikari, and behind her stood a muscular upperclassman. As soon as she entered her sight, Hikari tried to slap her on the cheek, but Mashima’s cronies stopped her.
“You slapped me the other day, Hikari. And y’know, I ha~te violent people.”
The reason Eri abandoned Hikari was that she exacted violence upon her. Apart from that main reason, she simply thought it wouldn’t be beneficial for her to remain friends with Hikari, considering the surging influence of Hayakawa’s channel, along with the predicted downfall of Hikari Kawano.
“T–That was because you were going after Hirano-kun… B–but I apologized, and y–you forgave me!”
“Oh, and I know you talk smack about me behind my back. You hate me, don’t you?”
“T–That’s not true… B–but, hey, E–Eri-chan, c–could you take your tweets back?”
And Eri smiled, but it wasn’t her normal politeness. It was a smile befitting of a predator that just caught its prey. Upon seeing that, Hikari Kawano instinctively gets down on her knees, and she knew this was the only thing she could do.
But it was too late.
“Bye-bye, Hikari. Oh, and don’t show your face in front of me ever again~”
With that, all the misdeeds Hikari Kawano had ever made, along with her own cronies, were already put on the internet. The sparks turned into embers, which turned into strong flames.
Soon, such flames would become a full-on unstoppable fire, but Hayakawa’s words in a new video helped to fan such animosity.
“I don’t wanna see anyone suffer, even if she’s bad. So I’m going to forget about the past and move on. —Please, forget about Kawano.”
She was in the class hub ever since the incident, and soon, her heart reached its limit. The only person in the classroom who spoke to her after the incident was Hayakawa himself.
He suggested she makes an apology video and warned people who tried to exact bullying upon her. After everything he’s been through, and albeit hating her guts, he was kind.
And Hikari, who was at her breaking point after being the target of the entire school’s animosity, came to know Hayakawa’s shining kindness.
“W–Why are you so nice to me… I–I’ve done terrible things to you…”
So, being in such a fragile state, it was inevitable she’d fall in love with Hayakawa. Her past, every single horrible thing she ever did, loomed over her and tormented her every second.
Plagued by regret, guilt, love, and sheer fear of Eri, Hikari went to school another day.
And for the first time in her life, in a self-inflicted manner, she understood that true love was the most bitter of feelings.
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