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.
The clicky clacks of a keyboard echoed throughout the cafeteria. For some reason, I, Toshiki Sawada, sat face-to-face with Hiratsuka. Meanwhile, Reika, sitting by my side, wasn’t letting her guard down for even a moment.
“Yeah, this is all I have to say about Toshiki-kun’s blog post… Sorry for taking your time,” Hiratsuka threw me a seductive smile, trying to hold my hand as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Reika was having none of that, holding his wrist as soon as his hand was about to touch mine.
“Hey, don’t touch him! Toshiki will be tainted!”
“I–It hurts… Hysterical woman,” he snapped back.
“Don’t start a fight, Hiratsuka-senpai,” I intervene.
“N–no, Toshiki-kun, this is, um…”
He started calling me “Toshiki-kun”, and to be honest, I’d rather not think too much about it… In any case, he’s an underground fighter that apparently loves computers to bits. The reason I was being interviewed by him today is that he wanted to know more about my techniques.
I can’t understand Hiratsuka these days. He often wears a mask to hide his face and helps Hayakawa with his channel. I’ve even seen a video of him teaching my friend Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… What are you aiming at, Hayakawa…? Well, no matter the reason, I’m glad my friend seems to be having fun.
By the way, Hikari Kawano matured a bit and publicly apologized on Hayakawa’s channel. The comments under that video, formerly a live stream, were incredible.
“… Even if you apologize now…”
“Wait, could she be… in love with Hayakawa?”
“Yo, her voice is hoarse.”
“Her gaze seems different, as if her temper’s changed.”
“Wait, for real?!”
“Hayakawa, don’t believe in the chat!”
“So, a fake love turned real?”
“She softened up…”
Since Hayakawa is incredibly dense, the thought of being liked didn’t even cross his mind. Meanwhile, Hikari’s apology passes through brilliantly.
“Oh, yeah, congrats on your promotion to the three-star rank, Hiratsuka-senpai.”
“Aw, you saying that is enough for me… Well, it’s thanks to your grandfather as well.”
He wanted to know how I learned martial arts. I just introduced him to my grandpa since teaching him myself would be a hassle. All I know was passed on to me by my dad and by my grandpa.
I still remember Hiratsuka freezing up the moment he saw gramps. Then, out of nowhere, he started to take off all his clothes and bow down, his forehead touching the ground.
“Ha, ha, ha, p–please have a one-on-one with me, grandfather!”
He did something completely unexpected, so I tried to stop him. But it was useless
“Idiot! Don’t you know muscles don’t lie?! This man will be the real deal, my muscles tell me so! If you want a fight, you’ll get one bub!”
And with that, he took us to his underground dojo… Wait, what’s up with the “bub”?
Ahem, since then, he came to visit my house and get routinely beaten up by my grandpa. I also noticed he brought Hirano and Hayakawa to the underground dojo as well.
“Huh? What is up with the grandpa…? Oi, if we fight it’ll be ba—”
Before he could even complete his sentence, he was beaten up like Hirano. Actually, all of them were getting constantly beat up. While all of them were being minced down to a pulp, I was plating with Reika while eating some rice crackers.
“Well then, I’m off to see the old man. I’ll try to last more than ten seconds today, at least,” Hiratsuka said.
“Yeah, don’t get too hurt,” I answered.
He looked happy with my answer and left with a chipper tone. Reika, on the other hand, sighed.
“Haah, He doesn’t go clubbing anymore, rarely gets into fights, and he’s no longer a delinquent… That’s what Toshiki does to ya, apparently.”
“No no no, I didn’t do anything though?!”
“Love changes anyone.”
All I could do was laugh dryly. Hiratsuka has turned around completely, and that’s garnered the attention of the girls lately. He’s always been more interesting to the laxer girls, like gals¹ and stuff, before the incident due to the bad-boy vibes he gave off. Now, with all his changes, he was getting attention from some of the more serious girls.
With all that said, both Hirano and Hayakawa had become increasingly popular thanks to the videos. Since Hayakawa started working out in earnest, he’d lost some of his anxiety and got a makeover by Hirano. He’s now very handsome and popular, yet he’s still not aware of it at all.
He even quit his part-time job to devote to content creation. Once he was short in staff, and before he knew it, even Moe Nakajima, the junior from the women’s manga club, helped him with making videos… You have more rivals now, girl, so good luck there.
The interview I had with Hiratsuka drained me quite a bit.
“Reika, wanna grab some coffee? Since we’re already here, we could just take it easy.”
“Sure, it was a bit tiring, wasn’t it? Oh, I’ll get it, leave it to me.”
She got up from her seat and headed to the balcony. I watched her go, eyes unconsciously following her… Reika was extremely cute, no denying that.
Though, she must’ve noticed my gaze since she turned around, and with a small wave of her hand, blew away any exhaustion that plagued me, melting my heart in the process.
… I think we’re making progress, her and I, though we’re taking it one step at a time. Reika thinks of me only as a childhood friend, I think. But I couldn’t help but notice that, sometimes, she showed me some different expressions, and it often felt that the distance between us two was gradually changing. It couldn’t have been a misunderstanding on my part.
After the upcoming exams, we were going to the Summer Salt Island on the outskirts of Tokyo. It’s a zoo, aquatic park, and an amusement park to boot. All in one single complex.
Only four people would go, including us two, Hayakawa and Nakajima.
Hirano and Hiratsuka also wanted to come, but they had something they just couldn’t miss. Rather, they had a fight in which the two would face off against each other.
They were both completely healed. When I fought each one of them, I made sure to break and dislocate things cleanly, so as to not hinder the healing process. My punches were also special in that they didn’t leave lasting marks on their bodies.
And their fight is the talk of the UF community at the moment. Their bout is not like what I partook in, it was an official fight in the ring after all.
Hayakawa and I were looking forward to it, and we’d all watch it together at the inn when the time comes… Yeah, we’ll have a sleepover this time, a first for me. Despite Reika and I living in the same house, we’d never done that before.
… I’ve also never traveled with friends before.
During junior high, I experienced forest trips and classes, but at that time, the only person I could call a friend was Mashima. Though I was left alone since she was with her boyfriend at the time.
I even sat alone on the train rides, at the inn, and at the attractions themselves… In hindsight, I really was lonely, wasn’t I…?
That’s why I’m really looking forward to this trip.
While these thoughts ran through my mind, Reika finally came back from the balcony.
“Sorry for the wait~ Here you go, coffee.”
“Thanks. Hey, about our trip this weekend…”
“Ah, yeah, hehe, I was so excited I bought a bunch of guidebooks…”
“Me too, I’m so excited!”
“… I’m happy anywhere as long as I’m with you, Toshiki.”
Those words caught me off guard. Every sweet phrase that she threw ate into my heart, and it was so tremendously powerful, that I barely managed to answer coherently.
“M–Me too, I–I’m glad to be anywhere with you, Reika.”
What a mediocre response on my part. If it was Hirano, he would’ve said it in a more snappy and fun way.
After that, we both enjoyed some nice coffee together, and even though it was kinda cheap, it tasted like heaven since Reika was by my side.
1 — Gal or Gyaru is a Japanese fashion subculture. The term gyaru is a Japanese transliteration of the English slang word gal.
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