Since I put Sakamoto Norie in the piggy bank, she can go to school alone today without me having to worry. Last night I received a text message from Hihara Karen thanking me for everything.
When she asked me how I knew that Sakamoto was dangerous, I told her that I had a hunch.
I wonder if my suspicion of being a chuunibyou has been cleared now…
As I trudged along, I thought back to yesterday’s events. The bad end was indeed averted as planned, though the joint meeting was only two days long. What are the schools going to do with each other now that Sakamoto has been caught?
There are many students wearing the same uniform as me, and there are already some who are talking about the arrest of Sakamoto. Although my name wasn’t mentioned in the morning news today, Sakamoto was. I don’t know what will happen to the sports festival itself, but since no one was harmed, they’ll probably still do it… right?
Everyone is looking forward to it. These school events are exciting, and I want to enjoy it too.
—-Is everyone really having fun…
In the “if story,” Hihara Karen wasn’t enjoying it at all. By this time, she was already caught in Sakamoto’s clutches, and she had worries about her family. There was no laughter at all. How about now? Sakamoto is no longer here, and it should be more enjoyable than usual, but can she truly enjoy it from the bottom of her heart?
Can we all have fun together at the sports festival?
…I should listen to what she has to say. I don’t know what I can do or what will change. But I want her to enjoy the sports festival. It’s not good to get too involved in the contents of the “story,” but I want her to smile. I want her to be happy.
After today’s committee meeting, I’ll talk to her. I pass through the school gate and change into my indoor shoes at my locker. Then, I hear voices between students coming from the neighboring lockers.
“Oi, did you see the morning news?”
“That teacher from Isshiki High School who attacked our student during the joint sports festival but got beaten up and arrested, right?”
“Yeah, that’s right. I wonder who caught him.”
“Could it be him again?”
“Double Destruction Overlay?”
“Yeah, didn’t he protect Gindou-san and caugh the stalker before?”
“Chuunibyou isn’t something to be dismissed, huh?”
Well, let’s get on with the day.……
When I open the classroom door, my classmates, almost all of them, look at me with suspicious eyes. As I take my seat, Sasamoto, who was sitting in front of me, talks to me.
“It was you who repelled the teacher from Isshiki High School in the morning news, right?”
Jumping to conclusions, huh? It’s me, but still…
“No, it wasn’t me.”
“Don’t lie. Everyone in the school already thinks it was you.”
It makes no sense at all to keep me anonymous in the news.
“Sakamoto Norie, right? They mentioned something about old grudges and stuff in the news, but it was all vague, so I didn’t really understand. But you might know about it, right?”
“No, I have no idea.”
“You really don’t know? I get curious when someone I know gets involved in something.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
I think he is concerned about me somehow. The fact that he is sometimes this kind of good thing makes him popular.
“Well, as long as you’re safe, that’s what matters.”
“That’s right. If the outcome is good, that’s all that matters.”
But I’m grateful for his concern.
During homeroom, Rokudou-sensei gave us updates on the news and discussed the upcoming sports festival.
“Today, there will be a discussion on whether or not to proceed with the sports festival. We don’t know the final decision yet, but it will be made by tomorrow or at least the day after.”
Many students in Class A looked gloomy because they wanted to have the sports festival. After receiving some explanations, Sasamoto raised his hand.
“If it’s canceled, what will happen on that day?”
“…You’ll have regular classes.”
“Then, what about getting a girlfriend….”
“Should we just try to get a girlfriend?”
“I don’t want to have regular classes…”
Their words connected as if they had coordinated them, although the last part was a bit different. By the way, we’re planning to do a tug-of-war. How are we supposed to show our good side to the girls through tug-of-war?
“Well, that’s all for today’s homeroom. Oh, and Kuroda, could you stay for a moment?”
As I’m called at this time, I can hear murmurs of “as expected” here and there. I’ve already given up.
I was walking down the corridor with Rokudou-sensei as we headed towards the principal’s office.
“Sorry about that. I thought if I mentioned it there, people would start speculating, but it seems like everyone already knows it’s you. I don’t know why, but there’s even a school newspaper being prepared.”
I had no idea about the school newspaper!! Or rather, there was no point in trying to hide it since he openly called me out in front of the students. What kind of information network does this school have?
As we entered the principal’s office, there was our school principal and another elderly man whom I didn’t know. Could he be the principal of Isshiki High School?
“Excuse us. I’ve brought Kuroda Izayoi from Class A, first year.”
“Oh! So you’re Kuroda-kun!”
The unfamiliar man, not a first encounter but a first meeting, hastily stood up upon hearing my name.
“He’s the principal of Isshiki High School.”
Our principal introduced him to me. As I thought, he looks like a principal.
“I’m truly sorry. I never expected such a scandal to occur with one of our teachers…”
The principal bowed his head. What should I do? It’s not like I want him to apologize, but maybe I can get some compensation? I had a game I wanted. Books or something.
Manga, light novels, games. No, no, no, that’s going too far. But how about demanding 30,000 yen?
I express my doubts to the principal of Isshiki High School.
“Uhm, what will happen to the sports festival?”
“Well… there’s a possibility of cancellation.”
“Can’t you do something about it? Everyone is looking forward to it.”
“…I wonder. Personally, I can’t say for certain.”
“I, as the party involved, am fine, so isn’t that enough?”
“Well… about that.”
“…I’ll do my best to propose continuing the festival, but there is no guarantee.”
“But please, even if it’s not certain! Please do it anyway!”
I desperately want the sports festival to be held. Everyone is looking forward to it… and I don’t want to have regular classes either.
“Alright, I’ll give it a try and do what I can.”
“Thank you so much.”
“But I’m telling you, there is no guarantee.”
“I understand. Even if you can’t hold it, I’ll just go on TV and say things that never happened, so don’t worry.”
“That’s very worrying!!”
So I left the principal’s office. I want the joint sports festival to happen. Many students from both schools would like it to continue.
When I returned to the classroom, many students had pretty gloomy opinions. Because they were looking forward to the sports festival so casually, their hearts were somewhat shadowed.
That day, I was observed with curious eyes, and there was an overall negative atmosphere due to the concerns about the cancellation of the sports festival lingering in the school. The executive committee members were also given the day off, which further pushed the discussion towards cancellation.
After school, I had some business with Hihara Karen, so I sent her a message on my phone and called her out.
I was waiting for Hihara Karen in front of the school gate and raised my hand lightly when she arrived. She greeted me with a smile that seemed stiffer than usual.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“No, it’s fine.”
It might sound like a conversation between a boyfriend and girlfriend, but it’s not like that at all. We started walking side by side, but she seemed less energetic than usual.
“Thank you for yesterday. I don’t know what would have happened if Izayoi wasn’t there…”
“No, it wasn’t a big deal.”
“No, it was amazing. I’m a little jealous… You had so much courage.”
Something happened, huh? Did something change in her mindset after Sakamoto got caught? I should try to find out what’s going on. I don’t know everything myself.
“Well, about that… How should I put it?”
Damn it!! How do you invite a girl and go to some shop!! I have no idea!! My palms started sweating. The tension was overwhelming me.
“Uhm, today… Would you like to stop by somewhere?”
“I’m not in the mood for that, so I’ll pass.”
She rejected me. What should I do? Should I just drop it today? Or should I try to forcefully invite her? Would that be bothersome?
—-But I can’t just leave her with a sad expression.
“Let’s go to that café over there!!”
“Didn’t you hear what I said? I’m not in the mood for…”
“For now, let’s go in. If it’s still not okay, you can leave, okay?”
“Huh? Just for a little a bit…”
“Great!! Let’s go!!”
“But only for a little a bit, okay?”
I randomly picked a nearby café and entered. The place wasn’t crowded, but it had a calm and pleasant atmosphere. We sat facing each other at a seat with a view of the wooden interior. To avoid being rude to the staff, I looked through the menu and decided to order something.
“I’ll treat you, so feel free to order anything.”
“Okay, then I’ll choose without hesitation.”
We both looked at the menu. It was a small wish of mine to be able to say that I would treat a woman at least once, and that wish was lightly fulfilled. It’s my secret little joy.
“Alright, I’ll call the waiter. Excuse me!”
When I called, a staff member came to our table.
“What would you like to order?”
“Yes, I’ll have black coffee…” (Izayoi)
“I’ll have orange juice.” (Karen)
“Black coffee and orange juice, please. We’ll wait a moment.”
After the waiter left, I brought up a topic.
“Do you have any worries?”
“Why are you suddenly asking?”
“You looked troubled, so I thought I’d come and talk to you.”
“….There is nothing”
Don’t nothing me. There was a pause. And I know she has a problem. I don’t really understand why she’s expressing it so openly to me at this point.
“Whatever it is, just talk to me.”
“I told you, I don’t have any.”
“No, you don’t look like you don’t have ……”
“You got it wrong!”
My body trembled involuntarily. Her intense gaze pierced through me. But somewhere within her, there was a hint of loneliness.
If she says there’s no problem, I might just think it’s fine… But she can’t admit it. If she acknowledges the troubled relationship within her family and seeks help, there’s no going back. It would be great if she succeeds, but if she fails, destruction awaits her.
In that case, it’s okay to maintain this slightly uneasy status quo. Even if it crumbles and has a few cracks, as long as the shape of the family can be preserved…
But deep down, I felt that it wouldn’t work. That it would ultimately lead to destruction.
“Uhm, do you really have nothing? I’m here to listen to anything. Like issues with your family…”
“!! I said I don’t have any worries!”
Her loud outburst drew the attention of the few customers in the café. Perhaps I rushed in too abruptly… I should have approached this more slowly.
“I’m sorry. But I’m genuinely worried about you.”
“You’re annoying. I said there’s nothing… I’m leaving.”
She took out a thousand-yen bill from her pocket and placed it on the table.
“Thank you for the meal.”
She left just like that.
“I messed up…”
As I was regretting my actions, the waiter brought coffee and orange juice, showing a bit of concern.
“Here are your orders… Uhm, please cheer up. There are countless women out there.”
“Thank you very much.”
After the waiter left, I took a sip of the coffee. It was bitter. There was no one in front of me, but it felt a bit lonely with the orange juice sitting there.
“I shouldn’t have tried to act cool by ordering black coffee.”
What should I do now? I pondered over it, but no good solutions came to mind. The coffee I ordered was incredibly bitter.