As the “Fried horse mackerel” that I am, I waited at the edge of the schoolyard for the individual events to begin. The individual events take place first, followed by the team events.
First is the “borrowed item” race. It’s a simple rule where you draw a card and have to bring the item mentioned on the card to the finish line. There are 36 participants in the individual events, including first, second, and third-year girls from both schools, followed by the boys.
“Izayoi-kun, are you okay?”
Being called “Fried horse mackerel” bothers me a bit. Fried horse mackerel… Well, I don’t dislike it. It’s tasty, you know, Fried horse mackerel.
Seeing my gloomy face, Gindou continues speaking with an embarrassed expression.
“Um, well, I actually prefer Fried horse mackerel over foie gras. Fried horse mackerel is affordable and delicious. The way foie gras is made nowadays can be quite cruel… I don’t really like it that much.”
“Thank you for your concern.”
“No, please don’t worry too much. I think there are quite a few people who prefer Fried horse mackerel, you know.”
She then leaves to prepare for the competition. She seems to have cheered up. That’s right. Fried horse mackerel is delicious. I often hear that foie gras isn’t all that great when you actually try it.
Fried horse mackerel is more popular!
First up are the first-year girls. Six of them line up, including Gindou Kohaku .
The boys’ eyes are glued to her as usual.
The staff member at the starting point blows the whistle to signal the start.
“Now, on your marks…”
The six girls start simultaneously. They each draw a card from the pile and check its contents.
Excited voices fill the air. With nearly a thousand people present, it’s only natural, but the atmosphere feels different, naturally enhancing the sense of excitement.
What kind of task did Gindou Kohaku draw? She seems a little unsure, but what does it say?
She runs towards Class A. Then, she takes Noguchi Natsuko’s hand and they start running together.
Did the card say something about running with a same-sex friend? I feel like I saw such a card during the preparation.
The two of them reach the finish line in third place, laughing a bit shyly. While it’s not certain, they seem to trust each other.
It makes me a little happy to see that Gindou Kohaku has someone she can call a friend. In the “story,” she has a hard time trusting others, so it’s good to see her heading straight towards Noguchi Natsuko, even though she hesitated a bit.
…Is it okay to welcome this kind of “story” development? I wonder. Well, it should be fine.
What’s not okay is the discord between “Masou Shoujo.” That must not deviate from the “story” no matter what. However, the two of them aren’t exactly close at the moment.
By the way, my task was “fried food,” so I reached the finish line without carrying anything and said to the judge,
[I’m Fried horse mackerel myself…]
I was allowed to finish first.
Next is the bread-eating competition.
“Go for it, Gindou-san!!!”
Noguchi Natsuko cheers for her, filling Gindou Kohaku with motivation. Their bond seems to have deepened even further from the previous competition.
Gindou Kohaku waves her hand bashfully and responds to the cheers.
“Please do your best!”
“We’re cheering for you!!!”
“Wave your hand!!!”
A strange situation is unfolding where students from other schools are cheering, despite it being a competition between schools. Gindou Kohaku smiles wryly and acknowledges the support.
“She waved at me just now!?”
“It’s me, you idiot!”
Boys in any school tend to think about similar things.
The bread-eating competition involves grabbing a hanging bread using only your mouth, with the bread suspended at about 1.8 meters for girls and around 2 meters for boys. The six girls line up again, and the competition begins.
“On your marks…”
After a perfect start, Gindou Kohaku accelerates and maintains the first-place position, running several meters. She arrives at the location where the bread is suspended, first place.
At this spot, she must jump with her hands behind her back and try to bite the bread.
She jumps and bounces, but the elastic cord sways slightly, making it difficult to grab the bread, forcing her to jump multiple times.
“I can’t reach it…”
By crossing her arms, her body line becomes even more emphasized, and the jumps cause considerable movement. Opening her mouth and repeatedly leaping, her appearance is erotic…
The boys are forced to hunch over, but they remain silent. It can’t be helped. It’s impossible to expect adolescent boys not to react when they are shown such a posture.
—Oops, I shouldn’t react. I need to stretch before the competition…
After nearly ten jumps, she finally succeeds in grabbing the bread. At that moment, the boys bowed their heads in disappointment.
She finishes in first place without letting go of her position. I felt her potential, in various senses. I finished third in this competition.
The bread-eating competition for the second and third-year boys is over, and now it’s time for the three-legged race. The first-year boys and girls gather at the starting point to prepare. They are followed by the second-year and third-year students in the same order as before.
“Is it okay to tie it loosely?”
I tie her left leg, and she ties my right leg. The distance is close, but it feels even more unsettling because we’re in gym clothes.
How are the participating boys around us? Ah, they seem nervous. As expected. They look like a couple full of innocence.
I can tell even without looking at the cheering boys.
“Uhm, wouldn’t it be more efficient to hold hands while running?”
“Y-yes, please do.”
Although it’s not yet the start, I took her hand. It’s soft. I’ve held her hand before, but this feels unfamiliar.
Let’s pretend it is weed. That’s what I think, and while blushing, she makes eye contact with me.
“We held hands like this before, right? D-Do you remember? When we were approached by those delinquents.”
“At that time, it wasn’t a big deal, but now, I-I’m so nervous. So, how about you, Izayoi-kun?”
“Eeh!? Uhm, both now and then, I still feel unsettled…”
“S-So, can I understand that you’re conscious of me as a member of the opposite sex?”
“W-Well, I guess I see you as a woman, so I suppose that’s the case?”
I heard her whisper “Yaay.”
W-What the hell is going on!!! Just when I thought my stomach was in knots, it turned into this kind of romantic manga-like mood, and now I’m confused!!
I’m being tossed around so much. Is this the power of the protagonist…? Coming at me with such a spoiled attitude, then whispering in joy… What the hell is this!!!
I thought I wouldn’t pay attention anymore, but the hand I’m holding is so soft. And that makes me conscious of it again.
An endless loop.
“Now, on your marks.”
The sound of the whistle frees me from my thoughts. The competition started while I was distracted by her.
“Let’s go, too. Starting with the right leg.”
“”One, two, go!””
She and I tried to step forward with our right legs. Even though we’re tied to different legs, when we move the same leg, naturally—
First, she falls to her knees, and I stumble due to her momentum.
“It’s my fault for not explaining clearly. I’m sorry as well.”
“We’ve fallen behind quite a bit.”
“Indeed, but let’s keep running our best until the end.”
We step on the tied legs and stand up. The top participants have already reached the finish line, but neither she nor I should give up just because of that.
“Let’s go from the leg in the middle.”
“”One, two, go!””
We run together, not very fast, but we run in unison. I pull my eyes away from her shaky ones and focus only on the finish line.
We reached the finish line in last place.
“We ended up in last place, but it became a good memory. Thank you, Izayoi-kun.”
“No, thank you. Well then, I’ll untie it.”
I swiftly untie the fabric string. Since this needs to be returned to the organizing committee, I’ll take care of it.
“Well, I have committee work to attend to…”
“Yes. See you at lunch then.”
Now, I have to go because I have work to do. The team competitions for each class are about to begin, so I have to prepare as a referee… But before that, maybe I should go to the bathroom. I might not have a chance to go later.
As I head toward the restroom in the school building…
“Long time no see, Izayoi.”
I turn around at the voice behind me and see black hair and black eyes. It’s my mother, Kuroda Ai, who is still beautiful despite her age.
“Ah, long time no see.”
“Are you doing well? I’m sorry I couldn’t visit you at the hospital the other day.”
“I told you that you didn’t have to come, so don’t worry about it.”
“If you say so… Oh, you did well in the individual events.”
“It was okay.”
“You got first and third place, that’s amazing!! And that girl with the three-legged race!!!”
“She’s your girlfriend, right? I’m so happy! To think that such a cute and beautiful girl will be your bride!!”
She’s reading too much into it. I need to clear up this misunderstanding…
“No, she’s not my girlfriend or anything.”
“There you go again, to say that when you had such chemistry… It’s unbelievable.”
“No, really, she’s not.”
“Eh?! Even with such intimate moments?! I’m shocked!!!”
“Your voice is loud, please lower the volume.”
“Oh, sorry. Anyway…”
My mother continues her imaginative conversation, but I can’t blame her since she means no harm.
“Yesterday, I went to a fortune-telling place. And guess what, I had her do a reading for you, Izayoi.”
“Oh, really? Why me?”
“Because we can’t always be together, so I wanted to do something for you.”
“I see. Thank you for that.”
“No problem. And let me tell you, that fortune-teller is incredibly accurate!! She’s so accurate that she gets involved in all sorts of things, so she lives quietly in the countryside…”
“How did you meet someone like that?”
“We were seatmates in high school and became close.”
“I see, that’s interesting.”
“So, about the result of the fortune-telling…”
I couldn’t help but hold my breath. If it’s accurate enough to cause a commotion and make someone live in seclusion in the countryside, I hope it’s a good result.
“Uhm, let me see… I forgot.”
“I have it written down on my phone, so wait a moment…”
My mother takes out her phone and starts reading from her notes.
“Silver-white of utmost brilliance, crimson of raging fire, lightning yellow, deep sea blue, and silver-white black. These colors are said to be attached to Izayoi and bind him!”
“It’s true. Depending on the circumstances, you might end up with five wives!!!”
“That’s not good, right?”
“I think it’s great, Izayoi. It’ll be fun to have a big family. I want to create a soccer team, so I’d like to have around eleven grandchildren.”
“That’s not happening.”
“Right. I guess that’s true. We’ll need substitutes too, so maybe around eighteen grandchildren?”
“That’s not it.”
Kuroda Ai has a bit of airheadedness in her. But still, being bound by five colors… That’s just unbelievable, right? It’s just fortune-telling.
“Oh, but you know. It’s possible that something muddy, like a stain, might overlap with those beautiful colors. And if that happens, the colors will disappear!!!”
Eeh? Is this fortune-teller for real? She can see the bad ending too?
“She already said that the silver-white and crimson have already lost their stains.”
Scary!!! What’s with that? Scary!!! Who is that person? She’s ridiculously accurate!!!
“Next, yellow will be affected by the stain. Mother doesn’t want your wives to decrease, but the fortune-teller said not to worry because Izayoi will repel that stain.”
“I don’t think it’s been decided that she’s going to be my wife.”
“I’m pretty sure it has already been decided. She’s a fortune-teller who has a hundred percent accuracy.”
“But as for the silver-white black, she doesn’t know much about it. She said it might not be born yet? But she mentioned that she resembles the silver-white child of utmost brilliance.”
“That person is for real.”
“That’s why I’m saying it. The black child has no stains or existence. But it will be in Izayoi’s future.”
“I think she’s psychic. That person. Please give me the contact information later, she’s definitely someone who can help.”
“Yes, I know. She already told me to give you her contact information because there will come a time when you will need her help.”
“Scary, scary, scary”
Well, I did receive her contact information just in case.
“Isn’t ‘Silver-white of utmost brilliance’ the girl next to you from the earlier three legged race?”
“I’m sure of it. I was convinced while we were talking! It has to be that girl!”
“Ah, I see”
“Hey, Izayoi!! How long are you going to fool around?!”
A dignified voice echoes. As my mother and I turn towards the voice, I see Hihara Karen in her twin-tailed hairstyle and gym uniform, glaring at us.
“Crimson of raging fire!!!”
“Mother, please calm down.”
My dear mother is excited upon seeing Hihara Karen. She does give off a crimson vibe, I must admit.
“Eh? Izayoi’s mom?”
“Yes!!! What’s your name!?”
“I’m Hihara Karen, a second-year student. Um, I’m always indebted to Izayoi.”
She bows her head. My mother is impressed and at the same time wears a delighted expression.
“Ara ara, such good manners.”
“No, it’s only natural.”
“And she’s so cute!! Izayoi, you think so too, right?”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“Cute, you say?”
Blushing, Hihara Karen touches her bangs nervously. She seems flustered.
“Well, I should be going now.”
“Right, see you later then. Hihara-chan too.”
“Yes, see you.”
I separate from my mother and head towards the waiting area. In the end, I couldn’t go to the bathroom. It’s not to the point where I can’t hold it, so it’s fine.
“Izayoi’s mom seems kind.”
“She is. She can be scary when she gets angry, though.”
“My mom is like that too.”
We enjoy a brief conversation about each other’s families, savoring the fleeting moment.