“Why do we have to do something like this…?”
“You’re the one who said we should do it… and you dragged us into this mess…”
“I can’t take it anymore…”
We are currently running up and down the stairs under the scorching sun. At the top, there’s a temple, and we have to go back and forth repeatedly. And despite it being summer vacation, we’re wearing gym uniforms.
It’s Rokudou-sensei’s “Mental Strengthening Training Camp.” The concept is to train our bodies by doing fifty round trips on the stairs.
No, no, no, it’s outrageous after all… Kimchika is also participating, but even he seems to be suppressing his side. That Superman. This is outrageous. The first year A class boys are walking down the stairs like zombies.
We’re going to die…
When it was over somehow, everyone drinks like bathing in water and rests in the shade of the temple. After that, enter the temple and practice Zen meditation. The students and Rokudo-sensei joined Zen meditation together to unify their minds.
“Sensei, how long are we going to do this?”
“Until you stop thinking.”
“But isn’t that the same as dying…”
Since the temple is reserved exclusively for us, we’ll be sitting in meditation indefinitely. It’s so intense… The other students are starting to decay as well…
From morning till now, going back and forth on the stairs, and then meditation… If we add a lunch break and continue until evening, there won’t be any students left participating in this training camp, even if it’s just for one night and two days.
Next, we perform a full-power Haka, which is commonly done before a rugby match, and then have a lunch break.
“It’s tough. I want to go home already…”
“It’s alright… We just have the afternoon session left… Ah, it’s terrifying…”
Everyone is completely exhausted. Lunch is cold somen noodles, which we manage to eat somehow. There’s the dipping sauce in a bowl and the chill of the ice.
It has a certain charm… It seems like I’m the only one with such a carefree impression.
It’s certainly tough, but not as much as I thought. Of course, physically, it’s pushing our limits, but mentally, I feel quite at ease…
“After all, it seems like we’re the ones who have to lead them, Izayoi.”
“Eh? Why are you suddenly saying that?”
Kimchika suddenly sits next to me and starts a conversation. It seems like he still has some spare energy. Well, it’s Kimchika-san we’re talking about, after all. He’s handsome and can do anything. I need him to take care of things… Tch, take a break, will you…
“We’re the only ones taking a cool lunch break. I just thought we should lead the way and motivate everyone.”
“Aah, I see…”
“But you seem to be even more carefree than I am, like a superhuman.”
“You’re the one who seems more carefree.”
“No, you seem more at ease. The morning training didn’t seem to affect you at all. You’re something else.”
Well, I don’t mind being praised, but it feels like I’m being talked down to… I guess my heart is a bit off.
“Let’s start the afternoon session. Line up, everyone!”
Rokudou-sensei’s command echoes. His booming voice is like that of a yakuza. Well, he comes from a yakuza family.
“Eeh!? We can’t do it anymore.”
“The demon is calling.”
The voices of the male students can be heard. Well then, should I line up?
The afternoon session is the same as the morning session. Just doing the same thing puts a considerable mental burden on us, especially because of the impression of the morning session being tough. While the cicadas’ cries serve as background music, we all manage to complete the menu without anyone missing.
After that, we take a bath, have dinner, and then go straight to bed. We all stay in the same room in a facility next to the temple, like a dormitory. It’s a large Japanese-style room with air conditioning, and some of the students are already sleeping, visibly exhausted from the day. However, some of them seem to have something to ask me.
“Let’s ask you something we couldn’t ask until now.”
The boys glare at me with fierce eyes. I can more or less guess what it’s about…
“You, how far did you go with those three beautiful girls?”
“That’s right!! Spit it out!!”
“I bet you’re firing your white rocket at full charge down there, aren’t you?!!”
That’s an outrageous prejudice. I haven’t done anything indecent.
“I haven’t done anything. I’m still a virgin.”
“Don’t lie!! You’ve been together with them so much, there’s no way nothing happened!”
“That’s right, that’s right!”
“Calm down. Some students are already sleeping.”
As expected, I knew I would be asked at some point, but they chose this timing. It’s natural for them to think that way when I’m constantly with beautiful girls, but there really is nothing going on. Even if I say it, they probably won’t believe me.
“Until you spit everything…”
Just as the male students were about to continue their pursuit, the sliding doors of the room opened, revealing Rokudou-sensei.
“Rest your bodies properly today.”
With those words, all of us went off to the world of sleep. After a good night’s sleep, the camp ended the next day. After it was over, many of them cried. The excitement was so great that all of us decided that we would never participate in this camp again.
Summer vacation passed by with days of extravagant spending. I played games for the first time in a while and casually contemplated my future. Before I knew it, August had arrived, and it was the day of the festival.
The “Mina no Iro Festival,” a grand festival held in this town. It’s quite famous, with coverage by TV stations and such. Today, I’m going with Gindou Kohaku, Hihara Karen, and Kikawa Moegi.
In the original “story,” at this point, there was no connection between them, and only Kikawa Moegi went to the festival. Gindou Kohaku didn’t want to go because she didn’t trust anyone, and Hihara Karen had no interest. The description of Kikawa Moegi was just that she came to feel the atmosphere of the festival. It was a somewhat perfunctory part because the main focus was on the “Masou Shoujo” that would come afterwards.
However, now everyone is gathering at the festival. It should be fine even if there are some inconsistencies with the original “story” at this point.
I head to the meeting place wearing a black hoodie and jeans. The crowd is incredibly large. It seems like there are many other people waiting for someone besides us. I scan around, moving my head left and right, searching for the three of them. It’s dusk, and there are many couples waiting for each other.
Although I arrived ten minutes early, the three of them might already be here. Thinking that, I search around, and I hear a buzzing sound of people talking.
“What’s with those three?”
“They’re all beautiful…”
“Who are they waiting for?”
Apparently, they seem to be around there. At times like this, I can’t help but appreciate the convenience of having beautiful girls with me. Since I’ve kept them waiting, I quicken my pace and…
There they are, the three goddesses.
Gindou Kohaku is wearing a kimono with a beautiful flower pattern on a predominantly pure white fabric. And she has her hair styled in a bun. Hihara Karen is wearing a kimono with a deep red fabric and a camellia design. Kikawa Moegi is wearing a kimono with a dazzling fabric like the sun, adorned with sunflowers and many other flowers.
Oi oi, they’re too beautiful… My sense of being out of place as I approach them is just…
“Ah, Izayoi-kun! Over here!”
Gindou Kohaku notices me and waves her hand. The people around them are looking at me with a sense of, “Who the hell is this guy, keeping such beautiful girls waiting?” And then…
“Eh? That kid?”
“What is it… this feeling of suddenly being served fried horse mackerel in a full course of French cuisine…”
“He’s like an extra character…”
Lately, I’ve gradually become accustomed to this kind of commotion, and it doesn’t really stir my emotions anymore. Well, no, there’s still something there after all.
“I’m sorry for making you wait.”
“Oh no, we just arrived ourselves.”
“That’s right, so you don’t need to worry about it.”
“Yeah, no need to apologize.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
They’re all so kind… And incredibly cute. Ehehehe, they’re precious. Their necks are sexy…
I shouldn’t stare too much; it might make them uncomfortable. Let’s stop here. But in situations like this, it’s probably better to give them a compliment.
What should I say… I’m not used to this, so I’m not sure…
“Well, all three of you look beautiful… Like… uhm…”
The three of them turned their attention to me, curious about what I was going to say. I want to compliment them more than usual since they’re exceptionally beautiful. What should I do… I’m getting nervous… Th-This is the first time for me!!
“Like princesses who jumped out of a picture book…”
“Ehehe, thank you.”
“I’ll say my thanks too. Since you complimented us.”
I-I’m embarrassed… I never thought I’d say lines like this…
“Y-yes yes, shall we start walking?”
“Yes, let’s do that. There are many food stalls, so let’s enjoy ourselves.”
The four of us start walking. People passing by keep turning their heads. They can’t help but look, as the three of them are cute and beautiful to that extent.
First, we head to a takoyaki stand.
“Four orders of takoyaki, please.”
“Alright, coming right up…?”
Hey, don’t compare my face to theirs. I’m a bit conscious of it.
“I’ll treat everyone here.”
“Izayoi, that’s not necessary. Pay for yourself.”
“I have to pay for it here… I think it’s a matter of manners! I will definitely pay for it!”
“I’m sorry… Izayoi-kun. I invited you, and yet…”
“It’s okay to be a bit selfish sometimes, right?”
“No, I want to treat you.”
I paid for the takoyaki and handed it to the three of them.
“Shall we find a place to sit? It’s hard to eat with so many people around.”
“That’s a good idea.”
“But it’s getting really crowded.”
We look for a place to sit. The four of us walk side by side. However, with so many people, our positions gradually shift. The crowd keeps growing. Should we hold hands… Is it okay? A moment of hesitation. With a hesitation I’ve never felt before, we separate.
“There are too many people…”
“Where are you, Izayoi-kun!?”
“The crowd is intense!!”
I hear the voices of the three of them but can’t see them.
“Where are you!!??”
I shout at the top of my lungs, but I can’t communicate with the three of them. I have no choice but to contact them through my smartphone. I quickly sent a message to the three of them, suggesting that we gather at the initial meeting place. Soon enough, I received confirmation in response to my message.
I push my way through the crowd, hurrying back to the original meeting place. However, progress is slow.
As I move away from the festival, the number of people gradually decreases.
I hear Gindou Kohaku’s voice from behind me. I turn around and see her, radiating a goddess-like beauty.
“I’m sorry. If I had done better, we wouldn’t have gotten separated.”
“Don’t apologize. There’s nothing you could have done with so many people around.”
Hihara Karen and Kikawa Moegi still haven’t arrived. They’re probably having difficulty making their way here due to the crowd.
“Izayoi-kun, let’s go to the initial meeting place just the two of us.”
We walk together. I feel somewhat nervous… It must look like we’re a couple from an outsider’s perspective… No way. Huh? Gindou Kohaku’s walking seems strange.
“Are you okay, Gindou-san!?”
“A-Ah, y-yes, I’m fine…”
I look at her feet. The top of her right foot, where the strap of her sandal touches, is slightly red. She must have hurried through the crowd. It’s a blister.
“You have a blister… I’m sorry… If I hadn’t gotten separated in the crowd…”
“…Izayoi-kun, please stop feeling responsible for everything. This is my fault.”
“If you say anything more, I’ll get angry.”
“Oh, um, it’s nothing.”
“Fufu, yes, that’s fine.”
She smiles… This happened because I hesitated. I need to stop hesitating from now on. At the very least, I should be the one leading from here.
Just as I was thinking that…
“Huh? It’s Kohaku!”
A voice comes from behind me. Gindou Kohaku seems to have noticed them and her face is filled with surprise and fear.
I turn around to see who it is.
There are three high school girls and two flashy high school boys. Who are these guys?
“Who are they? These people?”
“Um, these… are…”
I immediately understood from her frightened expression. These guys were the ones who bullied her during middle school. There is no mention of them coming in the “story.” Well, maybe there was no need to mention them…Gindou Kohaku shouldn’t have appeared here in the first place, so there should be no encounter. Perhaps they came to this famous festival…
“Long time no see. Still fishing for guys, huh?”
Before she can say anything, I quickly cover Gindou Kohaku ‘s ears, blocking out the sound with earphones and music.
She can’t hear anything since her ears are covered. The guys give me a look as if to say, “Who is this guy?”
“Aah, you’re being fooled by that girl.”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re falling for the tricks of popular Kohaku-chan. It’s better to stay away.”
“I mean, seriously, this girl has a nice face and style. I’ll give you some money too. ……”
Ignoring their words, I pick up Gindou Kohaku and walk away from the scene. There’s no point in listening to their nonsense.
“Wait! You with the plain face, you’re being fooled by her, and we’re just telling you out of goodwill.”
“Hey, she’s secondhand, you know? She’s been used quite a lot.”
“She’s been squeezing money out of various guys…”
They continue with their pointless chatter, but as I ignore them, they seem to lose interest and disappear. These senseless encounters may happen in the future as well.
I can’t hesitate anymore… I have to support her, no, support them, so that I can walk this world on the best and highest path.
Carrying her on my back, we arrived at the meeting place. She doesn’t say anything.
“Phew, we finally made it out of the crowd.”
“I’m sorry. If I could have made sure I didn’t get separated…”
“It’s fine. It’s not your fault, Izayoi. But, muu, why are you carrying Kohaku?”
She puffed up her face a little like a blowfish and looked at Gindou Kohaku with a little envy.
“Gindou-san got a blister. Are Hihara-senpai and Kikawa-senpai okay? If not, I’ll carry all three of you.”
“I’m fine. But instead of that, let’s take care of Kohaku’s foot. Um… I don’t have a band-aid… How about you, Moegi?”
“I have one. Let’s find somewhere to sit and apply it… Ah, there’s an empty spot over there.”
“Let’s go. And how about we buy some things at the supermarket and have a blast at my place? The festival is too crowded.”
“I guess so. Let’s have a party with snacks and sweets that we bought for Izayoi’s house.”
“Sounds great. Let’s do that.”
While carrying Gindou Kohaku we walk ahead. Later, after taking care of her foot and buying various things at the supermarket, I let them stay at my house.
There’s nothing shady going on. We simply spend time together.
But today, I have made a new determination. That’s all.
That time when I met the person who had abused me in middle school. It seemed like time had frozen. Scary, scary, scary. I just thought so.
I was beginning to think that the warm time with him was going to turn cold …….
However, he seemed to understand everything. He inserted earphones into my ears and played anime songs at a high volume. Then he lifted me up and carried me on his back before silently walking away from that place.
He instantly warmed me up, even though I was starting to get cold.
They said a lot of things to him. I could usually tell what they were saying by the way their mouths moved. But he walked with me silently without paying any attention to them.
I was happy. The coolness. The love. Everything was beyond ideal. ……
I fell in love with him all over again.
I am so glad I fell in love with him.
And …… at the same time I was about to lose control of my feelings.
I want him, I want him, I want him. I want him. I desperately wanted …… him so badly that I could not get him out of my throat.
I’ve been acting modest lately so as not to bother him, but I want him so much that it doesn’t matter.
I want to create a fait accompli and bind him to me… Because he has a strong sense of responsibility, if I were to engage in an act, he would surely stay by my side… When I think about that, an overwhelming sense of excitement wells up within me.
I want him, I want him, I want him, I want him, I want him. But ……. He’d be annoyed if I did this ……
I want him, I want him… But I need to consider his feelings, I can’t disregard the other person’s emotions.
I had recently decided to take things slowly… I want him, I want him…
I started thinking about inviting him into my house and using seduction… forcefully…
But then, I remembered my mother’s words and placed my hand on my chest, contemplating slowly.
I tried to suppress the overflowing desire from the cup of my desires… But it’s not easily stopped.
Stop, I want him, stop, I want him, stop, I want him…
Stop, stop, I want him, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, I want him, stop, stop, stop!!
―― STOP IIIIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!
While being carried by him on his back, I placed my hand on my chest. How much time had passed?
It felt like an incredibly long time, and I was sweating profusely.
And somehow, I managed to restrain myself…
Afterward, we spent time at his house with the four of us. He said it was because the festival was too crowded but I guess that was to keep me from seeing those guys.
I’m happy… Once again… The desire… It’s good… It’s okay. This rushing desire… Will it come out again someday?
No, it’s alright. I managed to restrain it for now… Although a trace of it remains…
That day, we had a fun and lively time at his house. As we spent time together, the desire gradually subsided within me…
End of this arc