Chapter 58: Will of steel
TL: Sponsored chapter. Thanks for donating on my ko-fi page.
[This is still the past]
“Oi, Shinjo, you’re really good at peeling skin, right? I’ll leave the curry to you. I’ll go to another group.”
Ryuji Sakakibara, the central figure of the class, takes the initiative in bullying me. He doesn’t recognize it as bullying. I think he really thinks it’s a joke, as Hanazawa said, “That’s why they pick on you.”
“Shinjo, fry the meat when you peel it off. It’s gross, but I’ll forgive you since you’re speaking respectfully today.”
“Right, Miki! It’s a beautiful day, and we had super fun during the day! Shinjo is really talented! …… Don’t get carried away, okay?”
Hanazawa is talking to Miki Toranomon, but her gaze is on Ryuji Sakakibara.
I’ve seen that kind of gaze before. I guess she is in love with him.
Well, it doesn’t really matter to me.
“…… Yes, I will cook it”
“…… Ah-haha, I’ll help you with something.”
“No, I don’t want to lose the ingredients again …”
“Y-Yes, I’ll talk to Ryuji.”
When I’m cooking, I don’t have to think about anything. I like to cook. It makes my head feel empty.
I also love to read novels. It’s the only time I don’t feel lonely.
I can’t wait to cook, eat, and sleep.
After that, there will be a campfire and a performance. …… It’s okay, it should be over soon if I can hold on.
It’s a weird situation, though.
In this group of four Sakakibara and I, the boys, and Hanazawa and Toranomon, the girls.
Of course, when we sleep, the girls and boys sleep separately.
The facility has a large building where the boys sleep together in a large room.
The girls sleep in a separate building. It’s impossible for them to go back and forth at night. …… Probably.
There are always classmates around the three of them.
They are the heart of the class. To be honest, I didn’t want to join them. Today, I was not bullied …… during the daytime orienteering, but usually these three people are the ones who bully me …….
If I have done something wrong, they bully me.
I don’t know. What sense does such a sultry sense of justice make?
“O-Onii-chan, uhm, is this the right place for the dishes?”
I thought it was my stepsister when she suddenly called me Onii-chan. …… My stepsister is also in this forest school with a different group. When I say that, there’s Saito, Miyazaki, Kisaragi, and Nanako.
One of the purposes of this forest school is to develop the ability to teach children.
I don’t know if it was originally a partnership or what kind of arrangement was made, but in addition to us junior high school students, an elementary school also came to the forest school at the same time.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Please put it on the table over there.”
This girl was one of the elementary school students that our group was leading. In fact, there should be three more …….
I heard a loud laugh coming from Sakakibara’s direction. There were the rest of the elementary school girls that we were leading. It seems that they have taken to Sakakibara and are always following him around.
The girl was letting out a sigh for some reason.
This girl was much calmer than the loud kids around Sakakibara.
She never even smiled.
Since a while ago, only this girl and I have been working. Toranomon is just keeping an eye on me. …… No, it’s better than being a failure.
It doesn’t matter. Let’s finish the dishes quickly.
The girl came back after arranging the dishes. She stands silently in front of me.
“I’m going to prepare the salad, so please arrange the cut vegetables like this sample plate.”
I’m not good with kids. I don’t know what they’re thinking. …… No, it’s not just kids. I’m probably not very good at interacting with people.
Just don’t do anything unnecessary. If you do, something will happen.
“Uwa, Shinjo is a creepy guy, but you can cook really well. What’s this? It’s arranged like a restaurant! You should laugh at least a little! I’m talking to you today, you know.”
“……, Hanazawa-san. The curry will be ready in twenty minutes, so please wait.”
“Oh, yeah. You know, did you really molest Saito? Also, you made that pretentious girl Miyazawa cry. Nanako got what she deserved, didn’t she?”
I couldn’t sense any malice in Hanazawa’s words. But to me, it felt like malice.
I denied it over and over again. No one would listen to me. All they did was to be amused and add to the rumors.
“No, I’m really worried about you. You’re the one who gets picked on in class, right? To be frank, there is something wrong with you, too. You better deny it.”
I clenched my teeth tightly and endured. The back of my chest was filled with an unpleasant feeling.
Calm down. I’ll be fine.
Yes, it’s all my fault. So I want you to stay away from me.
I can’t let these feelings come out in words. Something might happen again.
Then I’ll just–
“…… Yes, I’ll be careful from now on.”
“What’s with that reply ……, it’s so funny ……”
I felt a little bit of sympathy and guilt from Hanazawa. I don’t need that.
I don’t need to trust anyone.
The meal is over, and I’m left alone to clean up. I’m not bothered by this amount of work.
Sakakibara, Hanazawa, and Toranomon are talking with some elementary kids.
A quiet girl was caught by Hanazawa.
“Misa-chan, right? I mean, isn’t she super cute? She’d look amazing with make-up on!”
“Idiot! Don’t make a kid wear makeup! I mean, she’s even prettier than you.”
“I-I’ll clean up the mess…….”
“What? That guy’s doing it for me today, so I don’t care. We lost the penalty game.”
“I wish I had a sister like her.”
As I was cleaning up the dishes, I noticed that there was something strange in the air.
The quiet girl looked uncomfortable. I could also sense a sense of dissatisfaction from the other elementary school girls a little further away.
“Misa~, let’s have a strategy meeting over here.”
The schoolgirl with the glazed-over eyes and a strong temperament, she must be the leader of that group.
The girl called a quiet girl.
Sakakibara and the others let go of the quiet girl and continued chatting on their own.
I was a little curious about the school kids.
When I turned my gaze to the schoolchildren, I saw the leader of the group pinching the arm of a quiet girl …….
I can’t even hear the words. But there was an unpleasant feeling in the air.
The quiet girl just nodded repeatedly and looked into the distance with …… empty eyes.
Dancing around a campfire.
We have to do such silly things.
The students around me are excited to be able to hold hands with the girls and dance. Some of the students were shy.
I’m alone. I’m in the dance line, but everyone is avoiding me.
I’m just pretending to dance. I just walk around with my hands up in the air. No one wants to hold my hand.
I had been looking down, but then I looked up. There I saw Saito-san, who had …… become quite scruffy, and her eyes met mine.
Saito-san looked a little uncomfortable and turned her head away from me.
“Miyu, you’re in danger. Come on, get in this line. Tashiro is looking for you.”
“Y-yes! R-Right! Hehe….”
The smile on her face as if she was trying to cover something up was weird. Saito-san was taken away by her friends and went away.
I was overcome with nausea. Don’t let your guard down. We’re in the same school, so we’re bound to run into each other. She has no relation to me. Still, the memory of the library came back to me.
We used to talk so happily. We were so close. …….
I felt like something was going to overflow from the back of my mind. But I ignore it. I don’t feel any pain in my heart. I’m fine with being alone. I don’t need to get involved with anyone. Time will take care of it. I can forget everything.
“Oh, it’s Shinjo! You’ve got a really gloomy face! Well, I guess no one held your hand, huh? I don’t blame you.”
The person behind Saito-san was Hanazawa.
Hanazawa took my hand.
Why is this person smiling? Why is her hand so warm? Why is she talking to me? Have you forgotten what you did to me?
Is she …… trying to trick me?
My heart rapidly went cold. I can clearly feel the wall inside me. It is a wall that can never be broken down. It’s as solid as if it were made of steel.
I neededa will of steel that no one could defeat.
I put on a fake smile to get past Hanazawa.
“Oh, that’s a nice smile! That’s right, that’s how you’re going to get along with Ryuji and the others today!”
“…… I see.”
“…… You, you helped my sister when she was in trouble with a playboy on her last vacation, right? She wanted to thank you. You’re also the one who took care of my sister’s chores in class without hesitation. You’re really a good guy, you know that? Some people are even saying that Saito has been falsely accusing you.”
The dance music stopped. My movements also stopped.
I knew I shouldn’t have gotten involved with anyone. I don’t know how she found out about me, but she created an opportunity to get involved with me.
“Hehe, I’m pretty cool in class, you know. So if you don’t like being teased, I’ll tell Ryuji. So let’s be friends!”
Taking on chores? Did I help your sister? Good person?
I was filled with disgust. But I suppressed it with a steel of will.
“…… No, it’s all my fault.”
“Eh? What’s wrong with you? Look, let’s all go over there and drink some juice!”
In front of Hanazawa’s gaze, there were classmates surrounding Sakakibara.
They’re looking at us suspiciously. I don’t like the way they’re looking at me. I don’t want you to look at me.
“…… I just don’t want to be told that now. Bullying will take care of itself.”
I started walking in the opposite direction of my classmates, staring into the distance with vacant eyes.
“Eh, ah, wa-wait, mou…..You are not a child, so stop sulking. Oh, no, Ryuji, I’m coming!”
The voice was a mixture of sympathy and annoyance. Hanazawa ran off, leaving me behind.
At this moment, I was truly alone in the world.
But this is the path I have chosen.
There’s no way there will be anyone I can trust in the future.
I headed to the empty cooking area to read my novel.
There was a guest in the cooking area, which I thought would be empty.
The quiet girl that my group had been taking care of was sitting there typing away on her phone at a very fast pace.
When she noticed me, she jumped and tried to walk away.
“It’s okay. I was just going to read my novel here. I’ll go somewhere else.”
“Ah, novel ……. Oh, you read novels too?”
The girl was about to leave, but stopped in her tracks.
“Yes, I haven’t read the latest episode of Tetsuro. ……”
“Tetsuro! Oh, ……, I also like Tetsuro, ……, I love the novel, …….”
There was an indescribable air between me and the girl.
It’s okay, the girl has nothing to do with me.
“That’s a great piece of work. I wish I could be a strong protagonist like that. By the way, you were in the middle of typing a message, weren’t you? If I was disturbing you I will……”
“N-no, you’re not disturbing me at all. I don’t have anyone to type a message to. My brother is in a different school, so I guess it’s okay. …… I’ve been wanting to write a novel like Tetsuro……, and I’ve been writing my own.”
Writing a novel? What? The option of writing a novel myself had never crossed my mind before.
“Amazing ……. You can write a novel?”
“No, it’s not amazing at all. Because …… is the only thing I enjoy doing.”
The girl looked at the noisy group of elementary school girls with vacant eyes.
The girl looked at the group of elementary school girls making noise with empty eyes. I have a novel, so I can put up with it.
“Haa, I wonder if there will be no more bullying when I grow up. …… But, hey, I have a novel to put up with.”
Even so, this girl seemed stronger than me.
“I wonder if I can write a novel ……”
“Eh, I-I don’t know, but I’m sure you can. Oh, w-would you like to see my work? Hehe, I’m so happy that my work got the top ranking.”
“I don’t know about you, but top ranking is great. Congratulations …….”
“T-thank you. …… Hehe, I don’t know, I’m so happy. It’s been a long time since I’ve been praised by someone. …… If you like books, why don’t you write a novel? I’ll teach you how to update the web!”
“Y-yeah, can I do it? …… No, I will give it a try”
We had been talking for what seemed like tens of minutes.
When we were talking about novels, the words came out without thinking. It had been a long time since I had such a peaceful time.
Fun times always end. She and I both look towards the noise my classmates are making.
If we don’t get back soon, we’re going to have a lot of problems.
“…… I’m going, Onii-chan. You know, I’m glad you didn’t miss forest school today. Uhm, I-I hope you won’t tell anyone that I’m being left out…….”
I know exactly how you feel. I don’t trust teachers. The bullying will only get worse.
I can’t …… do anything about it, can I ……?
“Yeah, I know. I’m the same as you. …… Okay, if I ever write a novel, please read it. Promise me that. You’ll be my mentor.”
“Heheheh, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. …… Thank you so much for today, Onii-chan. …… alright.”
I took a deep breath and then stood up. Because if I don’t, my minds will be defeated.
My steps are heavy, but I feel like I’ve seen the light.
I’m going to write a novel.
For the first time in my life, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest—-
11 comments »
CipherFebruary 5, 2022 at 4:23 am
Is this flashback moments?
NeruFebruary 9, 2022 at 8:13 am
I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure chapters 57 and 58 are flashbacks.
GattsFebruary 5, 2022 at 6:34 am
Thank you for the chapter !
KaarveeFebruary 5, 2022 at 1:37 pm
Thank you for the chapter! Can’t wait for the next chapter!
nika77722February 6, 2022 at 1:36 am
Thanks for the chapter. I’m guessing they’re gonna tease him dor talking with the girl
NeruFebruary 9, 2022 at 8:12 am
Thanks for the chapter!
Drop LordFebruary 9, 2022 at 2:44 pm
Thanks for translating this novel. I have translated this novel into Vietnamese without your permission before. Althought It’s too late but may I have yours?
SoafpFebruary 9, 2022 at 2:56 pm
As long you credit the author and me.
PenelopeFebruary 10, 2022 at 12:43 am
Kapan nyanta dan pomeko bertemu?
oowooFebruary 10, 2022 at 2:38 pm
Thanks for the chapter! I’ll check back periodically.
DurendeMay 29, 2022 at 3:08 am
Hanazawa should get a dose of reality, acting like she’s not part of the problem is actually more annoying than juts being a straight up bully