For the early morning group, the classroom flows with a leisurely atmosphere.
Among the sparse classmates, everyone rummages through their bags to find what they need.
“I caused trouble for Yukito, so I can’t receive any gratitude…”
“It’s true that you helped me. Besides, I’ve already made it for you.”
During the suspension incident, Hinagi helped me without considering herself. For Hinagi, who has struggled in the past, it couldn’t have been an easy choice.
Nevertheless, she chose to help. While saying it would be cool if I helped her, in the end, I was the one who was helped. Therefore, I must express my gratitude.
“Thank you. It’s cute, and soft… so fluffy. Yukito is talented.”
“Do you think so?”
“I can only do simple things like sewing buttons.”
I hand the Yukito Bear plushie to Hinagi. I also made one for Hiori-chan.
Recently, since my mother does most of the household chores, I have less to do at home.
Feeling idle and anxious about my own purpose, I started studying sewing.
One of the results of my efforts is the requested Yukito-kun plushie.
“It’s not just an ordinary stuffed animal. If you hit here, it screams! It contains a collection of nine different death cries. Perfect for stress relief.”
I press the head part, and it emits a sound of me screaming, “Nwaaaaaaa!”
The fact that someone specifically requested a plushie resembling me suggests it’s for stress relief.
When feeling angry, they can step on it, punch it, or throw it against the wall.
If that’s the case, the screams are indispensable to enhance the sense of realism. I’ve really done a good job.
Hinagi squeezes the chest of the Yukito Bear. A scream of “Ngyaaaaaa!” echoes.
“Why screams! It’s too horrifying! Seriously, you’re such an idiot. It would have been better if it called my name or something…”
Hinagi pouts a little. Next time, I’ll listen to her request and record her voice.
“And also, look at this.”
“…This is a book, right?”
“It’s the Pop-up Hinagi-chan Picture Book.”
When I open the book, a young Hinagi-chan pops out. The content is very simple, telling the heartwarming story of adventurous Hinagi-chan, who experiences various things and becomes happy.
“You used to like picture books, right?”
“What are you talking about? But this is amazing. I can’t believe you made something like this… Huh, the last page is blank?”
As Hinagi flips through the book, her hand stops at the last page.
“Your future, your path will continue from here on. It won’t be an end.”
As she looked at the finished picture book that incorporated educational elements, Hinagi-chan’s eyes turned red once again.
That’s right, that’s right. When we were children, Hinagi-chan loved picture books. She often came to me and said, “Yu-chan, let’s read together!” It was always me who read it aloud while Hinagi-chan exclaimed, “Amazing!” in admiration. It’s nostalgic.
“I’ve been thinking, Yukito, do you like crafts and such?”
“…I’m not sure. I haven’t really thought about it.”
I’ve never been conscious of it, but maybe I don’t dislike getting engrossed in something.
“I’m thinking of joining a club too. Now that I’m a high school student, I want to start something new.”
Wiping away her teary eyes, Hinagi-chan showed a smile. She, too, is growing as she walks through the blank pages. She’s trying to live her own life, not just focusing on me and neglecting herself as she did when she first entered school.
There’s no need for unnecessary words. I’ll just respect her decision.
“Yeah, I’ve decided. I’ll join the art club!”
“Not the brass band club?”
When Hinagi was in junior high school, she was in the brass band club. Now Hinagi-chan is in the brass band club as well.
“I like the brass band too, but I wanted to try expressing myself through something tangible.”
Seeing her gradually growing, step by step, I couldn’t help but feel proud.
“Come on, Yukito-kun, hurry up! I’m starving. I’m so hungry!”
She seemed annoyed. Fearing divine punishment, I immediately apologized.
“I’m sorry, esteemed divine being, Takami Musuhi no Mikoto-senpai.”
[TL: Takami Musuhi No Mikoto (高皇産霊尊) is the name of a deity found in Japanese mythology. In the “Kojiki,” it is mentioned as one of the gods that appeared at the beginning of heaven and earth, alongside Ame No minaka nushi no Kami and Kamu Musubi no Kami. The name can also be written as Takami Musubi no Kami. “Musu” signifies birth or creation, while “Hi” represents spiritual power or essence.]
It’s the Floor Boss, also known as Goddess-senpai, who always appears on the emergency staircase, but I had informed her of the plan in advance.
“The divinity is too heavy! By the way, why can you say that complicated name so smoothly, but you can’t remember my name? Tell me the truth. You actually remember, don’t you? You’re doing it on purpose, right? Just pretending to forget to hide your embarrassment when we’re alone together, isn’t it?”
“N-No, that’s not true. I definitely remember.”
“Then, say it.”
Yare yare. I’ve been quite underestimated. I do remember Goddess-senpai’s real name.
“As I recall… umm, the Shogi that moves in a strange way. It’s not Argent… not Shokugeki… Wait. Was it—-Bringer?”
“Why can’t you remember it!?”
“It’s not Mera.”
“It’s Mera! No, wait, not that either. It’s Souma, not Zoma. So-u-ma. It’s a lovely name, Souma Kyoka, the Mirror of the Equine Blossoms. Remember it properly!”
“But, everyone around calls you Goddess-senpai, that’s the prevailing rumor, right?”
“It’s because you started calling me that, that it spread! Why are you saying it as if it doesn’t matter!?”
“Well, well. I’ll give you a baguette.”
I handed the baguette I had in my hand to Goddess-senpai. I noticed that she had been eyeing the baguette a few times since earlier.
To calm down the agitated Goddess-senpai, offering an offering is the best way.
“Yukito-kun, you said you would make me lunch in return, right?
“It’s not store-bought. I baked it myself. Here, have some. It’s Dragon Fruit Jam.”
Due to the size being too large to bake in the oven at home, I borrowed the head chef’s help.
“That’s amazing, but honestly, it’s really impressive! I’m curious about the jam with such a strong and unique name, but even if I receive such a big and hard baguette for lunch, I won’t be able to finish it. Wait, are you planning to make me say that line just now!?”
“There is French bread, but there is no Japanese bread.”
“Hey, listen to me for a moment! It’s like I’m the only one saying embarrassing things.”
What’s “Japanese bread” supposed to be? Panpan-zemi (a seminar on bread)?
“I understand. I’ve prepared it properly. Please nibble on the baguette during class, like a squirrel hoarding food. Oh, and here’s this pistachio jam, too.”
Apart from the baguette, I hand over a bento box.
“You made a bento for me too?”
“I stopped by the home economics room to warm it up. Please, it’s Unadon (grilled eel on rice).”
“Luxurious! It’s suddenly a significant upgrade. …Is this still in the bento category?”
“I learned it from someone and prepared it myself. Then I made it into a grilled eel style.”
“Are you planning to become a cook, Yukito-kun?”
“I don’t have such intentions…”
The head chef even said to me, “If you ever run into trouble in the future, I’ll make you the successor of this shop.”. The owner’s son seems to be a regular company employee. He laughed boldly, saying that he had no particular intention to impose on the store and that it would be fine if it ended in his generation, but it seems to be the same everywhere that people are troubled by the lack of successors.
“By the way, don’t you have something for yourself, Yukito-kun?”
“I have this.”
I take out a block from the paper bag.
“Ah, a high-quality loaf of bread that you hardly see these days!”
“I’ve never tried eating it before.”
“I haven’t either. Can I have it a little bit later?”
“Sure, go ahead. I wasn’t sure if I could finish it all.”
“Why did you bring a whole loaf then!?”
Quenching my thirst with a tapioca drink, I immediately tear off a piece and try it.
“How is it?”
“…………Maybe try to use some jam?”
The high-quality loaf of bread, despite its simplicity, was delicious.
“It’s a line-up like someone who missed the boom.”
Ugh. I secretly receive a blow from the merciless comeback of the current high school girl, but I won’t be discouraged.
“And I have one more thing as a token of gratitude.”
“Hmm, did you bring something else for me?”
“It’s not food, but here it is! Behold, an A3 tapestry featuring a freshly taken photo of Goddess Senpai!”
“That’s the bonus item from last time!”
“–HA!? What am I even…?”
Perhaps Goddess-senpai received some divine revelation. She’s becoming even more goddess-like.
To avoid any misunderstanding, let me clarify.
“It’s not just a bonus item, it’s available for purchase.”
“You’ve been doing as you please for far too long. But fine, I’ll take it for now.”
I got scolded.
“Mmm, it’s delicious! But eel is quite expensive, isn’t it? I feel a bit guilty.”
“Don’t worry about it, the cost is only for the ingredients. By the way, did you know that the midsummer day of the ox is not limited to Saturdays? It means you can eat it today without any problem.”
In the afternoon, we became a little wiser through this conversation.