Is this what I mean when I say I’m stunned? Even if my mentality boasts a Mohs hardness of 10 and is as strong as the world’s hardest substance, Japanese ice cream, I can still be shocked.
If anything, my knees are laughing too. Knees “Kyahahahahahahaha”.
A perfect match pump that sets itself on fire and defeats itself.
That’s me, the fire-suited bandit, Yukito Kokonoe.
In order to save my childhood friend, Hinagi Suzurikawa, I have been spreading bad publicity by my own making, and as a result, I am now the most hated person in the school. I had hoped that this would lead me to a quiet and peaceful life in the shadows, but I have been sorely misguided.
My goal is to be the kind of atmospheric presence that leaves a group of people who have been invited to a play date but can’t join in the conversation, realizing that they don’t need me and quietly leaving the place behind.
But this was also due to my lack of precision. If the rumors are to be believed, Hinagi and her sister, who should have been avoiding me, are rather shrinking their distance from me after the commotion.
I suggested to Hinagi to keep her distance from me, but she firmly refused.
Sato and Miyahara have also been visiting my class frequently.
Under these circumstances, it is difficult to make a bad reputation persuasive. The effect was halved. In the end, it was only my fault for not being thorough enough.
My ambition to be ostracized by the entire school was crushed. The next move is necessary.
However, when I think about it, it may be natural. No matter how much of a scum I am and how many bad things I do, it doesn’t matter to those who are not directly involved with me.
After all, I am a stranger. I don’t have the time or the value to devote all that effort to someone who doesn’t care about me.
So, my days are pretty much the same, but it seems that people around me are dissatisfied with the current situation. In particular, the people around me, led by Sato and the others involved in the incident, are spreading a lot of beautiful stories about how they are going to wipe away the stigma. A minstrel living in 2022?
I am honestly annoyed by the fact that they are the opposite of what I am trying to achieve, but unfortunately, I can’t do anything tactless to interfere with their pure good intentions, so I have no choice but to leave it at that.
“Did you take a handkerchief?”
And today, I’m back to going to school with my sister, Yuuri, holding each other’ s hands in a chain.
Since it was revealed that I was the culprit behind the firestorm, the level of overprotection has been growing stronger by the day. I guess she wants to prove that the rumors are true by daring to show it to everyone around her.
“You have a lunch box, too, right?”
What can I say, I thought that was a disaster. She was the most furious I’ve ever seen her. I think she was so angry that she was promoted to cutthroat heavenly messenger.
And she hates Hinagi as if she were a snake and a scorpion. All I am allowed to do is to desperately beg for forgiveness.
“How’s the tension?”
“H i g h.” (Written in English)
I mustn’t let the mood get any worse. No matter what is said, I repeat my reply without any hesitation. Never make excuses or argue. Because I’m scared.
“Do you like me?”
“What do you like about me?”
“Do you want something?”
“Fm-fmmm. Do you really want me so bad?”
“All right. Give me a little time to make up my mind. I’ll get back to you by nightfall.”
“……Hmm? Wait, wait, what are you talking about?”
While I was responding to the question live, I was in the midst of a catastrophe.
What do you mean? Hey, what do you mean!
“Sis will do her best”
Her meaningful smile is mysterious and beautiful, isn’t it? But this is not the time to be saying things like that!
The entrance. My hand that was chained up is released and my sister heads to her classroom.
“Please don’t do that! It’s for your own good, for your own gooooooooooooood!”
The red string that bound our pinky fingers is removed. It was attached by my furious sister, who grabbed me by the chest and said, “If you want to insulate yourself so badly with me, I’ll insulate you with it”. It is very thick and hard to be called a string. It was the familiar red and blue one used in the scene of dismantling a bomb. Not the red string of fate, but the red VVF cable of destiny.
The insulation is very different, but it is surprisingly difficult to peel off the sheath without damaging the core wire inside. I heard that the cable was chosen because it looked sturdy, but I wonder if that’s the problem.
“Good morning, Yukito Kokonoe! It seems that you and your Sister are getting along as well as ever!”
“I was in a hurry to chase after my sister as she was leaving, but I was stopped by a hot-blooded senpai.”
“Actually, I need to talk to you about something, do you mind?”
“Yes, I do.
“Come on, come on”
I was dragged to the classroom of the third grade. Is there no peace for me in this school?
“What’s up with you, Yukito? You’re on the edge of your seat.”
“I’ve been preaching to the naive third graders.”
The man who is obliged to install solar panels on his face was eco-friendly today.
“What have you been up to all morning……”
“After that, I’ve been pleading with the second graders who don’t have any common sense, but I’m worried they’re not getting the message.”
The man was in a strangely good mood, but there was a hint of uneasiness in him.
“Is it storming today that Yukito is telling others what common sense is?”
“Oh, I’m sorry! I’m not being sarcastic. I shouldn’t have said that.”
I corrected my childhood friend’s misunderstanding, which clouded her face.
“It’s going to be cloudy and sunny today. It’s supposed to clear up this afternoon.”
“That’s what I am talking about, Yukito”
My childhood friend gives me a jittery, dumbfounded look, but what’s wrong?
“Well, it’s the inter-high school tournament soon. What are you going to do?”
“You too, you fresh and handsome guy.”
The same sparkling, expectant eyes as those of the hot-blooded, Himura senpai.
But the reality is that the reality is cruel. No matter what I do, nothing will come of it?
Even though the inter-high qualifying round is coming up at the end of next month, it’s nothing to do with the weak basketball team. Given the current situation, a first-round loss is a certainty.
Normally, the tournaments at this time of the year would be of little concern to first-year students, but sadly, the basketball team is so small that even first-year students can easily become regulars.
The team is so busy just assisting the senior to make his confession come true.
The reason I resumed playing basketball in the first place was just my selfish desire to respond to Hinagi and Shiori’s determination. I wanted to change. I knew I had to change.
The feelings I had back then have long since disappeared. Now, I cannot even remember how I felt. Only that fact remains.
I must have been happy when she told me she loved me. I wanted to love someone again. I chose this path because I wanted to regain that kind of normalcy.
I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in the competitions that hot-blooded senpai and fresh, handsome guys talk about.
It’s not like I have a goal or something I want to accomplish.
I didn’t feel any significance in striving toward the future.
There is a clear difference in temperature between Kouki and the others in this area. In any case, basketball is a team sport, no matter how outstanding the fresh and good-looking guy is. One person can’t do it alone, and there is not enough time for practice. Even the seniors don’t think they can win against a strong school that practices hard every day. Then what can we do?
“Kuku, I’ve got an idea.”
“You’re still too straight-faced to look like you’re smiling at all, you know?”
Shiori, who has been eager to join in the conversation since a while ago, is still not quite at the level of a manager of a men’s basketball team. I guess I have no choice but to take the initiative here again.
After school. Today’s club activity is quite simple.
“If you take the ball away from me, it’s over. Keep going until you get it. Simple, isn’t it?”
The club includes not only Kouki and Iito, who are in the same grade, but also the hot-blooded Senpai.
The basketball club, by the way, is a weak and small club, secretly working in a corner of the gymnasium.
“Is that all there is to it?”
“Stop it, Mihou, don’t say unnecessary things!”
While the hot-blooded Senpai and the fresh and good-looking guy are full of enthusiasm, there is also a not-so-hot group.
Even just this small number of people. I don’t like the difference in temperature.
It can’t be helped. In order to motivate everyone, I’m going to ask them to cooperate with me.
“When I lose the ball, Shiori will do her best to do the Kitsune dance.”
“What did you say, Yuki?!”
Shiori, the manager who had been abruptly dropped, looked astonished and astonished.
“Don’t worry. Trust me.”
“O-okay…..I mean it is still weird! Why would you make promises on your own?!”
“I thought it would motivate everyone.”
The men were somehow excited.
As one would expect from Shiori-chan. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the manager effect.
“I can’t dance if you ask me so suddenly!”
“There’s plenty of time from now on. I want to see it, too. Konkon.”
I turned around to look at Shiori, who was eagerly checking her smartphone.
“What’s with the Inter-High? I’m going to beat that spoiled guts back into shape.”
“That’s right, Nyahummm.”
“You’re an underclassman! Don’t you have a trick up your sleeve or something!?”
The members of the men’s basketball team were made to understand by Yuki. The overwhelming difference in ability.
I love Yuki’s dynamic performance on the court. Ever since then. Now more than ever.
I just want to keep my eyes on this moment so that I don’t miss it.
“As you can see, it is very easy to break down an opponent who is physically superior to you by lifting your center of gravity.”
“One more time, Yukito!”
Yuki easily rolls over the head of the basketball team, Himura senpai, and Mihou-kun rushes in with great vigor. The game is a breathless, fast-paced battle of offense and defense. But the game is won in an instant.
Mihou-kun, like the others, was rolled over, and the dead and dying were appearing in a row.
As if to prove the difference in ability, Yuki was the only one standing. It was nothing strange. Because I know him. I know that he has been working that hard and stoically.
After five or ten minutes of such development, the students of other club activities in the gymnasium stopped their hands and looked at the strange scene from a distance.
The words spontaneously spilled out of my mouth. It’s really too late.
I wanted to see him like this, I knew it would be annoying, I had no right to, but I followed him here.
This is a dream sequence, so to speak. A lost time allowed by a stroke of luck.
My throat trembles as if driven by an inner impulse.
“Hang in there, everybody!”
It is not important to get the ball away from Yuki here and now. I am sure that everyone understands that. This is a test that has been given to them in an easy-to-understand way.
This is the time to decide how to accept this result and what to do from now on.
“Shiori, let’s support those pathetic people together.”
“Zaako♥ Zaako♥” [TL: A word used to describe a person of low rank or one who is insignificant.]
“That’s not cheering, that’s agitating them!?”
“Come one, you too!”
“Zaako! Zaako! I-I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this……”
“I’m in trouble.……”
“What’s wrong, Yuki?”
“No, I think you’re too well-developed to be naughty.”
“That’s a pretty clear sexual harassment!?”
Her movements are very agile and delicate, even though she says joking things with her mouth.
“Haa haa. Not…..yet. It’s not over, Yukito!”
Dizzy, but not giving up, Mihou-kun stood up to him.
“Kouki, there’s not that much difference between you and me. If it’s simple physical ability, you’re better than me. You should start learning how to manipulate your body again.”
“…… physical manipulation?”
He never abandons us and cannot hide his kindness.
“That’s how you got to the inter-high school? That’s totally ridiculous. Wait a minute. What does chanchara mean? Let’s look it up.”
While dribbling, he was playing with his phone with one hand. It was too blatantly provocative. Still, no one can take the ball away from Yuki.
He is helplessly weak at the moment, but I have a certain premonition.
“I’m sure they’ll get stronger from now on”
I muttered to no one in particular. The frustrated looks on the faces of those who had fallen down, unable to do anything about it.
Everyone was being played and told what to do. Their pride must be in tatters.
In spite of their exhaustion, they still have a fighting spirit in their eyes.
“….As I thought, I love him.”
I had once taken away his dream. Even though I know it’s a sinful wish.
The longing I held burns me even more strongly.
In this way, he changes the people around him with his actions. He makes people take him seriously.
But that’s why I think. Yuki taught me something a long time ago.
He devoted himself to basketball in order to get over his childhood crush, Hinagi Suzurikawa-san. His feelings for her were so big. The strength he gained at the cost of his emotions. His passion was so strong that it drove everyone around him to the heights of domination. The reality of the situation is keenly felt.
“—-I don’t want to lose.”
I wipe the tears from the corners of my eyes and run up to him.
For exactly thirty minutes. Yuki kept the ball in play.
I want to be strong like this too, I thought to myself.