TL: As promised, the sponsored chapter. Enjoy
I have no idea what to call my hairstyle, but I guess it’s okay even if they call me a baldie. As it doesn’t make a particularly civilized sound when I hit my head1, to sum it up, the reason I was playing basketball was out of shame. I wanted to forget the stupidity of my foolish and embarrassing misunderstanding. Because when I tried to confess my feelings for my childhood friend, who I thought was in love with me, rejected me because she had a boyfriend. Well, I was shocked, wasn’t I?
Soon after that, the relationship between Suzurikawa and her senpai grew stronger. I wonder when was the last time I held Suzurikawa’s hand like that. I can’t even remember. Maybe we never done something like that in the first place. Of course, we hadn’t kissed, and we haven’t done anything more than that.
Maybe that’s why. For me, how to say it, I lost my interest, towards my childhood friend who had quickly crossed that line with her partner. Ah, as expected they would do that.…… thus I regard myself to resignation just like that.
Day by day, I can feel the hollow opening in my heart expanding. I try to fill it, but it won’t fill. It’s like a bucket with a bottom that won’t fill up even if you pour water into it from above. Little by little, the emotions leak out and gradually fade away.
I didn’t feel any fear on those days. However, my reason was screaming at me that this was not the way to go. That’s why I threw myself into my club activities. I worked on my basketball skills. I was trying to fill the void with something. And I set a goal.
Let’s take this last tournament as an opportunity to move forward. At that time, I still had the feeling that I “liked” Suzurikawa. However, that won’t become a reality. There was no point in holding on to it forever. It was a goal that I set in order to get rid of such feelings.
Eventually, the feelings of “love” and ” affection” for someone disappeared. It had become incomprehensible. Every day I felt that I was breaking down. I wanted to deny it, so I became even more obsessed with basketball. There was someone who came close to me. That person was Shiori Kamishiro.
I wonder when exactly we’ve become friends. I don’t really understand about such thing. One day, as the days went by, Shiori confessed to me. But the truth is, it was a fake confession2. I didn’t care when I found out about it. There was no need to be shocked.
As long as the last tournament wasn’t over, I wouldn’t be able to start anything. As long as I don’t firmly erase the person called Hinagi Suzurikawa from my mind, I won’t be able to face Kamishiro.
So I withheld my answer. Everything would not progress until the tournament was over. However, I broke my arm just before the tournament and couldn’t participate in it. Everything was thrown out half-heartedly, and I was left without any sort of closure. It broke a little part of me again.
I wonder if something would have been different if I had been able to participate in the tournament properly at that time. Would I have been able to get something back? Now, I would never be able to find out.
I quickly pass the ball, wondering just how good the fresh, handsome man is at getting me into this situation with such enthusiasm. Kouki catches it as if in a panic. However, he grinned and easily dunked over the marks of the seniors. He had tremendous physical ability. The girls erupted in a cheer of joy. It’s not fair to be handsome! He was a flashy guy. I knew he was incompatible with me.
The offense and defense switched, and the senpais became the attackers. I knew right away that the seniors were not that good. There is a big difference in the level of physical growth between a freshman and a junior in high school, but even so, they were an easy opponent to deal with. Because of his size, his movements were crude and unrefined. You can tell what they are going to do next by looking at them. I guess that’s the level of this school’s basketball team.
A quick attack to disturb the center of gravity of the senpai that’s trying to shoot for the basket. With that, the ball easily bounced off the ring. The offense and defense are reversed again. This time, I try to pass the ball to Ito-kun. He failed to receive it, and was in a hurry to chase the ball. I thought to myself. This is–
“We don’t have to do this anymore, do we?” (Yuki)
“No, no, no, no.”3 (Miho)
“I mean, if we keep playing like this, we’re going to win.……” (Yuki)
“What? Kokonoe, you still don’t understand, do you?” (Miho)
I do understand. I mean, Miho…. That move, you were experienced in basketball before?” (Yuki)
“You just realized it now, ……? I don’t know how I feel about that.” (Miho)
There was no way I could understand the feelings of a fresh, handsome guy. If I could understand people’s feelings, I wouldn’t be here playing basketball right now. I’m a good student.
Even though I’m a good student, one of my weaknesses is the unreasonable Japanese question that asks you to answer the author’s feelings. I wrote on my answer sheet, “Wasn’t she frustrated because she had to hold the toilet? I was once told not to be silly when I wrote that on my answer sheet. I don’t understand……. I’m not a psychologist. How could I possibly know what the author was thinking?
There’s no need to play 2 rounds of the game. It’s an easy opponent. We don’t have enough practice, enough skill, enough everything. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can beat them. Huh, ……. A sigh escapes me. I wasn’t motivated from the beginning, but this put me more down.
I shot the ball. The ball went through the ring as if it were being sucked in. The loud cheers had already stopped. Only a few minutes ago, the atmosphere had been so lively, but now it had disappeared. Silence and stillness reigned in the after-school gym. It was one-sided. This is not an even game.
“It’s really boring.……” (Yuki)
I didn’t notice that everyone in the room had a twitchy look on their face.
“Then the next round. Play against me, Yukito Kokonoe” (Miho)
The gaze of a fresh, handsome man was looking straight through me.
[Kouko Miho POV]
I, Kouki Miho, have been invited by many sports clubs as a student with excellent athletic skills. I like sports. I chose to play basketball in junior high school simply because I didn’t want to practice outside on hot summer days, but I was selected as a regular member of the basketball team from my first year and played an active role. The basketball team was said to be a strong one. It was one of the top schools in the prefecture. If I joined the team, we would be able to aim for the national championship.
I don’t really mean to brag. But the fact that I was good at sports was there as a matter of fact. That’s probably why. The encounter with the man was a shock to me. It came out of nowhere. A district tournament. The opponent was a weak school that I didn’t know very well. There was no need to look up who they are.
Our goal was the national tournament, and the regional tournament was just a stepping stone to that goal. We don’t even need to worry about them. No one doubted that we would win by a large margin. It was supposed to be. But a few minutes after the game started, we were lying face down on the court as if we were watching a ghost.
The man was glaring at the entire court with deep, stagnant eyes, as if he couldn’t see any emotion. He was the point guard, but he was in control of everything.
Nothing was getting through. No pass was going through, no cut was going through, no feint was going to catch him. I was supposed to be watching the ball, but the next thing I knew, the ball was out of the man’s hands and he was passing. There was no reserve motion, no intention to pass, nothing. He crushes our shot without even breaking a sweat, and he doesn’t show a shred of joy no matter how much he scores. The man was scoring nonchalantly like an emotionless machine. It was clearly abnormal.
But that wasn’t the only thing that was strange. The man was the only one who stood out in the team. The rest of the team, not so much. There was a slim chance for us to win, but we had already lost our spirit. Their team composition was too unbalanced. Still, we were no match for them. It was the first time we had experienced such overwhelming defeat and humiliation.
What a strong team. What kind of team is this? I was embarrassed. Unless we beat this guy, we would never be able to go to the national tournament. For the first time, I felt frustrated. It was the first time I felt so strongly that I didn’t want to lose to someone else. It was the first time I seriously devoted myself to sports. By that time, I had become captain. Defeating him became my goal, and not just my goal, but the goal of the basketball team.
However, he didn’t show up for the final tournament of my junior year. We were selected to play in the national tournament, and we made it to the third round of the national tournament, and we won. It was a big achievement, a great success, and the school and the people around us were happy.
However, there was something that kept nagging at the basketball team. We hadn’t beaten that guy. Even if we made it to the nationals, why did it matter? We lost, and we never had a chance to beat him.
Then I happened to be in the same class as him in high school. He was even crazier than I had imagined. I guess you could call him unpredictable, but somehow I couldn’t leave him alone. There were times when I wondered if this was the same Yukito Kokonoe. But now, that pass. There’s no doubt about it. It was definitely this guy who crushed me back then!
I get goosebumps. Goosebumps, my whole body boils with joy. I’ve always wanted to play against him again. I’ve always wanted to play with him. With this different man. With Yukito Kokonoe. This atmosphere is the same as that time. This guy’s style of play makes everything disappear. His opponent’s rivalry, cheers, and support. Only silence dominates the scene.
I didn’t take my eyes off the ball. And yet, the pass was as if the ball had suddenly appeared in front of me. I couldn’t help but panic. Ito had missed, but there was nothing I could do about it. Just like that time, I couldn’t read any emotions or thoughts. It’s impossible. With the skills of the seniors, they will never be able to stop us. Then Yukito said something.
“It’s really boring…….” (Yuki)
That may be true for this man. But I didn’t want to lose this opportunity. I wanted to play with this man for as long as possible. So I–
“Then the next round. Play against me, Yukito Kokonoe.”
[Shiori Kamishiro POV]
Kouki-kun had declared war on Yuki. How did this happen? Why? Wasn’t Kouki on Yuki’s side? Hot tears began to fall from my eyes. Yuki is playing basketball again.
My heart was filled with joy at the sight of Yuki playing basketball again. I had regretted it for a long time. I was the one who had ruined Yuki’s future. All I felt was guilt. I thought Yuki would play basketball again in high school. But he chose to join the homecoming club.
“Hey. Why do you work so hard?” (Shiori)
I had asked him once before. The answer came as a surprise. Despite the fact that it seemed like a difficult topic to talk about, Yuki told me without seeming to mind. He said it was because he was rejected by his childhood friend and he was trying to get over it. He told me that was why he was devoting himself to it.
When I confessed my feelings to him, he asked me to wait until the last tournament. I was sure that was the goal Yuki had set for me. Yuki was probably trying to put his feelings in order after that tournament.
I ruined that opportunity. It was my fault, because of my stupidity. So, where are the feelings that Yuki had, the feelings that he was so devoted to basketball gone to?
I took that opportunity away from him. Maybe he still has some unresolved feelings inside him. Frozen in place since that moment.
“What? Have you finally lost your mind? Don’t think you can get away with anything with your good-looking face.” (Yuki)
”It’ll be boring if you keep doing this, right?” (Miho)
“What’s wrong with that? I have to go home and hang out with my friends today.” (Yuki)
“No, you don’t have any friends!” (Miho)
“Oi, oi, stop messing around you playboy. I have a beautiful witch named Misaki Himiyama.”
“Is that a…… friend or a……?” (Miho)
“Well, I don’t plan to go there because it’s as dangerous as the jungle for me.” (Yuki)
“So you have no plans! Don’t wake up your taste for mature women at your age.……” (Miho)
“I’m not popular. It can’t be helped if that happens.” (Yuki)
“Hmm, I want to deny it somehow. Well, that’s okay. Anyway, senpai, I’m going to go in there now. Someone please changes with me. You can’t win like this.” (Miho)
“Oh, come on, don’t go on like that. That’s not how it works.” (Senpai)
“It’s impossible for the senpais to win like this. Please!” (Miho)
“I never thought I’d be beaten to a pulp by a first year. I get it, change with me.” (Senpai)
“Thank you very much.” (Miho)
“Then I’ll be there.” (Senpai)
“Why does everyone ignore my requests?” (Yuki)
“You’re good, but haven’t you ignored me?” (Ito)
“You’re……? Yes, Inappropriate.” (Yuki)
Ito-kun was a rather interesting man. After the discussion was over, Miho turned to look at me. He didn’t have his usual fresh, handsome smile. He had a fierce smile. His smile was filled with a kind of fighting spirit. Why did he choose to be in the homecoming club with me when he has such a personality?
“Yukito, this time I’m going to beat you!” (Miho)
“Are you that hot-headed?” (Yuki)
“Yukito, I want to play basketball with you.” (Miho)
“I don’t want to play. I don’t have the motivation.” (Yuki)
“But, If it’s you—-!” (Miho)
“It’s all in the past. There’s nothing for me now.” (Yuki)
The refreshingly handsome man frowned for a moment, then let out a breath.
“Then, Yukito. If I win this game, Kamishiro is mine!” (Miho)
1 : It’s an idiom related to why to call him a baldie. 文明開化 literally translates to “civilized”. To be civilized you need to be smart. To be smart you need to study. What he actually mean is that he isn’t particularly studious, that’s why he choose to do something physical. And a lot of sports-club member tends to be bald, thus calling him a baldie.
2. I previously translated 嘘告 at ch16 as dishonesty (tbf, 嘘 means lie, 告 means honesty/confession). But apparently, it’s a slang for fake confession. So, my bad.
3. The author put なく (means no) way too many. it’s either a typo or joke or something we don’t understand.
Ed- Hello editor here, so not much to say except Yuki can hoop also I seriously doubt Yuki would care at all especially how he is now but anyways as usual if there are any mistakes or errors please let me know in the comments and I hope you enjoyed chapter 17 of the series :)