Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
I felt eyes on me constantly as we walked around the festival.
Students from this school, from another, even college students and parents alike. It was obvious that I wasn’t imagining things, but I wasn’t the target of such attention. They were all looking at Akina, who was strolling with me side-by-side.
Her appearance had changed drastically after removing her glasses, and her face was free for all to see. Her well-defined features and pretty short hair only served to exude an intellectual aura. Her skirt, which used to end below her knees, now ended just before them, giving the slightest peek to her soft white thighs.
Not to mention her crimson eyes, reminiscent of the shiniest of rubies. They matched so well with her raven black hair, it was only natural she’d attract that much attention just by being present.
“I’m not really used to, um… this kind of thing.”
“About all the attention?”
“Yeah. Before, when I wore thick glasses and didn’t care much for my appearance, I wasn’t very noticed by people around, nor was I constantly looked at…”
“For sure, I haven’t noticed anything like this happening to you before, either.”
“Right? After summer vacation, a whole load of people I’ve never even talked to before started using any opportunity they could find, all so they could ask for my phone number.”
Yeah, that guy who was one grade above me, the “prince” of the school. He was also the guy who played dirty with me back during the ball-game tournament. Worst dude I’ve ever met, period.
“Yeah, him. The other day, I was just walking down the corridor when he approached me. He used to call me ugly and a nobody before, but after I did a makeover, his whole attitude changed. That guy even asked if he could hang out with me! Honestly, that made me laugh.”
“He’s probably interested only in people’s looks.”
“Yeah, as I expected, you’re the only one who acts the same around me.”
“Mhm. When you talk to me, you look straight into my eyes with sincerity. You didn’t change your demeanor one bit, and that wasn’t a surprise for me. I’ve always noticed you care more about what’s inside, so me changing a lot didn’t influence you one bit.”
Her eyes were locked on mine, and a smile grew on her face.
“I think I finally understand how Shirahato-san can try to be beautiful without any compromises. It’s because you can see through her better. As it is, the more I try to be beautiful, the more I feel you try to look through my appearance, all so you can talk to me for what I am.”
“So I see through you…?”
“Exactly. Though I’ll have to step up my game. I really enjoy talking to you, you know? Besides, I have you all for myself this morning, so let’s walk around some more!”
She grabbed my hand, squeezing it. The corners of her mouth rose up, revealing one hell of an attractive smile. My heart couldn’t help but skip a beat.
“Hmm~? You don’t like it?”
“N–No, it’s not that, it’s just that, um…”
“Then it’s fine! C’mon, let’s go!”
Holding my hand, she leads me along. Stunned by the sudden turn of events, I was taken into the haunted house of class 3-5.
From what I’ve heard, they were a force to be reckoned with. The decorations plastered on the outside walls were so horrific, that the haunted house actually looked like a slaughterhouse. The girls at the reception were also very enthusiastic, even wearing face paint that resembled scars. For a second I thought they were real.
“It’s so authentic. Even looks like an amusement park attraction,” Akina was in awe.
“It’s awesome. I’ve seen haunted houses put on display during middle school, but this is on a whole new level,” and so was I.
“I’m starting to get scared… Will we be okay?”
When she said that, I felt her hand slightly quiver.
“Could it be… that you’re not good with this kind of thing?”
“Hahaha… Yeah, I can’t stand horror. Even if it’s just someone wearing a costume, I’m 100% sure I’ll cry on the spot and freeze.”
“You’re so confident in being scared…”
“Even though I’m not good with these sorts of things, I wanted to enjoy the festival to its fullest.”
“Take it easy. Well, let’s go inside then.”
Before entering, the receptionist told me what we could expect inside, then handed me a flashlight. Just before walking through the curtain to the main attraction, Akina clutched my hand even tighter.
Pulling her along, we finally took our first step into the turned-haunted house classroom.
Although it was bright outside, no light shone through the windows at all. The only way we could see anything was with the flashlight they gave me.
The classroom was a maze of stacked desks and draped black cloths, so we had no idea where we were.
“Can we move forward?”
“Y–Yeah…” She answered with a frail voice.
I could feel Akina tremble by our touching hands. Afraid, she snuggled up to me as we were about to walk through the first turn of the maze—
A guy dressed as a zombie jumped out. His acting was convincing, yet I wasn’t particularly surprised. Though, just as I was about to walk past him, I heard Akina.
She was frozen in place, shrieking in fear. It was so dark I couldn’t see her expression clearly, but I still knew she was very scared.
“You okay, Akina? It’s only been a minute…”
“I–I–I’m f–fine!” She said that in between sniffles.
Following me with faltering steps, she was glued to my arm.
After that encounter, a sudden eerie chant began to echo around us, and an ashen-faced girl with a death costume jumped on us. I flinched just a tiny bit, while Akina screamed and hugged me.
Yeah, she’s not good with horror for sure.
And then, passing through the intricate maze built inside the classroom, we finally made it to the exit. I thought it was a relief to be in a brightly-lit room again, but she was still trembling after we’d left.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You must’ve been terrified…”
“I–I told you… I–I’m not good with horror…”
“Well, you screamed, but you didn’t cry.”
Akina squeezed my arm and even hugged me when she was scared. Yet, she didn’t shed a single tear.
“Well, it was scary, but it was a fun experience… It’s not something I get to do very often.”
“Glad you liked it, Akina, but why a haunted house in the first place? I mean, it was a great attraction, but there were a lot of other non-scary ones around.”
“It was something like a rehearsal. I was thinking that I’d like to take Shirahato-san and Rikka to an amusement park or something like that. I mean, it was an amazing haunted house, so wouldn’t one at a park be even scarier? I don’t wanna be the only one left out when they are having fun…”
“I see, you’ve got some interesting ideas in mind.”
“Interesting indeed. I don’t know when that will be, but I’ll definitely invite you too, Haru.”
“Please do. I’ve never been to an amusement park with friends before.”
“Mhm! I’m looking forward to it. So, let’s enjoy this rehearsal for the amusement park to our heart’s content, shall we? We have until lunchtime, and there are still so many places to go!”
Akina pulled my hand cheerfully, leading me along.
We walked around the beautifully decorated campus together, enjoying attractions so good they didn’t even seem like they were made by high schoolers.
Also, if you enjoyed my translation and would like to feed my caffeine addiction, click on the button below and graciously give me my fix—I mean, a cup of coffee.