and she doesn’t seem like a bad person, but…I just can’t!”
“Even just the air she gives off…Or aura? We regular citizens don’t dare to approach her.
Might even just call it a barrier.”
“I do admire her, though.
But…I can only watch from afar!”
The two sighed.
For some reason, they seem to think that they aren’t allowed to approach Suzuya without a proper reason.
“Sorry to suddenly ask you about this, Haruoka-kun.
We just heard that Suzuya-san went home with a boy, and since that never happened before, we just had to ask.
Sorry for bothering you.”
After asking everything they wanted to know, the girls left the classroom, presumably to eat lunch.
At the same time, Yousuke approached me with an eerily curious expression.
“What did I just hear? Sou, you went home with Suzuya-san yesterday? Why do I only hear about this now?!”
“Like I said before, Kazuhi was with us, and we just ate croquettes.”
“But…just having her around is pretty amazing if you ask me! And also, you should tell me about that sooner! I didn’t know about this until like a few minutes ago!”
“It’s not something that I’d have to report to you, is it?”
“What are you saying? You’ve got a top-class childhood friend with Kazuhi-chan already, and yet you’re going for another girl! Are you going for the harem ending?”
“This isn’t a gal game.
Also, Kazuhi was the one who put that entire meeting together, y’know.”
“But, imagine that! A harem end! Rather than choosing one heroine, you instead opt to make everyone happy! Isn’t that guy way too lucky? To be honest, I’m so friggin ‘jealous! What about my jealousy, huh?!”
“Shut up! You go summon some devil or evil deity and get along with them!”
As we once again exchanged mindless banter, Kazuhi pulled on my sleeve.
Her eyes were sparkling, telling me that I should be terrified for my life.
“It’s lunch break.
Time to execute stage two of our plan!”
“Right, I actually just remembered something urgent I had to do, so I’m heading home now.”
“N-No you can’t! You’re not allowed to skip classes!”
“But it’s important.
I have to look for a runaway cat.”
“E-Enough about the cat already!”
“You brought it up.”
“Aaaaaaaanyway! Lunch break.
Time to eat.
In other words, it’s the time that gives birth to love!”
“Are you high?”
“With that said, let’s move on to stage two! Lovey-dovey lunch time!”
“Like I said, fix your weird naming sense first.”
Yousuke observed my exchange with Kazuhi and then tilted his head in confusion.
“Huh? What’s this about? I heard something about lovey-dovey and plan or whatever, but…do you plan on seducing Sou? I mean, I get you’re the heroine who’s predestined to lose, but there’s no reason to give up from the start.
I know it might be hard as a loser heroine, but still…”
“What’s a loser heroine even supposed to mean?! And why did you repeat your point?!”
I really do…Being the childhood friend is almost always a losing bet, especially for a type like you who gets all the attention stolen from another heroine.
Lately, it’s all about the lively tsunderes or those with crazy attributes that take the W…A childhood friend is just cursed to lose.
I will cry for you…”
“I don’t really get what you’re talking about, but stop giving me that look of pity! A-Anyway, Sou-chan! We should go and invite Suzuya-san out to eat lunch! You usually get stuff from the school store…But I made sure to prepare a lunch box for you just for today!”
“Like I said, Suzuya and I aren’t going to happen.”
“But yesterday, we became friends with her, right? And it’s perfectly normal for friends to eat lunch together, yeah? I’m sure she’ll be happy!”
“Well…I bet it could be fun to hang out…as friends.”
“Right, right! As friends! You always start with being friends, after all!”
I don’t think we’re really on the same wavelength, but Kazuhi is showing no intention of stepping down from this.
I get it.
Let’s go over to her class.”
“Phew…A flower in both hands, eh? Just go and explode, you damn normie.”
“The hell are you on about? You’re coming with us, Yousuke.”
If I actually eat lunch with two girls, one of them being Suzuya no less, then the boys will come to assassinate me.
I need him to come with us.
“Huh? Well, I’m pretty jealous of your position, but I’m supposed to be the best friend character who can read the mood.
I’m not such a brute to invade your joyful lunchtime with the heroine.
Because we friend characters have a line we can’t cross no matter what!”
“Stop thinking like this is some gal game! Wake up! This is reality!”
“Sou-chan! If we don’t hurry, our lunch break is gonna end!”
I wanted to give Yousuke some more piece of my mind, but Kazuhi just dragged me to Suzuya’s classroom.
“You’d like to eat lunch together? Of course, I would be delighted.”
Despite the sudden invitation, Suzuya seemed more than happy and agreed.
As before, I could hear the faint mumbling of her classmates.
“Eating lunch with Suzuya-san…?!”
“I’m so…so jealous…!”
But of course, Kazuhi didn’t mind that in the slightest.
“Suzuya-san, where would you like to eat? We can choose an empty classroom, or the courtyard, even.
It’s pleasant outside today.”
“Well…I always eat on the rooftop, so why don’t we head there?”
“You always eat on the rooftop? But, the door’s locked, right?”
“Actually, I have the key for it.” Suzuya took out a key from her pocket.
“I enjoy watching sceneries from high places, so I asked my father to talk with our teacher and provide one for me.”
As expected of a rich lady.
The special treatment is no joke.
And with that decided, we headed for the rooftop to eat lunch together.
Since this place was usually off-limits for us regular students, I’d actually never stepped through the steel door before.
But when that door opened, I was greeted by what felt like an endless blue sky.
The scorching sunlight worried me that I might break out in a sweat in seconds, but sitting in the shadows was actually a lot more comfortable than I thought.
And personally, I like the sky during summer.
I just can’t deal with the heat.
The blue sky, even clouds filling it, it just feels like a season full of virtue.
Right next to the door, we spotted a single plastic chair.
I’m guessing this is where Suzuya would usually spend her time, eating lunch or reading a book.
“Ah, you’ve got a chair for yourself, Suzuya-san? Since I figured we’d eat in the courtyard, I brought a picnic sheet with me.”
“Really? Then I’d prefer that.
Eating like it’s a picnic sounds fun.”
We placed the sheet on the rooftop floor, placing our lunch on top of that.
It does feel like a picnic.
By the way, Suzuya’s lunch box had several layers.
In terms of size, it was something even a girl like her could eat just fine, but everything about it looked so luxurious and extravagant.
She really is playing the role of a rich lady perfectly.
If you see anything you like, feel free to grab a piece, Suzuya-san.” Kzuhi opened the lid of her lunch box, which was a tad bit bigger than usual.
“The rice balls are filled with pickled plums and katsuoboshi1 and mayonnaise with tuna.
As an additional dish, I have mini hamburger steaks, rolled omelet, octopus wieners, rolled cabbage with bacon…”
The menu itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but that’s what made it feel so reassuring to have.
Each of the individual dishes looked absolutely delicious, but the play of colors and positioning created a painting that made just looking at it exciting.
“Wow…You made this, Amagase-san? You must be such a good cook.”
“Hehe…I actually worked really hard, hoping that you’d try some of the things.”
“The rolled omelet looks especially delicious.
Would you mind if I took one?”
“Not at all! But…just wait a moment!”
Stopping Suzuya, Kazuhi raised her index finger with a smug face.
“Tadaaaa! It’s fortune-telling time!”
“And for this long-haired beauty, I have just the thing! If you and someone else feed each other today, you’ll find happiness!”
“That’s not fortune-telling…”
“It is! The legendary fortune teller Kazuhitina said so!”
“Did you get infected by Yousuke’s nonsense?”
“It sounds interesting.
I just have to feed someone with my food, right?”
“That’s right! Just push it onto them!”
Open wide, Amagase-san.” Suzuya smiled as she pushed a piece of food in the direction of Kazuhi.
“Ah…Um, Suzuya-san, you shouldn’t be doing that with me…”
“Like I said, I’m not the…”
“Aaaaaah,” Suzuya said as she smiled, showing determination to not back down from this.
Meanwhile, Kazuhi hesitated for a moment, but eventually broke and opened her mouth.
“How is it? My trusted cook made it for me.”
“Y-Yeah, it’s delicious…!” Kazuhi chewed on the food, observed by Suzuya.
“Hee hee…How adorable.
Your fortune-telling was right, I feel incredibly happy right now…”
I feel like I could see white flowers growing behind them.
Seeing two girls eating lunch like this…tickles me jimmies.
“But now, it’s your turn, Amagase-san.
Go and feed Haruoka-kun.”
“Wha…Huh?! Wh-What are you talking about?!”
“Hm? Did I say something weird? If we’re going in order, that should be next, no? I just fed you, after all.
So now, you should feed Haruoka-kun.”
“Wh-Why would things turn out this way?! That makes no sense!”
“Why wouldn’t they? We’re all eating lunch here.
Or do you plan on making Haruoka-kun feel like an outcast?”
“N-No! Not at all! In fact, I’m doing this for his sake…”
“Then I think you should feed Haruoka-kun now.
It’s the order of things, and you can’t break the rules.”
That explanation…sounded a bit iffy at best, but Kazuhi went quiet and mumbled something under her breath.
“…I-If this is the order then…Sou-chan will have to feed you after I’m done?”
“O-Okay! Sou-chan!” Kazuhi grabbed a small hamburger steak with her chopsticks and carried it to my mouth.
And with a troubled but equally embarrassed look in her eyes, cheeks red, she tilted her head.
“H-Hurry up and open your mouth…!”
You say that, but let me just organize my thoughts.
She must feel embarrassed at doing this in public because her hands were starting to shake.
What even is this messy situation? If you’re so embarrassed, then just don’t do it?!
“H-Hey, can you please? Hurry…Ouch?!”
As she began to shake more violently, I gave her a light chop on the head.
“Wh-What was that for?!”
“Nothing here makes sense.
And I’m not doing it.”
“No way! I tried so hard, though…!”
“Like I care.
Sorry about this, Suzuya.
She’s just at that age,” I spoke like her parents, forcing Kazuhi to lower her head, as she growled like a scolded puppy.
In fact, I think it’s adorable.” Suzuya snickered.
Like this, the whole feeding fortune-telling was canceled, and we simply started eating our respective lunches.
The air was pleasant, with no love nonsense around, which allowed us to have a chill lunch, only for Kazuhi to once again bring up another topic.
“S-Still…it’s almost summer break, right?!”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“It’s summer! The season for passion and romance! The season of excitement!”
“Ah…So, what about it?” I asked.
“I was thinking that maybe you two should hang out somewhere.
Like an amusement park or the aquarium!”
“Oh my, that sounds wonderful! We three should definitely go somewhere!”
“I-I…I’m actually going to Hawaii this summer break! So I don’t think I could join you.”
“First time I heard of that, y’know?”
“I-I just told you! I’m gonna be real busy this summer break! I won’t have much time to hang around with you guys!”
“Yet another blatant lie! And didn’t you say you’d be watching a movie with friends?!”
“Huh? Ah, hm…?”
“Oh my, really? What movie is it?”
Suzuya asked Kazuhi with stars in her eyes, but she grew flustered.
What is she even doing?
“It’s the one with the heroine who only has a few years to live.
The tearjerker one.”
“Oh, I see.
Yeah, they regularly release movies like that.”
“You like those, Suzuya? Not trying to bash your taste, but personally, I don’t get the appeal behind it.”
I’m sure it’s related to taste and interests, but when dealing with entertainment, it has to distract me from the real world.
I don’t see the point if I feel like crap after watching something depressing.
“Well, tragedies are used frequently when it comes to storytelling.
Look at ‘The Little Mermaid,’ for example.
It doesn’t have to be an incurable disease to still create an oppressive yet beautiful conclusion.”
“That’s fine and dandy, but I just prefer happy endings.”
“Well, I’m sure there’s a lot of people like that.
But…what exactly would you define as a happy ending?”
“In these types of movies, one person dies, whereas the lover continues to live on.
For example…the protagonist loses the girl he loves, but he ends up together with another girl and lives a happy life.
Could you call that a happy ending?”
“That…might be a happy ending for the protagonist, but don’t you feel bad for the girl who died?”
“Then what if that girl who passed away wishes for the protagonist to be happy with someone other than her?”
“Hm…It’s definitely not a bad ending, but I don’t think the audience would enjoy that very much.”
Looking at this from the perspective of a movie, I personally would want the protagonist to stay with the first girl.
To always keep living that girl instead.
“Holding feelings for the girl who died until the end of time definitely has a beautiful ring to it, but it’s quite cruel, don’t you think? Rather than suffer forever by thinking about the person you’ve lost, it would be best to be together with someone else and live the rest of your life happily, no? They may have lost their lover, and feel pain at that fact, but they overcame that and became happy with someone else.
Isn’t that much better than a story ending with nothing but loss?”
“That’s true…But we’re talking about a movie, right? If you’re going with another girl, then it renders the point of the first lover pointless.
It makes her less special.”
I’m not adhering to fate or destiny or any of that.
But becoming lovers means that you’ve become special to each other, so just casting a loved one aside to pick another person…just feels so depressing.
It’s like the bonds between the two of them weren’t all that deep, to begin with.
“But because this first lover existed…Because there was something to be lost, it equally grants something special by having met.”
A summer breeze passed us by, as Kazuhi and Suzuya’s hair shook.
Like a ripple, almost.
However, that quickly subsided, as everything went back to normal.
“…But, that’s enough.
Sorry to bore you with my hypotheticals.
I just remembered a movie I’d watched some time ago, so I wanted to discuss that with you.”
“It wasn’t boring or anything.
I just realized that there are a lot of viewpoints to be had.
And that explains why Kazuhi enjoys these sorts of movies so much.”
When it comes to a sad movie, she likes that it makes you think about life itself.
That each person in the movies has a different way of dealing with or handling the inevitable end of death.
Kazuhi hadn’t participated in this conversation up to this point, and yet when I called out to her, she froze up for a moment.
It’s like her thoughts just stopped.
“What’s that reaction about? You love tearjerkers, right?”
“Huh? Uh…Well, I don’t…really like them so much, no.”
“What? Not too long ago, you said you liked them.”
“A-Ahaha…Well, a maiden’s heart is ever-changing!”
“What the heck does that mean?”
“I mean…well…” She showed a smile devoid of her usual radiance, as she gripped her hands together into fists on her lap, muttering.
“…A sudden death like that is just…unreasonable, right?”
I don’t know why, but I felt like an emotion I’d never seen on Kazuhi was mixed in with her voice.
She’s my childhood friend who’s always been with me, and yet she’s not like herself lately.
Even that dejected profile of hers, it’s like I’m talking to a complete stranger.
I don’t like feeling this distance between us.
And I didn’t know how to respond to those words.
Panicking, I rushed to get the usual Kazuhi back and spoke up.
“…The summer festival.”
“We promised we’d go there together, right?”
“I haven’t forgotten.
So don’t say you’re off to Hawaii or whatever.”
“It’s a promise.
We’ll go together this summer.
I didn’t even understand why I was saying this.
And why I tried to force this point home so badly.
But, I felt restless, like I had to say it now or regret it forever.
“…Don’t go anywhere, Kazuhi.”
Summer is supposed to be the season of life and vigor.
The season of shining light and virtue.
In return, the shadows it creates become stronger.
The contrast between the endless blue sky above us and the shadow of the tower we sat behind was so beautiful…that it honestly gave me the creeps.
And despite what I’ve said, Kazuhi didn’t respond.
She just showed a troubled, somewhat saddened smile.
Without returning anything, she looked toward Suzuya instead.
I think you should come with us to the summer festival!”
“Huh? No, I’m okay.
I wouldn’t want to get in the way…”
“You’re not getting in the way of anything! So…please?” Kazuhi took Suzuya’s hand as she pushed her face closer, sounding like she was pleading.
“I want you to come with us…I really mean it.”
I don’t know why Kazuhi was so desperate for this, and Suzuya shouldn’t know, either.
But, she was probably overwhelmed by Kazuhi’s request that she smiled faintly and nodded.
I’ll think about it.”
That day, once classes had ended, I called out to Suzuya, who was preparing to head home.
She turned around, and her eyes, shaped like black gems, looked at me.
It felt like the atmosphere around us changed simply because of that.
Her presence is no joke, as always.
“There’s something I wanna talk about.
Think we can go home together?”
“Oh my, without Amagase-san?”
I asked her to let me walk home with just Suzuya, and she agreed obediently.
It’s okay if you don’t want it to be just the two of us.”
She might just have a certain level of resistance toward walking home with just a boy.
I regretted asking her this bluntly, but she showed no signs of hating it.
“No, I don’t mind.
Let’s go home together, Haruoka-kun.”
We stood next to each other and started walking down the hallway.
Until a few days ago, I would have never imagined something like this.
But after talking to Suzuya once, I realized that she’s easy to talk to, so I don’t feel nervous anymore…Well, the gazes of jealousy and killing intent coming from our classmates did hurt a bit, but that’s beside the point.
We walked through the school gate, and after confirming that nobody was around us, I cut into the main reason I invited her.
“Suzuya…what do you think of Kazuhi?”
“I think she’s adorable, and I do like her quite a bit.”
“Oh…Maybe I was in the way all this time?”
“That’s not exactly what I meant, but you could take it that way.”
“Which is it…? But, anyway, I’m glad she’s not being a bother, at least.”
“Hee hee, were you worried that I was just thinking of Amagase-san as a weird person?” Suzuya grinned at me, having seen through all of it.
“I mean…Something’s been off about her lately.
I can’t tell what she’s thinking.
I want to help her, but she won’t tell me what’s on her mind.
I was wondering what you thought about all that.”
“Yeah, I realized there’s something going on.
She seems awfully desperate to get us both together.”
“…Guess it was pretty obvious.”
“But in reality, there’s no way she would actually want us to start dating.”
“More importantly, I’m a bit curious, assuming there’s an actual reason.
She doesn’t tell you anything?”
She’s always so…squishy and above the clouds, but she can be a bit stubborn.
And once she’s decided on something, she won’t tell me no matter what.”
“I see…It must be something she desperately doesn’t want to tell anybody.
But in that case, we shouldn’t force it out of her.
But leaving her to deal with it by herself isn’t an option, either…We should carefully watch over her to not pressure her either, as we create an atmosphere that would make it easier for her to bring it up…? Or maybe I should introduce her to a place with delicious food, so that she can forget some of the stress weighing down on her…” Suzuya mumbled to herself with a serious expression.
To my surprise, she took this much more seriously than I thought.
“Ah, well, I was just admiring how serious you were.”
“Why would I not be? She’s my…very first friend.”
As I thought, you’re such a kind—Wait, first?”
“Yes,” she nodded and continued like she was confessing something.
“I…never had any friends up to now.”
“You? For real?”
If it was anybody else, I probably wouldn’t have reacted the same way.
The only real two friends I have are my childhood friend Kazuhi and that weirdo Yousuke, after all.
I don’t think that the more friends the better, either.
But…Suzuya’s, well, Suzuya.
She’s rich, admired by everyone, and like a school idol—That’s who Suzuya Hotaru is.
And hearing that the person at the center of attention has no friends…surprised me.
“Do you think I’m lying? Well, do you know any friends of mine?”
When she says it like that, I really can’t think of anybody.
It’s true that everybody admires her, but at the same time…whenever I see her outside of class, she’s usually reading a book or admiring the scenery outside the window.
I never see her with anybody else.
But since she always looked like a drawn painting, I failed to see that as weird.
“I bet I’m hard to talk to.
Like I build a wall between myself and the people around me.
I can’t get inside the circles of people in the class.
Because they get nervous when I’m there.”
I could sense a feeling of loneliness from her dropped gaze.
Maybe Suzuya…was a lot more lonely than I assumed she was.
“Suzuya…” I didn’t know what I should say, seeing her speak in such a self-deprecating manner.
“Basically, I’m what they would call a loner.”
“I don’t think you need to go that far, really.”
“But I found this word online, so I wanted to use it at least once.”
“Are you some kid in elementary school who heard a cool word online and chooses to use it all day?!”
It felt like all the tension escaped my shoulders.
The serious mood had completely vanished.
“I swear, you’re talking nonsense.
How could anybody feel stiff and nervous with you around.”
“Hee hee, thanks.
But, I’m pretty sure that’s because you’re here with me.”
“Like I said before, that one exchange you had with Kusama-kun I witnessed really stuck with me.”
“Oh yeah, right.”
She mentioned something like that at one point.
Saying I offered to help (?) Yousuke after he was getting scolded by a teacher again.
“Just as I stated earlier, I don’t have any friends.
That’s why I felt a bit jealous watching the two of you banter back and forth.”
The hell is she talking about? What could be so heartwarming about an argument between me and that occult freak?
“You call each other idiots, but actually don’t feel that way in the slightest.
Just spending your days, causing a ruckus and laughing…That kind of distance and relationship is something I never got to experience.
Doing stupid things together, laughing about the smallest things.
I had no friends to do these things with, so watching you like that felt so…dazzling.
“…No, don’t mind me.
Anyway, it’s because of these things that I found myself interested in you.”
“It’s an honor to hear you say that, but I’m not some amazing superhuman, y’know?”
“You don’t have to be so modest about it.
You’re a wonderful person.”
“You’re exaggerating, you loner rich lady.”
“…Hehe, did you say something just now?” She may have smiled while saying that, but she emitted a dense and ominous pressure as she held onto my shirt.
“You just said it yourself, right?!”
“Saying it yourself and being told are two different things.
I’m allowed to call myself a loner, but you are not.
You need a punishment.”
“You’re some sadist, I swear.
You’re probably more of a loner queen, then.”
“And yet you continue to make fun of me like this.
I wonder if you have slight masochistic tendencies?” She kept holding on to my shirt—and then burst out laughing.
“…Haha,” She snickered loudly, as her shoulders quivered.
“I see…This is how those mundane exchanges work.”
See, I knew you could do it.”
“…And again, it’s because you’re here with me.
You don’t hold back around me.
The wall I feel between myself and others…feels a lot thinner with you.”
“But then you should be able to do the same with others.
I’m nobody special.
Isn’t it just a routine and getting used to it? I know I might just be meddling with your business, but if you think people struggle to approach you, then why don’t you take the first step? Anybody would be happy to talk to you, and once you open up a bit, it’ll bring more and more people in because they realize how easy it is to talk to you.”
“…Easy to talk to? Me?” She looked at me in surprise, tilting her head.
Once you break through the initial wall, it’s pretty easy to chat with you.”
Ah, she’s happy about that one.
She’s even grinning a bit, and her face is red.
“…A-Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand.
We were discussing Amagase-san, right?”
“Right…Well, if you didn’t hear anything from her, then I’ll just be on the watch for a while.
If she really doesn’t want to tell us, then I’d feel bad forcing it out of her.”
It’s still a mystery as to why she’s so desperate to get both of us together, and if she’s in pain, then I wouldn’t want to leave her alone…But I have to say, the way she gets flustered all the time is quite adorable.”
“I knew it! You’re so into yuri, and you’d definitely be the dominant queen!”
“She’s got such an abundance of reactions and expressions, which makes her incredibly easy to see through.
And that being the case, she’s quite straightforward, too.”
“She sucks at lying, yeah.
And yet, she keeps on hiding things.
“You really treasure Amagase-san, I see.”
She’s my childhood friend.”
“Hehe…I’m a bit jealous.”
“And that’s how much you’ve come to like Kazuhi?”
“Oh my, you’re not even considering that I might hold affection towards you and feel jealousy toward Amagase-san?”
“No worries, I’m not so much of a narcissist.”
“I think you’re just looking down on yourself a tad bit too much.
A bit of conceit never hurt a soul.”
“Huh? What are you…”
Suzuya suddenly moved closer to me, as her black hair swayed, her sweet scent drifting up to my nose.
She stuffed something she held between her fingers into my mouth, touching my lips to forcefully close them.
Immediately after, the salty taste of a sweet candy filled my mouth.
“It’s a konpeito2 I bought at the sweets store before,” she smiled and gave me an explanation as her index finger still touched my lips.
“Hehe, I tried the fortune-telling Amagase-san mentioned this afternoon.
It might not be lunch, but it should be in the margin of error.
That being said…” She then moved her index finger on her own lips.
“Shhh…Keep this a secret from Amagase-san, okay?” She said and gave me a wink.
Her expression had an emotion mixed with a seductive woman and a little child who just succeeded in pulling off a joke, which made my heart skip a beat.
“I’ve been a loner this whole time, so having a ‘Shared secret’ was something I had always admired.”
Because I was scared of the crazy electricity bill, I layed on my bed in my dark room, with the AC barely running, as I gazed up at the ceiling.
It was currently 8pm, and I wasn’t sleepy in the slightest, but I also had nothing really on my agenda.
Instead, I was thinking stuff such as “Girls are so complicated!”, acting like I was a teenager…Well, I am in high school, so that’s exactly what I was, but still.
A sigh left my lips as I scratched my head when my phone vibrated.
And it wasn’t just a regular message, but an incoming call.
Swiping on the screen, I realized that the person calling me was one of the two individuals I had been thinking about this whole time.
“Kazuhi? What’s up, calling me like this?”
“Can you look outside the window right now?”
I listened to the order given to me, got up from the bed, and opened the window.
It wasn’t completely dark outside, as a bit of heat remained.
On the opposite wall was also a window, opened just as mine, with Kazuhi poking her head outside.
“Hee hee, sorry about this.
I just wanted to ask you something while looking at your face.”
“Ask me something?”
Granted, we weren’t exceptionally far away, but because it was fairly late, we chose to keep talking on the phone.
Can’t bother the neighbors.
“You walked home with Suzuya-san today, right? What happened, what happened?!”
“Now listen here…Nothing much ha…” I spoke that far, only to remember her white finger touching my lip, which had me stuttering.
“Huh?! What was that short break about?! Something must have happened, right?!”
“I’m saying it didn’t! I swear, something’s not right with you lately.
You weren’t like this before.”
“You…think so? I’m just me, really.
I’m not a different person.”
“Then…Ah, I know!”
“My ‘precious self,’ or however you wanna call it…what was I like? What image do you have of me?”
“What were you like…?”
Kazuhi looked at me, desperate for an answer.
Despite our windows open, our home’s so close, we wouldn’t be able to reach each other no matter how far we stretched out our arms…I wonder why.
Maybe it’s because the summer nights always make you feel melancholic, but…I’m feeling so empty right now.
And at the same time, a certain image popped up in my head.
“…A field with sunflowers.”
“Ah, well…I just remembered that field of sunflowers we went to when we were kids.”
Why do I remember that now? It’s a mystery.
However, when she asked me for my image of her, that’s what came to my mind.
That smile she showed me back then, it’s just so…great, really.
“We went to that sunflower field at one point, right? I don’t really remember why we even went there, though…”
Memories sure are weird.
Like the bubbles of ramune.
That’s why I don’t even remember the date or the exact location.
I just remember the clear blue sky, and that smile, like it was burned into my retinas.
“Ah…Back then? When we were in third grade, we came to that field because Yousuke-kun talked about there being a witch in the town next to ours.
That’s why we went there to look for it!”
“Right…he was always completely crazy about occult stuff.”
That sure takes me back.
I remember it now.
Back then, Yousuke came to me and said “Listen to this, Yousuke! There’s a rumor going around about a witch who came here from another world! Don’t you wanna go meet her?! I bet you do! Let’s all go see her together!” He really has not changed since then, I swear…
“But on the day we promised to meet, Yousuke-kun had eaten too much ice and was stuck at home.
That’s why we went there as just the two of us.
We never even went to that town before, so it felt like an adventure! And while we walked around there, a ribbon came drifting down from the sky.
You found it, remember? We ran after it, and then eventually encountered that sunflower field.”
I think I wrapped that ribbon around your wrist…”
It was a single ribbon.
Since the sky was clear and blue, that red ribbon stood out to me, and after picking it up, I gave it to Kazuhi.
“Hee hee, I still have that ribbon even now.”
“Yeah, I think you’re still wearing it as a bracelet from time to time, right? Why are you even keeping this still? You could just throw it away considering how old it is.”
“Whaaat? No way! I can’t just throw away things I got from other people.”
“It’s just some old thing I didn’t even buy, you know.”
I only happened to pick it up and wrapped it around her wrist.
“Honestly, looking for a witch only to end up at a field of sunflowers sure is weird.
And of course, we couldn’t find this witch, instead getting scolded by Mom and Dad when we got home…But, that day was a lot of fun for me.”
That’s what happened.”
The memories of that distant day were hazy, but I remember chasing after that idiotic something, only to come back with empty hands.
But in return, I received a beautiful image of the scenery and that alluring smile.
Then, I happened to remember what Suzuya told me before.
Even if you lose your loved one, assuming you can spend the rest of your life with someone else, it can still be regarded as a happy end.
It’s a bit different from that, but by sacrificing something, we obtained something else.
It’s a substitute or even a high-level exchange.
“…Now I’m feeling nostalgic.
Back then, I actually believed in this witch.”
“But not anymore, huh?”
“Rather than that…I’m sure that magic isn’t anything particularly special.”
“What’s really special is this mundane time we spend with the people we care about.”
“…Hey, what happened? You’re suddenly sounding like a philosopher.”
Summer nights like these are what turns a maiden into a philosopher.”
“That makes no sense.”
“…Don’t worry about it.
Sorry to call you out of the blue like this.
Good night, Sou-chan,” Kazuhi hung up and closed the window, pulling the curtains close.
I gazed at my phone and then mumbled to myself.
“…There’s no way nothing’s going on, you dunce.”
While gazing up at the blue sky, two girls were at the top of my mind.
One of them is the girl I’ve always been together with, and the other is one I recently got acquainted with.
I’m not a hero who goes around saving girls.
I can’t appear in their time of need as a knight in shining armor to save them from their predicament.
So if being cool and calm doesn’t work, then I just have to be an idiot and force those two to smile.
“Sou! I brought what you asked me for! We’re doing that, right?!”
Classes had ended for the day.
And right on cue, Yousuke came to my desk carrying a large sports bag, despite not being part of any sports club.
“Thanks a bunch…But, where did you even keep this? I don’t remember you carrying this around today.”
“I placed it in the occult club’s clubroom when I came to school this morning.
Sure caught me by surprise, asking to bring these babies with me.”
“I remembered you saying that you bought these back in middle school.
I had some at my own place, but nearly not enough.”
“Sooo…I was helpful this time, right? In other words, this would be the perfect time for you to praise me!”
Damn, he’s as noisy as always.
But since he actually did well today.
I don’t mind praising you…”
“Assuming you can win against me, that is,” I said and pulled the trigger of the object in my hand.
Immediately after, a stream came shooting out of the muzzle—consisting of water.
“Mgh?! What was that for, Sou?! Surprise attacks don’t count! You can’t just shoot me with my holy rife!”
“Your smug face was just getting on my nerves.
Also, this isn’t a holy rifle, it’s a water gun!”
That’s right, I asked Yousuke to bring some water guns with him.
“Hah! So you’re declaring war on me?! Fine, I’ll use my protective spirit power to strike you down!” He grinned and fired off his own water gun.
However, it was a bit different from mine.
What he held was something akin to a water machine gun.
It was a lot bigger and could fit a greater volume of water, giving him the advantage:
“Now hold on.
That’s not fair! Also, first, you have the devil’s powers, then you’re shooting holy water, and now you have protective spirit power…What do you even believe in?!”
“It’s totally fair! It’s my power, after all.
Also, I’m friends with both devils and spirits, so…Here I come! Holy water attack!”
He fired off his water machine gun.
And paired with the severe pressure, he could even fire off several shots after another.
I managed to evade one, but my seat ended up completely drenched.
Our classmates were already causing a ruckus, too.
“How’s this?! Want some of my power?!”
“That’s not your power, it’s the water machine gun!”
“Sou-chan, Yousuke-kun, what are you up to?”
Kazuhi had returned after she previously left the room to talk to Suzuya.
“Ah, perfect timing.
You come join us, Kazuhi.”
I turned toward Kazuhi, throwing my water gun at her.
She seemed flustered for a moment, but somehow managed to catch it.
Then I grabbed a new one from the bag Yousuke brought…Holy smokes, he had this many?! And they were already filled with water, too.
That must have been heavy as all hell.
I thanked Yousuke only in my mind, as I grinned confidently.
For the next thirty minutes, we’re gonna shoot at each other, and the one who’s the least wet by the end is the winner.
We’re allowed to move everywhere in this school, but if you get caught by a teacher…then you’re immediately disqualified.
Aaand…go!” I moved my water gun and pointed it at Kazuhi.
However, through spending all this time together, she apparently could read my movement quite too easily, as she evaded the shot with a smirk, saying “I figured you’d do that!”
“That’s a bit sudden, but I’m game! I can tell what you’re thinning, Sou-chan!”
“Hmph, I wonder how long you can be so confident? The game has already started.”
“Understood! All right, time to get fired up and win this thing, indeed!”
“What roleplay is this now? You talk like a weirdo.”
Look at her being this excited.
Well, she easily gets fired up for these things, always participating in nonsense like this.
“I’m joining in, you two! Eat this!”
Following that was merciless water machine gun fire.
Watching our battle begin, our classmates now cheered like they were watching a sports event.
That being said, Yousuke’s water machine gun is way too strong.
I figured it’d be better to wait for an attack when he’s out of water, so I escaped from the classroom.
I looked for a place to hide, when I ran down the stairs, looking for another possible participant.
Luckily, I found just the perfect individual.
“Suzuya! Great timing!”
The girl’s beautiful blonde hair swayed as she turned around.
I ran down the stairs to where she had just passed.
“Oh my, Haruoka-kun.
Were you looking for me?”
Let’s have some time together,” I said and threw the water gun at her.
She panicked a moment but somehow managed to catch it.
At the same time, Yousuke appeared from the top of the stairs.
“Found you, Sou…You better be rea—Wait, you’re inviting Suzuya-san?! No way! I can’t shoot her! I don’t have the courage to do that!”
“Like hell I care about that.
If you’re not gonna shoot, you’ll get shot.
This whole school is a battlefield.”
“Dawww, that sounded so cool! I wanted to say that! But then again, I kinda wanna see Suzuya-san get all drenched!”
“I’m impressed you have the guts to say that in front of her…”
Pretty sure that requires greater courage than shooting her with a water gun.
Being subconsciously evil like that just sounds even nastier.
“…Hm, I see.
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but I’m down.” Suzuya had finished listening to our conversation, as she ran her hand through her hair, smiling.
“Basically, I just have to beat you up completely?”
Not expecting Suzuya to approach him, Yousuke got splashed right in the face by a large shot, as he groaned.
“Hmph! I can’t sit still when there’s a devil user this close by! Eat this! Holy water!”
Seriously, spirit power or devil user, can you pick one? I mean, he’s using holy water against the devil, so he’s…not technically…wrong…? Anyway, he fired off his water machine gun.
However, Suzuya faintly moved her body, like she was dancing almost, to evade the incoming attack.
And while doing so, she fired off her own water gun twice.
Both of those beautifully hit Yousuke.
“Holy smokes! How are you so good?!”
Then again, dealing with such a perfect beauty like her, I should have expected this outcome.
And as our battle continued to escalate, we got more and more attention from the other students.
“What’s going on? What are they doing?”
“It’s Kusama from class 4.
The famous weirdo, he’s up to something.”
Funnily enough, Yousuke was being treated as a weirdo even by people from other classes.
However, he didn’t bother much with their bothered expressions, as he used the water guns inside the sports bag hanging from his shoulder to fire off endless amounts of water mercilessly.
“Hehehe! If you wanna join in, then be my guest! I’ve got all these weapons here! And right now, I’m the history’s strongest devil user and dealer of forbidden arms!”
He kept blabbering about confusing stuff while striking a cringe pose, which led the people around us to mutter among themselves even further.
However, when I paid attention to it, I realized that more people were being interested in it rather than simply shunning Yousuke.
“I don’t really get what’s going on, but this looks fun.”
“That weirdo Kusama’s involved, right? You should stay away from that.”
“I mean…it doesn’t seem too bad.
And it feels like…it’s youth.”
“What are you on about?”
“I don’t like Kusama being involved, but…Suzuya-san’s participating, so…”
“I wanna try it, too! Especially since it’s so hot today!”
Thus, all the people wishing to participate grabbed water guns from Yousuke’s repertoire.
“Sou, we’re running low!”
Since more people than expected wanted to participate, we quickly ran out of water guns.
That’s why I breathed in and then declared in a loud voice.
“Everyone’s free to participate in this battle! You come at us as you like! Since we’re out of water guns, you can grab water bottles or buckets! However, no violence! And now throwing things at other people!”
I’m not a weirdo like Yousuke, so standing out like this is honestly more embarrassing than anything.
However, I have to do it.
Better this way than doing something half-baked and regretting it later.
In these cases, it’s much more convenient to just be another idiot in the system.
The students all around me seemed to agree, as they raised their fists into the air, reading their water guns.
Others grabbed water bottles with water.
Since this school is fairly communal, they’re all up for fooling around like this.
Then again, Suzuya the school idol participating must be a huge part, too.
If it was just Yousuke and me, we probably would have gotten ignored.
“Hahaha! You normal folks can group up as much as you want, you can’t beat me!” Yousuke still had water left in his gun and fired it at his surroundings.
I could hear screams, colored in laughter and joy.
“That’s no fair!”
“Everyone! Let’s gang up on him!”
“Haha! You won’t defeat me this easily! I will show you how the occult club handles things, and create a legend for myself!”
Everyone began targeting Yousuke simultaneously, as Suzuya turned around and ran away.
“Suzuya? You not gonna join in?”
However, I need to replenish my ammunition.”
“Ah, you need water.”
But once I’m recharged, we can continue our battle…”
“You’re brimming with excitement, eh? Sounds good, I’ll face you head-on!”
“Hehe…When we next meet, we’ll be enemies.
And I will be the one to pierce your heart.”
“You’re getting a bit too excited, no?!” I screamed in terror as I watched her run off.
“Hey now, I won’t make it that easy for you.”
We both replenished our water and stood face-to-face in the hallway.
We’re heavily limited on ammunition here.
Once one person is out, they’ll be done for.
So, while facing each other, we carefully shot at each other and evaded the incoming water.
Right now, only our shoulders and legs were wet, but we didn’t suffer any severe injuries.
Suzuya pulled the trigger, but she was out of water.
Probably used up too much.
“Outta ammunition, eh? Wanna surrender?”
“Oh, please…You’re so naive, Haruoka-kun.”
Suzuya showed a confident smirk, as she moved her hand to faintly lift up her skirt.
Through this, she revealed her thighs, but what was further above thankfully stayed hidden.
And on her white thigh, I could see a water bottle tied to through the usage of a thread.
Normally, that would stick out quite a bit, but because she kept it on the back of her thigh, I couldn’t see it until now.
“…I mean, I understand the need for more ammunition during battle, but did you really have to place it there?”
Her waist or inside her bag would have been more than enough.
“But keeping ammunition on your garter belt is perfectly normal, right? At least that’s how they do in the movies, so I wanted to replicate that.”
“It’s always the same.
Watching an action movie? You get weapons stuck to a garter belt.
A deadly disease? Someone’s writing a will.
Isekai reincarnation? Cheats.
It is the way things work.”
“I get the action and disease thing…but you’re even knowledgeable when it comes to isekai reincarnation?! You’re a bigger nerd than I thought!”
“I am a specialist when it comes to isekai reincarnation,” Suzuya showed a confident smirk as she filled up her water gun.
In the meantime, I stood still and let her do exactly that.
After all, the hero is currently undergoing his transformation scene, so it’d be against the law for me to attack her.
I’d just be a party pooper if I used this opening, and it’s also a way for me to repay her for the delicious sight of her thighs.
“Now, Haruoka-kun…I guess this would be the time for the shocking turnaround?” Suzuya finished refilling her water gun as she showed a devilish grin and pointed the muzzle at me.
And right at that moment, I spotted Kazuhi creeping up to Suzuya behind her back.
She was probably either fighting Yousuke up to this point, or maybe even another student, as she didn’t catch on to us yet, holding the water gun while looking around.
However, she eventually saw us and attempted to run away.
It’s almost like she was saying that she wanted to give us some alone time together.
However, I wouldn’t let her, calling her name.
“You help me! We’ll fight Suzuya together.”
“No, no, no.
You’re going to fight with me, right? We’ll get you all drenched, Haruoka-kun.”
“No, no, no.
She’ll side with me.
And then you’ll be crying for more ammunition for my water gun!”
Kazuhi narrowed her eyes with a worried gaze, looking between the two of us.
What’s that face about? Hey, this isn’t like you.
You should have more fun.
Go wild and crazy, as you laugh to your heart’s content.
That’s what we’re all about, right?
Suzuya and I spoke up at the same time and smiled.
“Let’s play together!”
We stopped in our tracks, turning towards Kazuhi, who wanted to run away.
And then, we offered our hands to her.
For a split second, she looked like she was on the verge of breaking out in tears.
But she then formed a fist in front of her chest, and looked down once.
When she looked up again—she smiled.
“I…I won’t side with either of you! After all, I am…” She struck a cool pose to the point I could see a sound effect popping up behind her like in a manga.
“I am equality! I am an advocate of peace! The super hero of justice!”
“Ah, Croquette Man’s back.”
“It definitely is Croquette Man.”
“How many more times do we have to repeat this same joke?!”
“It’s because you called yourself a superhero.”
“Th-That’s true, but I don’t have croquettes with me right now! I have a water gun, so I’m Water Gun Man!”
“That’s so hard to say.
I’ll just stick with Croquette Man.”
“I was denied right away?! A-Anyway, a hero of justice will take even fooling around like this seriously! I’ll go all out! That’s why, no holding back, Sou-chan, Suzuya-san!” She instantly ran toward us, as Suzuya readied herself.
“Hee hee, it won’t be that easy for you…”
Seeing Kazuhi scream that with a serious face, Suzuya burst out laughing.
Unable to bear with it, she held her stomach as she continued to writhe in laughter and agony, as Kazuhi’s shot of water hit her right in the face.
“I did it! I defeated Suziya!”
“W-Wait…That was…against the rules!” Her face was beet red as she continued to laugh endlessly.
“Now it’s your turn, Sou-chan!”
Come at me, Kazuhi.”
I dodged the Croquette Beam, firing a stream of water at her.
Unable to evade that, the collar of her uniform ended up drenched as she shrieked.
You’re ten years too early to think you can beat me.”
“Y-You only grazed my upper uniform! This is where the real battle starts!”
We pointed our water guns at each other, taking positions.
Right after, we heard footsteps approaching us.
They must have been running from another fight because they were girls completely wet.
“Dawww, my uniform is drenched!”
“But that was pretty fun, right?”
“Wait…that’s Suzuya-san! Isn’t she laughing like crazy?”
“For real?! I thought she was immune to all jokes…”
“But this is nice.
I think she looks cute…and a lot easier to approach like this.”
The person in question finally got control of her laughter, as she fixed her hair.
But she ignored the girls and spoke to Kazuhi.
“…Hehe, Amagase-san, you’re struggling against Haruoka-san, I see.
How about we team up and show him who’s the real boss here?”
Why’s she sounding like a comic villain now? Well, she probably just said that because she thought it sounded cool.
“What’s this? You teaming up now? I thought Croquette Man was supposed to not pick sides?”
However, she’s not teaming up with me…I’m teaming up with her!”
“H-Hold on! That makes it sound like I’m the evil one!”
I’ll beat you both at the same time.”
We’re both this drenched already…so we’ll have you take responsibility.”
“Hold on, could you not phrase your words that badly?! Was that accidental?!”
That…is a bit too stimulating if you ask me.
In fact, their uniforms were wet to the point they started turning transparent.
“Phew…A-Anyway!” I sighed once to calm down my racing heart and declared.
I raised my eyebrows, looking straight ahead.
Even if we’re just fooling around…I’m gonna take this seriously.
“Let’s finish this.”
As more onlookers gathered around us, we all had our fingers on the triggers, when—My sight was filled with smoke.
“Bugh?! Wh-What the hell is this?!”
The smoke emitted from an oddball that landed between us.
Our surroundings quickly turned white, like this was some sort of poisonous gas…Wait, this feels familiar.
It’s the same thing that got Yousuke scolded by our teacher.
According to him, it’s the greatest possible exorcism tool.
But in the eyes of any normal person, it was just a smoke bomb.
And after the smoke cleared, the evil mind appeared.
“Yoho, Sou! When the protagonist’s in a pinch, it’s time for the friend character to play his part! I came to help you, so praise me! Praise me, please!”
“You’re so god damn annoying! You just got in my way!”
“Whaaat?! How would I be getting in the way?!”
“Your entire existence is a bother! Shut up! Also, how are you this drenched?! You got completely messed up in the few minutes I didn’t watch you!”
“Awww! I’m not wet! In fact, I messed them all up! Because I am the overpowered black magic genius who can control water and droplets!”
“Just shut up! Also, your settings are completely messed up! You called yourself a devil user! Whatever, I’m just gonna beat you up, too!”
Sparks flew between all of us, but then—
“You guuuys agaaain?!”
…However, our homeroom teacher’s roars of anger completely halted our battle.
“I’ve got a mountain load to tell you, but for starters…Change into your jerseys! Can’t have you all catch a cold! It might be damn hot outside, but with how drenched you are…Just to make sure, okay?! The lecture comes after.
I’m gonna wring you guys out, so better be ready!”
Yet again, it was evident he had kind intentions deep down, but our homeroom teacher was tasked to clean up after Yousuke’s mess (yet again).
I don’t blame him for blowing a fuse each and every single time.
We listened to his orders, returned to the classroom, and changed into our P.E.
Luckily, our homeroom teacher said “I bet Kusama and Haruoka are the main perpetrators again, and you other guys got wrapped in this mess, so I’ll be mainly lecturing those two! You other guys, go home! And straight, so you won’t catch a cold!” Great judgment, teach!
Thus, Kazuhi, Suzuya, Yousuke, and I headed back to our classroom.
Then again, Suzuya’s class was different, so she only walked halfway down the hallway.
And even though we were absolutely drenched, we couldn’t stop laughing.
“Hahaha! That was so much fun, Sou-chan!”
“We haven’t played with water guns for years.
But you really surprised me.
Why today of all days?”
Despite being scolded by our teacher not even a few moments ago, Kazuhi was still above the clouds, acting like a cat on catnip.
“No particular reason.
“You like this sort of stuff, right?”
Doing random stuff like this, creating noise and chaos.
It’s what both Kazuhi and I are used to.
I love it,” she said, half in a daze.
She’s finally showing me her usual, drowsy smile.
That’s what I’ve been waiting for.
That’s the kind of smile you’re supposed to have.
“This sure takes me back.
We’d always do idiotic stuff like this!”
“H-Hey now, Kazuhi-chan! Calling us idiots might be taking a bit too far, don’t you think? I’m not an idiot, I’m a genius black magic user!”
“Huh? Ah, wait, no! I wasn’t making fun of you…I was saying it in a good way! A good meaning!”
“Ah, a good way? That’s whatevs, then!”
“You’re really satisfied with that explanation?!”
“B-But Sou-chan, you said it before, too! ‘Humans are all idiots, so might as well be a straightforward idiot.
Makes life easier,’ is what you told me!”
“Never have I ever uttered that in my life! You’re just making nonsense up as you go!”
Hearing our banter, Suzuya let out a snicker.
And then, the other people around us called out to her.
“Ah, Suzuya-san! That water battle just now was fun! Let’s play again!”
Seeing the girls smile at her, Suzuya was bewildered for a moment.
“…Y-Yes,” she answered awkwardly, bewildered, but most importantly—Happily.
“That’s a promise! Make sure to invite me next time!” She waved her hands at the girls and said her goodbyes, as I could see her grinning.
She’s on cloud seven, just like Kazuhi.
As Kazuhi and Yousuke were busy talking, Suzuya pulled on the sleeve of my shirt, calling out to me.
“Hey now, I’m being thanked after getting you absolutely drenched? Where’d the queen I thought I knew gone off to?”
“Don’t poke fun at me now.” She pulled on my ear with a pout, whispering.
“You wanted me to indulge in this…’Stupid fun,’ right?”
“What does that even mean? I didn’t do a damn thing.
It’s because you ran around like a sniper with that water gun that everybody else said ‘Holy smokes, Suzuya’s not some cool beauty at all.
She’s really funny,’ and that’s about it.”
“I don’t quite like how you had to phrase that, but leaving that aside…” She snickered and looked at me with a gentle smile.
“You really…are a pleasant person.”
“I just wanted to cause a fun ruckus.
Just going all out right before summer break…With my important new friend.”
Honestly, that line sounded so cheesy, I had to look away if I wanted to keep a straight face while delivering it.
“W-Well, and also…Kazuhi’s smiling, too.”
And I truly love her smile.”
Kazuhi and Yousuke were walking a bit ahead of us, discussing what ‘idiotic’ even means.
Watching them, I muttered, almost like I wasn’t myself.
“…This only lasts for a moment, and I might just be getting on too high of a horse, but…”
It’s embarrassing to say.
And to ensure that the person in question didn’t hear it, I whispered to Suzuya.
“Even so…Even if it’s just one moment…one second…I want her to smile as much as possible.”
I don’t need to fake nonsense.
I don’t care if I’m looking lame.
I can’t be a hero who cheers up people wherever I go, so the best I can do is cause a ruckus to allow everyone to be themselves, and let them burst out laughing.
It might not be much, but I want to ease the pain she seems to be feeling right now.
If it’s a problem that’ll be resolved in time, then I’ll give her that.
And make her feel at peace while she goes through it.
And while telling Suzuya about this, we already reached our classroom, which meant that we’d had to split off from Suzuya.
But right before that, I could hear a faint mumble coming from her.
“…You really are kind.”
“Hee hee…It’s nothing.
Her hair was still wet, the drops of water looking like small pearls, as she entered the classroom, whispering quietly.
“I have to say…I’m a bit jealous of the person who gets to be next to you.”
1 Dried bonito flakes
2 Small coloured sugar candy covered with tiny bulges
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