Hellping

Early June, the sweaty season arrived, and Amane’s school held its sports festival.

 

Unlike the peaceful mood of those in elementary and middle schools, the high school sports festival felt more like an extension of the classroom, and hardly any parents would show up.

 

Despite that, the sports festival remained one of the few activities, and some of the students were rather excited. The juniors of the sports clubs especially were particularly riled up, for perhaps they assumed this was a chance for them to show their club advisors of their abilities.

 

In contrast, most members of the culture clubs were not particularly enthused.

Amane did not join any clubs, and was more of the latter.

 

“It’s tiring.”

 

A classmate muttered under the same tent. Amane showed a wry smile when he heard that.

 

Amane was not enthusiastic, but even he would not look so unmotivated. He acted as though it did not involve him.

 

Luckily, his primary choices were chosen, so he did not have to go running about. The most activity he would require was the cavalry battle all boys had to participate in.

 

“You don’t look like you dislike this, Fujimiya. I thought you would.”

 

Kadowaki too was under the Red Team tent, and looked  at Amane’s face in surprise.

 

“Well, I passed the registration, and I’m just lazing around now, so I don’t really hate it. I think studying’s a lot easier though.

“That’s rare from you though…”

“Well, Fujimiya, you’re great at studying, but not at sports. Not like you can do anything.”

 

Amane could not deny the words of the eavesdropping Hiiragi, and showed a wry smile.

 

In fact, this was the case, and he could not deny it. Nevertheless, he felt conflicted to have someone pinpoint this.

 

Amane was grateful to be told that he was great at studies, and impressed this was others thought of him. He could not help but admire those who had brains and brawns however.

 

“Maybe I should exercise regularly. I do some jogging and running though.”

“If my house’s a little closer, I can go jogging with you Fujimiya.”

“There’s no way I can match your speed and stamina Kadowaki.”

“Yeah Yuuta. Didn’t you forget that the last time I joined you, I was about to die? that wasn’t a jog, that was a spring.”

 

It appeared Kuju had once accompanied Kadowaki on a jog, and at this point, he looked worn out.

 

On a side note, he was a culture club member, rather than sports, the Astrology club in fact. He was skinny, delicate, short, white-skinned, and clearly did not seem the sporty kind.

But well, the delicate and petite Mahiru was quite athletic herself, so not all people of his size were like that.

 

“But I think you should be fine, Fujimiya. You didn’t seem that tired during the marathon.”

“I do train everyday since I think about what happens when I’m old, but I can’t beat those who do sports.”

“You’re the only one who’ll think about what happens when you grow out…”

“You’re weird Fujimiya. No actually, I think you’re interesting, you know?”

“Are you praising me?”

 

Hiiragi was upright and honest, and overly blunt…so curt with his words. Amane understood that immediately after they got along.

 

“I guess Kazuya’s praising you, probably.”

“Thanks for that.”

“No need for that.”

“What’s with this conversation…?”

 

Kuju did not hide how nonplussed he was, but he was not mocking them.

There was some relief in his expression, so it appeared he did not really mean what he said.

 

“Ah whatever, you’re always an airhead, Kazuya.”

“I don’t think I am…”

“Well, you’re the only one who doesn’t know. It’s fine, don’t mind. Just be who you are.”

“Ugh, really?”

 

Hiiragi easily accepted this fact, and did not ask further. “Is this really fine…?” Amane muttered, and looked towards the track.

 

The participants were ready to sprint.

 

It was probably a 100m spring, given the angle of the track. The first group had finished running, and the second group started lining up.

 

It appeared the second group was the girls’ race. The faster runners of the Red Team were gathered there.

One of them was a familiar girl with brown hair.

 

“Eh, does Chitose run fast?”

“Ahh, Shirakawa-san’s fast. She was in the track team during middle school.”

“Eh, really?”

“Yeah. But she didn’t join in high school. They say that she had an argument with a club senior, and it’s too much of a hassle to join.”

“Shall I retort about the fact that she actually argued?”

“No erm, there’s a reason for that…anyway, she learned her lesson, or rather, she’s tired.”

“…Tired?”

“A lot of setbacks happened when Shirakawa-san and Itsuki dated. But well, hm, someone in the track team liked Itsuki.”

“Ah I get it.”

 

The two of them were the official couple recognized by everyone in their year, but back in middle school, it was Itsuki who aggressively pursued Chitose.

It was said that Chitose was a lot more aloof compared to the present, and Itsuki spent so much effort to woo her, until they finally got together.

 

One could easily imagine what would have happened if the senior who liked Itsuki witnessed that.

 

“She didn’t join the club because it’s too much trouble for her. She does like running though. You can see her running sometimes.”

 

Since she lives near me, Kadowaki quipped with a chuckle, and looked towards Chitose who crouched down.

 

Amane was practically an amateur, but he could tell Chitose’s posture was solid, beautiful even.

She did not have that usual nonsensical, carefree smile when viewed from afar. She looked serious, pumped up for this.

 

The gunshot rang.

 

At this moment, she was the fastest to act.

 

Anyone would have said that her posture was wonderful. She was fast as the wind, and even overtook the girls of the track time.

Her soft hair fell behind her, and her body charged forth. She stomped hard, and arrived at the finish line faster than the others.

 

Her running movement was mesmerizing, and she passed the finish line before they all knew it.

 

Once she finished, she took the winner flag, and looked towards the Red Team, towards Amane, and chuckled.

One might feel relieved seeing her wave the flag ferociously.

 

Once she was done running the 100m, Chitose returned, and proudly puffed her chest.

 

“I’m back~ you saw it?”

“We did we did. You’re really fast.”

“Wow~ Thanks~!”

“Yeah. The way you run looks comfortable, Shirakawa.”

 

Chitose looked greatly pleased to be praised by two current members of the track team. “Good work. You ran fast.” Amane too praised.

In fact, she was so unexpectedly fast that Amane was taken aback. “Ehh, I’m happy.” However, Chitose seemed fine with that as she grinned away.

 

Perhaps it was just her, but the lack of tension this time seemed different from when she was running. Amane’s face relaxed.

 

“But you’re as fast as usual, Shirakawa.”

“Heh heh~, I’ve been training every day. Though I’m not as fast as I used to be during my club time.”

 

It seemed Chitose was faster back in middle school, which was shocking. Amane had many who had particular strengths around him, like athleticism, brains, and so on. He felt really envious as an ordinary person.

 

Hiiragi appeared to be from the same middle school as Kadowaki and the others, but he was shocked that Chitose had this speed even though she did not join the track team.

 

“I’ve been thinking, how are you so fast? is it because you have a small surface area and have little air resistance?”

“Hey Kazuyan, what do you mean, small surface area?”

“Hm? I’m talking about height.”

 

What else am I referring to? Hiiragi stared at Chitose with an honest look, and Chitose immediately frowned.

The latter might have been embarrassed at herself, rather than angry. Surely she had assumed Hiiragi was talking about her body.

 

On a side note, Chitose was not as petite as Mahiru, but she was not really taller.

She was relatively taller than the average girl, but not particularly tall for a track member.

 

Also, she was lanky unlike a typical sportsperson. Perhaps this was why Hiiragi was shocked at her speed.

 

Hiiragi’s expression showed no other intent. It was all Chitose’s misunderstanding.

 

“You embarrassed yourself huh, Shirakawa-san.”

“Shut up, Makochin.”

 

Chitose blushed as she slapped at Kuju’s back, sitting next to time. Amane showed a wry smile, ensuring that she would not notice.

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