Is it possible to get back an umbrella that was lost a year ago?
(…Logically, it should have been thrown away long ago…)
On the next day, Koremitsu went to Yū’s classroom.
They were both in their first years of High School, but as there were a lot of students in their academic year, her classroom was very far from Koremitsu’s, located on the second floor.
There was an umbrella rack at the wall on the side of the corridor, and there were 2, 3 umbrellas in there. The weather was pleasant, and the clear sunlight shining in through the window was blinding.
There was a continual downpour since the morning on the day when Yū’s umbrella went missing, so there must have been a lot of umbrellas in there.
But only Yū’s umbrella disappeared.
Did the people who loved to torment Yū hide the umbrella?
But their umbrellas disappeared the next day, and were found dangling in the chemistry classroom.
—Someone…saw a Vengeful spirit
—There was a rumor going on that Kanai’s living spirit came back for revenge.
Koremitsu did not believe such absurd words.
But who exactly hung the umbrellas in the chemistry classroom?
Who was the one who stole Yū’s umbrella? Or something else…
The window was opened, and a draught blow in immediately. The plants in the vast school yard were dazzling after being washed by the rain the previous day, and the lively voices of the students could be heard as well.
It was such a peaceful scenery.
(…To think that there’re bullying incidents in such a pretty and wholesome school.)
He was bitter about it.
When he was in Middle School, there were often delinquents from other schools who would could trouble for him, or even look for fights.
Most of the time, there were many opponents, and he was alone. He hated to run away, and did not want to surrender to the despicable they cowardly armed themselves and ganged up on him. Thus, he would try his best to fight back.
He thought such a thing would not happen again in High School…
However, he did not expect such a hideous act in such a peaceful school. Normally, if they were simple-minded delinquents looking to find trouble with him, he could have settled it on the spot. Bullying was something done behind the scenes however, so it felt scarier.
Perhaps the more irreproachable it seemed on the surface, the more the opposite was true.
Perhaps they wanted to cover things up with a clean impression as the inside was too dirty.
Just when Koremitsu stared at the empty umbrella rack with a sharp expression,
A startled voice came from behind.
The class rep with braids was standing behind Koremitsu, and the eyes under the lens were widened.
“Wh-wha-what are you doing here?”
“I’m about to ask you why are you so startled here.”
“I-I-I-I-I-I-I was looking for Class 8’s representative to discuss about the next class representative, and saw you staring at another class’ umbrella rack on the way here…if you intend to install a bomb here, I’ll advise you not to do so here…no, please don’t do it anywhere.”
The class rep backed away tentatively as she advised, fulfilling her duty as the class representative.
(Bomb…what kind of person does she see me as!?)
He lost all strength to be annoyed, and his shoulders fell.
At this moment, a children’s song ‘Uncle Policeman Dog’1 rang in Michiru’s skirt pocket.
Michiru panicked as she hurriedly took out her cellphone, and saw there was a new message on the screen.
Do you have to use such a tune…just when Koremitsu was dumbfounded by this, he suddenly noticed Michiru’s expression turning pale.
Something similar seemed to have happened before.
There was an anonymous chain-email sent to Honoka’s cellphone, talking about Hikaru’s death.
“Hey, what’s going on?”
“Erm, I just received a strange email.”
With her trembling hands, Michiru showed the cellphone screen to Koremitsu.
And upon seeing this, Koremitsu was furious.
“The women who were with Lord Hikaru. First Act ‘Yū Kanai’.”
“Lend me that!”
Koremitsu snatched Michiru’s cellphone and read carefully.
“The vengeful spirit who refuses to attend school. Is Yū Kanai’s living spirit the one who killed Lord Hikaru?”
The content of the email was enough to make his head boil over.
(Damn it! Who sent this email!? I won’t forgive him!)
He returned the cellphone back to the terrified looking Michiru, and with a dark aura surrounding him, he stomped off.
Michiru, who was left alone, was looking around with a pale expression.
“W-w-w-wh-wha-what should I do? He looks really angry for some reason~ maybe he’ll go bomb someone. If someone from our class does such a thing, I will have to bear responsibility as the class rep. Wahh, th-that’s right! Got to notify Hono first! She’s strong since she learnt learning kick boxing at a gym, and she did beat up Akagi before. HONOOO~ AKAGI’S UP TO NO GOOD AGAIN!!!”
She hollered as she dashed back to her classroom again.
And so, Koremitsu—
“Yū’s not some vengeful spirit! I’ll prove that to everyone!”
His face was numb, and his eyebrows were raised higher than usual. The students within a range of 2m all ran away in fear.
“Who’s the one spreading such stupid messages around? What’s his aim?”
He grumbled on.
“Maybe that person didn’t have an objective in mind, but just wants to see everyone being toyed by these rumors.”
A solemn voice came from beside.
Koremitsu glanced over slightly, and stared at Hikaru’s melancholic face that was looing forward.
He immediately looked away and bit his lips.
(I won’t bother with asking you here. Since you love to act like a ghost, I’ll just pretend that you’re a ghost.)
He walked towards the 3rd year classroom, with his eyes fixated upon it.
He was going to meet Shungo Tōjō, the one they said Yū was trying to latch upon.
The students standing on the corridor were two years older than he was, and they resembled more like adults.
“Hey, isn’t that the freshman they’re talking about?”
“Why’s he at the 3rd year classrooms?”
“He really looks vicious. I heard he had been harassing the Prince for quite a while. Has our school fallen so much that we let such a hoodlum move around?
“I heard he was the one who killed Lord Hikaru. Is that true?”
There were icy stares from all around, as it ostensibly seemed they found an intruder.
Koremitsu did not back down as he raised his chin.
“I’m looking for a guy called Tōjō.”
He said at the classroom entrance, and there was an immediate buzz.
The students exchanged troubled looks with each other, “It’s better if we report this to the teachers as soon as possible…”and someone even muttered this.
At this moment, with stares upon him, a male student approached Koremitsu.
It was a handsome man.
His back was straight, and his walking posture was full of flair.
His black hair was combed neatly.
He had a masculine chin line, and his facial features were well chiseled.
His prim attire, fluid motions, and arrogant expression reeked of nobility.
Koremitsu frowned, and he felt uncomfortable all over, as if his scabbed wounds were being scratched apart again.
The deep, sonorous voice was dolorous to Koremitsu’s ears as well.
“Upperclassman Tōjō’s ability to charm women is on par with Lord Hikaru’s.”
Honoka did say this before.
However, he was a completely different person from the latter.
This man in front of him did not have the gentle sense of transparency Hikaru had, and did not have the charisma that would soothe anyone.
There was a more masculine vibe to him, and he did not seem to be a youth, but a matured man. However, as he was already two years older than Hikaru, this impression was to be expected.
Once both of them moved to the corridor, Koremitsu went straight to the point.
“I’ve something to ask you. It’s about Yū Kanai.”
“I have nothing to say about that incident.”
“I heard that Yū refused to come to school because you two shared the same umbrella.”
Tōjō gave Koremitsu a cold stare.
“Ahh, that certainly was the case. But she merely shared an umbrella with me on a rainy day and walked with me for 10 minutes. Her refusing to come to school is her own personal matter, and there certainly is no need for me to be questioned by you.”
“What are you say…”
Koremitsu was completely infuriated by this.
What nonsense is this pretentious bastard actually saying!? It’s her own business that she refuses to come to school? Are you saying you don’t need to bear any responsibility!?
That is just inappropriate behaviour done by a few girls in the minority. Once she stopped attending school, the slurs and slanders about our relationship disappeared, but she still refused to come to school even now. Thus, it is her personal matter.”
“The reason why Yū doesn’t dare to come to school is because someone hung the umbrellas of those girls who bullied her, and now there’re rumors that she called in a vengeful spirit.”
“Isn’t that even less of my concern?”
Tōjō answered coldly and showed an aloof attitude.
Koremitsu felt his face stiffen and his breathing become hurried.
Tōjō however continued with his logical, business-like attitude,
“Are you implying that I toyed with Yū Kanai’s emotions and abandoned her? Let me make this clear, I am very clear on exactly what kind of woman I should go out with. My type is only those born in the rich and privileged, well-nurtured princesses with excellent upbringing. My relatives definitely will not accept girls that came in after Middle School, or even from families running Small and Medium Enterprises. Even if I really do, the differences in social classes on both sides will wear us out. I definitely can’t date such a person seriously. Why do those girls not understand this, and yet continue to envy Yū Kanai?”
Tōjō sighed with exasperation, and in his furor, Koremitsu punched him in the face.
Tōjō tumbled backwards, his back slamming into the wall. At this moment, Koremitsu grabbed him by the collar and yelled,
“HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH!? YŪ’S STILL TERRIFIED WHEN SHE SEES GIRLS WEARING SCHOOL UNIFORM, AND SHE’LL THINK OF HOW SHE WAS BULLIED! SHE’LL CUDDLE UNDER THE BLANKET AND SHUDDER WHENEVER SHE SEES RAIN, SAYING THAT SHE CAN’T GO OUT WITHOUT AN UMBRELLA! THAT MAY JUST BE SOME STUPID THING SOME FOOLISH WOMEN DID FROM YOUR PRESPECTIVE, JUST A THING OF THE PAST, BUT YŪ’S STILL NOT RELEASED FROM THAT PAST! SHE LOCKED HERSELF IN THE DARK ROOM FOR THIS PAST YEAR, SUFFERING ALONE, AND YOU DARE SAY THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!?”
Yū was so timid that she covered her entire body with the blanket, whimpering, “I don’t want to go to school.”
She shuddered, and said that she rather starve to death than go to school.
Her face was deathly pale as she panicked from the mere sight of Honoka holding an umbrella—
What do you mean it has nothing to do with you!?
Koremitsu was completely infuriated.
Since he felt that Yū was not someone he should go out with, why must he share an umbrella with her?
Koremitsu did not know whether Yū took the initiative in approaching Tōjō, or that the latter did it on impulse.
But it did not matter who started it.
(But why didn’t you refuse you!? Why did you share the umbrella with her so brazenly!?)
Since you feel that she’s not someone worth going out with for real because of the differences in family background, why didn’t you approach her so casually!? If you don’t want to bear responsibility, why did you do that!?
He wrecked Yū’s daily life without remorse, and did not step up to protect her.
Such a man had no right to mention Yū’s name!
Koremitsu’s exerted strength in his hands as he forcefully grabbed Tōjō by the collar.
A crowd started to gather, and even a teacher came by. The bell chime indicating the end of break time rang, clearly a dissonant from this tense standoff.
Tōjō pushed Koremitsu’s hand aside,
He told the teacher with an unnatural voice.
The teacher gave Tōjō a troubled look, and then looked over at Koremitsu again.
Tōjō quickly tidied his hair and ruffled clothes.
“The tests are about to begin. You should hurry back to your own classroom too.”
After saying that, he left, “H-hurry off now.” and the teacher stammered.
Koremitsu continued to glare at Tōjō for quite a while, before he turned back and ran off.
Upon seeing Koremitsu dash back to the classroom, Honoka heaved a sigh of relief.
However, his expression was menacingly solemn, and she frowned worriedly. For the entire test period, she kept glancing over at Koremitsu.
The latter was scribbling hard, ostensibly venting his rage towards Tōjō. The graph on the maths tests resembled Tōjō’s face, and Koremitsu continued to groan as his eyes would scorch with rage from time to time.
The test ended, and once break came, he still looked unappeased.
Honoka called him,
Koremitsu muttered, dragged the door aside, and walked out of the classroom.
He was headed for the toilet, and as continued to splash water onto his face at the basin, the water splattered everywhere.
Once the other students entered and discovered the red-haired delinquent washing his face with a massive killing intent, they ran away as they did not dare to use the toilet.
The contracting and swirling feeling of his organs did not dissipate however, and Koremitsu started to be furious with himself.
“Let’s go to school. If anyone bullies you, I’ll beat him up good.”
The moment he said these words, Yū merely stared at him timidly.
Beating others up was not going to solve this matter; it was not so simple.
I knew that—he was vexed by his shallow awareness. If he had punched Tōjō in front of Yū, he would have terrified her. The moment he thought of this, he started to regret…
He probably spent more than 5 minutes washing his face.
Once his mind finally managed to calm down, he was drenched all over, and yet his throat was parched. What was reflected on the mirror was someone with a savage expression and dripping, messy hair.
Hikaru could not be seen on the mirror, but Koremitsu knew he was probably standing behind with a relaxed look.
“You don’t have to worry.”
A gentle voice came from behind.
Koremitsu grabbed the basin by both sides as he glared at the mirror. He did not want to look back no matter what.
“…I suppose it’s good that Mr Shungo got punched once.”
A comforting voice entered Koremitsu’s ears.
“As the heir of the Tōjō family, I suppose nobody in this school would dare to beat Mr Shungo up.”
(That guy knew who he was…?)
Koremitsu wanted to look back, but he still held onto the edge of the basin as he resisted the urge.
(Damn it, who’s going to listen to you here!? It’s useless even if you try to act sincere here!)
He gritted his teeth in pain, but he was certainly curious about Hikaru’s relationship with Tōjō.
Hikaru ostensibly did not notice the complication in Koremitsu’s heart, and he continued with a tranquil voice,
“Mr Shungo’s family—the Tōjō family had always assisted the Mikado family. You have probably heard of the Mikado Group, I suppose? It has a large scale of operations that includes banks as well; and the Chairman is the head of the Mikado family, my father. However, some said that the ones controlling the Mikado Group it not the titular person, but the Tōjō family that was doing the actual operations. In other words, the relationship between me, born out of wedlock…and Mr Shungo, may be a little complicated…”
So one of them was the son of a Corporate Magnate, while the other was the heir of the family running the Corporation? If Hikaru were a prince, Tōjō would be the Chancellor’s son?
Koremitsu did not want to listen, but he could not help but listen. If he covered his ears or yelled at him to be quiet, he would be admitting Hikaru’s existence…
“Also, Mr Shungo is Miss Aoi’s cousin.”
“On a side note, the older maternal cousin2 of the of the husband of Mr Shungo’s father’s third older sister’s husband’s younger sister’s husband is the nephew of Asa’s father’s cousin’s3 cousin.4”
“THIS RELATIVE RELATIONSHIP IS TOO COMPLICATED! WHO IN THE WORLD WILL UNDERSTAND THIS!!!???”
Uh oh! I wanted to pretend that I didn’t hear this, but I couldn’t help but exclaim at this! Koremitsu hurriedly closed his mouth and stared at the basin.
“Yeah, the family relationship between those people is really hard to understand. Do you want me to slowly explain it to you?”
Suddenly, another person’s voice rang.
And it came from the toilet cubicle!
The door with a ‘faulty’ sign stuck on it opened with a creak, and a busty petite girl hopped out from without, shocking Koremitsu.
“WHA! YOU—THIS IS THE MALE TOILET!”
Hiina Oumi of the news club was holding onto a toilet crush, smiling as she leaned onto Koremitsu, and continued in her usual rapid-fire manner,
“One of my hobby is to collect information while scrubbing the toilet in a lavatory. A lavatory is a place where anyone relaxes reveal their true selves, and spill out their inner secrets. Occasionally, I can find out about some things like lynchings or extortions, so it’s really intense! How about you hide inside the toilet with me next time, Akagi? You’ll definitely see the new world!”
“I don’t want to know about that kind of thing. Don’t stick to me with that toilet scrub in your hand. Get out.”
Koremitsu wanted to push Hiina aside, but she clung onto him with her extremely elastic breasts and thighs.
“It isn’t good to be so aloof, is it? I’m capable in other things besides cleaning the toilet. You seem to be troubled when you muttered to yourself. I might be able to provide information you want to know.”
“Wh-what do you mean?”
Hiina lifted her head, and her large eyes were staring at Koremitsu with hidden intent in them. He was shocked by the way she changed from a tempting little devil to a cheeky youth.
“It means that I can help explain the role Lord Hikaru plays in the Mikado family, and whoever gets the most benefits—after Lord Hikaru’s death.”
Koremitsu felt a jolt within, and nearly looked over at Hikaru, only to stop himself, “It’s none of my business” and quietly reminded himself.
“I don’t need! And aren’t you being too suspicious here.”
“Eh!? Such words really hurt my heart! I’m already being so honest, so what are you unhappy about, Akagi?”
“Normally, girls won’t dare to look at me in the eyes, and will run away upon seeing me. But you took the initiative to approach me, and you’re not scared of me. It’s really weird, and stop sticking onto me.”
Hiina backed away from Koremitsu, and showed a commiserate expression.
“Such thinking…it really is a pity. You actually think that every woman who approaches you have some devious ploy.”
Upon seeing her show a serious expression and speak with a soft tone, Koremitsu was at a loss of words.
(I-I’m not wrong when I say this…probably.)
But Hiina’s expression was slowly eroding away his confidence the more he looked on.
“When a woman approaches you, sometimes, it’s because she’s attracted to you as the opposite gender…don’t you feel this way, Akagi?”
(Impossible, definitely not.)
He was unable to hold in his feelings any further, and slowly backed away.
“I’m returning to the classroom. If you want to scrub the toilet, go to the girls’ girl. Maybe you might get praised during morning assembly or something.”
“Please don’t run away!”
Hiina leapt onto his body.
The warm fleshy body dripping in sweat was sticking onto Koremitsu, and he was utterly bewildered as he could feel her ample breasts through the thin short-sleeved blouse pressing onto his abdomen.
Hikaru stood beside them, and with a subdued voice,
“I suppose I should ask now, at what point shall I turn around? Can I see the kiss at least?”
“FORGET ABOUT IT!”
Koremitsu knew he should have ignored it, but he could not help but holler out.
“Relax, I’ll make you feel completely good. Just leave it to me.”
“Wait, don’t stick your face onto my neck! It’s itchy!”
“Let me tell you this, Akagi. Yū Kanai ‘isn’t an unimportant person’ to Upperclassman Tōjō.”
Upon hearing Hiina mutter this at his neck, Koremitsu immediately forgot to resist.
“Because Upperclassman Tōjō ‘knew that Lord Hikaru would visit Yū Kanai’s apartment’…because he viewed Lord Hikaru as…”
Just when Koremitsu was gradually attracted by Hiina’s words.
A scream came from the lavatory’s entrance.
“AKAGI DRAGGED A GIRL INTO THE MEN’S TOILET~!!!”
Startled, Koremitsu pushed aside Hiina and ran out of the toilet with a ghastly pale expression. At this moment, there was buzzing on the corridor.
“I heard that delinquent Akagi did it in the toilet!”
“He forcefully brought a girl to such a place and pushed her down here!”
As Koremitsu remained startled, Hiina poked her head out from beside him,
“Wow, so we’re an official couple from today onwards. This love that develops from rape from sounds like a shōjo manga here~”
And gave a hypocritical grin.
♢ ♢ ♢
The Second Year Student Council President of the High School Branch, widely dubbed as the Matriach Asa, Asai Saiga, said to Koremitsu with an icy expression full of humiliation, disgust and ridicule,
“Your lewd act shall be recorded into the annals of the highly prestigious Heian Academy’s dark history, and will live on as a legacy forever.”
All the tests for the day had ended, and after school…
Koremitsu was fuming as he sat on the chair in the student counselling room, staring at Asai in front of him.
(Why is this person the one asking me instead of the teachers? Is the position of the Student Council President this high up?)
“The teachers all trust Asa a lot. Though she will sometimes use her authority to fire bad teachers, or force unruly students to drop out, but she is still just and capable. You don’t have to glare at her with such a suspicious look.”
Hikaru was practically begging as he remained behind Koremitsu.
However, as she was someone powerful who could fire teachers and force students to drop out even as a student, Koremtisu really could not let his guard down.
Even if they’re cousins, isn’t Hikaru too protective of this person!? Of course, Koremitsu chose to ignore Hikaru’s words.
“I said before that I didn’t pull her into the toilet, and I didn’t do anything bad to her. All I did was say a few words.”
“Is there a need to enter the male toilet?”
“Th-there’s a reason for that.”
“And what reason do you have for hugging a girl in the male’s toilet.”
“I didn’t hug her!”
“There were witnesses saying that you forcefully pushed Oumi down without caring about her resistance.”
“THAT’S JUST AN ILLUSION CAUSED BY BIAS!”
“Do they not have this bias because of your usual actions? If we consider everything, there is a possibility of you doing that.”
Asai deliberately raised her voice as she muttered to herself.
Looking at how the conversation had been going, it seemed he would simply continue to hear her snide comments.
“Anyway, I didn’t do anything. That’s all I want to say. Is there anything else?”
He stood up.
“Wait a moment. There’s still an important thing I haven’t asked.”
Asai said sternly.
She sat on the chair unflinching as her sharp stare matched her voice.
“I heard you punched Tōjō?”
Tōjō was a Third Year, and was older than Asai, but she called him by his family name without honorifics.
“…That guy did something worth being punched for.”
Koremitsu suppressed his rage as he hissed,
“Is it about Yū Kanai?”
Asai’s question caused Koremitsu’s shoulders to jerk in surprise.
(She knew about everything? I can’t underestimate this woman after all.)
Koremitsu did not avoid her stare as he looked straight at her.
Asai raised her lips slightly.
“Because Hikaru went to Yū Kanai’s house when he was alive?”
“It looks like you’re still pretending to be Hikaru’s substitute.”
There was scathing criticism and impatience in her tone.
Koremitsu held his breath.
—It’s impossible for you to express Hikaru’s feelings.
What Asai said in the past appeared in his mind again.
Asai showed a vicious expression just as the one she showed back then, and continued,
“Someone as shallow as you will never ever understand Hikaru’s true wishes and hopes.”
If he had heard this line a week ago, he definitely would have argued with her till his dying breath.
He would have proudly said, Hikaru and I are friends, and since he requested me for help, I want to help pass his feelings.
But at this point, upon hearing Asai’s words, he did not have any confidence at all.
He really did not know what Hikaru was thinking.
He did not know what the latter was trying to get him to do, what Hikaru felt when the request to meet Yū was made, and did not know why Hikaru chose to remain oblivious about Yū. He did not understand Hikaru’s wishes, expectations, love life and so on.
He did not want to look back at Hikaru, who was eavesdropping on their conversation.
“…Hikaru really values Yū, and even if he dies, he won’t let Yū remain in the house forever. H-Hikaru’s really worried about Yū.”
Asai showed a sneer on her lips.
‘You say that hikaru really values Yū Kanai? She’s just one of the numerous playmates to him. No, perhaps she might not even be a playmate.”
(This woman…actually knew of the relationship between Hikaru and Yū?)
Koremitsu’s stomach churned, and Hikaru did not say anything as he stood behind. Normally, this person would interject even on the slightest matter, and he chose to remain silent at this point?
“No, Hikaru really values her. Why would that harem prince go to a girl’s house when the girl can’t possibly strip and make out with him?”
Koremitsu argued vehemently as he glared back.
Asai frowned as she showed disdain.
“Your verbal etiquette is really crude.”
“Yeah, I’m not some high-class noble after all.”
“So that’s why you sniff around like a dog? Do you not know how dangerous and foolish this is?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m saying you’ll have a vengeful spirit sticking to you.”
Asai snapped back.
Koremitsu was speechless by the boldness in Asai’s declaration, and she continued with a stern warning tone,
“Do you think that they don’t exist? In fact, there are such vengeful spirits in this school, whether in the past, or now. Yū Kanai is devoured by that thing; because of the rumors that she bewitched Tōjō, the envy and malice of the girls became a sentient apparition that attacked her. Things didn’t end there; even the girls who bullied her were hurt by this apparition as well. It continues to spread through the ears and mouth, creating new vengeful spirits as well. Akagi, if you continue to dig up on that incident and remind everyone of it, you will bring about new rumors of malice, and this will not only bring no benefit to Yū Kanai, but also damage the reputation of Hikaru, who got involved with her, and wreck the order of the school. As Hikaru’s cousin, and the Student Council President of the High School branch, I definitely won’t sit back and watch you carry out your misdeeds.“
Asai sat upright, and her tone was clear and calm; she was ostensibly a splitting image of Tōjō , and that infuriated Koremitsu.
But she was correct. These vengeful spirits are definitely built up from the dark emotions within the Human heart.
His actions will definitely trigger a new wave of chaos and rumors in the school.
Asai’s worries were logical.
“Even so, if I leave her alone, Yū will never be able to shake off this vengeful spirit!”
Whenever he recalled the sight of Yū, cuddled under the blanket and sobbing away, his skin and chest would ostensibly tear apart from the pain, and his head and heart will heat up.
“One year ago, nobody protected Yū.”
All the people in this school abandoned that fragile and kind girl.
Hikaru too said he was a helpless ghost after bringing Koremitsu to her, and did not interfere.
At this point, Koremitsu did not understand what sort of feelings Hikaru had for Yū, and what sort of promise he made with her.
Perhaps it was just as Asai had said, that he had no right to be Hikaru’s representative.
But none of these matter—
“I’LL PROTECT HER THIS TIME! IF THERE’S A VENGEFUL SPIRIT, I’LL BEAT IT UP GOOD SO THAT IT WON’T APPROACH YŪ AGAIN!!”
This intense emotion that rose up his throat was real.
No matter what Hikaru thought of Yū, It doesn’t matter. Even if Yū was simply one of Hikaru’s numerous playmates—as Asai had said, I’ll definitely not abandon Yū!
I’ll protect Yū!
I’ll fight with this vengeful spirit until the bitter end, until it runs away crying! I make sure Yū won’t show that timid, lonely expression, and can live her school life happily!
Asai glared at Koremitsu furiously. She certainly must have felt that he was shallow-minded, but he did not bother with her.
He seized the opportunity to walk out of the student counselling room before he heard any discomforting words.
“Hold it there.”
Asai called out, but he did not stop at all.
Asai bit her lips at the room’s entrance as she watched the back of Koremitsu Akagi leave.
A teasing tone came from behind the door, and she turned back in shock.
Hiina Oumi of the news club was giving a teasing look, and beside her, Honoka Shikibu was showing a pale expression; at this point, Asai inadvertently frowned.
Those two were certainly standing at the student counselling room entrance with the aim to eavesdrop on their conversation. Hiina Oumi had her own motives, while Honoka Shikibu was probably worried about Koremitsu.
“Sorry, I was…just passing through.”
Honoka lowered her head awkwardly as she said this.
Hiina however showed an unperturbed look,
“I’ll protect her—isn’t it? Wow, that’s so moving. Akagi’s really a good man after all. I’m about to fall in love with him.”
She said eagerly.
Honoka, standing beside her, looked startled however.
Asai stared at both of them, looked over at where Koremitsu stormed off to, and said in spite,
“…It’s really sickening to see a man who’ll carelessly says he will protect anyone.”
♢ ♢ ♢
(I’ll protect Yū!)
It was the midst of the Mid-terms, and there was no one to be seen on the eerily quiet corridors. Koremitsu’s eyes were blazing as he stormed forward in large strides.
“I’ll chase away that spirit and terrify that poker-faced Asai Saiga!”
“I want to see Asa tremble in fear too…but Koremitsu, is this really good?”
A clear voice suddenly rang.
Koremitsu was intent on pretending not to hear Hikaru, but the latter’s heavy sigh and hesitant attitude sparked his concern.
(What? What’s not good about this?)
The awkward silence caused an urge to glance aside, but before Koremitsu could do so, he heard Hikaru’s solemn voice,
“If Yū manages to shake off her vengeful spirit, you will lose her.”
Koremitsu suddenly stopped in his tracks.
He looked back, and found Hikaru’s expression to be as somber as ever.
Hikaru showed a pensive expression as he was ostensibly informing Koremitsu of an inevitable disaster, and said,
“I know how to avoid this situation, and I can tell you that. How about it, Koremitsu? Do you want to hear me out?”
1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrqVkdGHJZs Originated in 1960. I common song sung in elementary school.↩
3 Paternal older female cousin↩
4 Maternal younger male cousin↩