— I think, I like you.
A few days ago, after the rain, Honoka Shikibu confessed to Koremitsu on the roof with a trembling voice.
At that time, Koremitsu was completely bewildered.
Is this person serious!? Is she controlled by some suspicious electric wave!? Koremitsu wondered.
Suffice to say, Koremitsu was highly abhorred by the presence of women and animals since young. It was the same in Middle School, as the girls felt red hair was a sign of hooliganism, viewed him as a delinquent, and isolated him. There was even a rumor that the girl seated next to Koremitsu slimmed down by 6kg in a week due to excessive fear.
Even Honoka too had mistaken Koremitsu for a molester, kicked him in the middle of the public, and showed a look of extreme contempt.
After that, Koremitsu consulted Honoka over Aoi and Yū’s matters, and Honoka finally realized that Koremitsu was an unexpectedly nice and straightforward person. Because of this, they managed to improve their relationship.
But why would she suddenly blush and say ‘I think, I like you’ to a crude delinquent?
To Koremitsu, Honoka’s confession was overly abrupt, and he felt there was nothing other than a trap to it.
Their eyes met each other for a long time, and it felt time had stopped; after that, Honoka lowered her head, looking ready to cry, but immediately turned her head aside, raised her voice, and said,
—J-Just as a classmate, that’s all! D-D-D-Don’t be mistaken here.
She insisted as she spoke with an agitated voice,
—It’s just, a simple ‘like’ between classmates, that’s all!
Honoka said as she retreated stiffly, nearly tumbled at the door, and dashed down the stairs with a crying expression.
Throughout this, Koremitsu was unable to say anything.
Hikaru, was standing beside him, had witnessed the entire event, and put his head into his hands, saying,
—I am sorry, Koremitsu. I should have taught you how to handle such a situation. Miss Shikibu’s actions are 3 times quicker than I expected, so I was careless.
After that, Honoka had been hiding from Koremitsu.
Whenever Koremitsu tried to talk to her, she would turn away and pretend to be focused on typing a message. Once break time occurred, she would immediately run from her seat, either to spend some alone time at an empty place, or to find her friend, the braid-haired class representative.
This forced action however showed how concerned she was about Koremitsu. Even Koremitsu felt the awkwardness between them, and he froze all over, sweating.
♢ ♢ ♢
“At this point, you might want to go out with Miss Shikibu.”
It was lunch break.
After Honoka covered her face shyly, bit her lower lip, and hurriedly left the noisy classroom, Koremitsu strolled down the corridor with a sullen look.
Hikaru naturally floated beside him, and then proposed something completely outrageous.
“I actually intended to get a girl who likes to smile as your girlfriend, but Miss Shikibu really is pretty, and has nice long legs. Maybe it is a wonderful thing that such an alluring beauty blushes as she looks at you. Those nice legs of hers are top notch amongst our year, whether in terms of appearance or power. There are definitely a lot of boys who yearn to be kicked and trampled by her.”
“Tch, I don’t have that sort of interest!”
Koremitsu grumbled bitterly with a frowning look.
Since Honoka had declared that she liked him only as a classmate, he felt that he should continue to treat her in the same manner.
Even if she had not said that ‘like you as a classmate’ line, and had confessed to him directly, Koremitsu would have been troubled.
No matter how pretty her legs were, Honoka Shikibu was a good person. Koremitsu however was hesitant on the aspect of liking her, on whether he wanted to date her.
It was merely a few days ago that he started his first love with Yū Kanai, only to break up with the latter.
His heart would flutter whenever he recalled her dreamy smile, the soft little hand grasped firmly in his, and the taste of rain as their lips interlocked.
She was a fantastical girl blooming in the night.
And in the morning, the illusion disappeared. The weak girl walked into the world of day through her own will, and though she had departed, Koremitsu kept longing for that love affair.
Either way, there was no way he could immediately divert his affections to Honoka, for he felt it would be disrespectful to both her and Yū. If it were Hikaru, he would definitely say with a beaming smile, “All the girls are like flowers, each flower has its unique charm, and are worthy of being loved“. However, Koremitsu knew he was not suited to be a harem prince, and that a wretched peasant such as him could only be the waterboy.
Honoka had declared she ‘liked’ him as a classmate, so Koremitsu was trying his best to face her with the same attitude as before. However,
(I feel a lot awake now that I caught some air…or rather…my face is all red now…)
Koremitsu scratched his head, and Hikaru showed a hapless smile.
“Well, it certainly is like you not like Miss Shikibu after your affair with Yū had just ended, Koremitsu. I think she will be able to understand this.”
Leaving aside this, it would not be manly for him to remain aloof for Honoka’s sake, and increase her burden heavily.
“Ahh, you are getting frustrated again, Koremitsu. It is not good for you often frown when you are young. I told you that it is fine; Miss Shikibu will certainly want to talk with you normally. If you take a little initiative, perhaps things might become the same as it was before.”
Just when Hikaru was speaking with a matured tone,
“Akagi, do you mind if I have a few words?”
An unexpected voice came sidelong,
And it was from the third year, Shungo Tōjō.
This nobleman had a masculine face, a long body, and was the focal point of attention no matter where he went.
Koremitsu had some interaction with this person because of Yū’s case, but it was still a rare sight for him, classified as a noble in this school, to specially look for Koremitsu, the worst, vile wild dog of all.
The students on the corridor were looking at them with shocked expressions, and Koremitsu felt somewhat awkward.
“What is it? Is it about Yū?”
“No, I heard the cat she raised is left in your care, but I do not plan to talk about this now. rather.”
(Who told him about that!?)
It was true the white cat that was with Yū was in Koremitsu’s house. After he broke up with Yū, the cat snobbishly stayed at Koremitsu’s house, seemingly stating ‘I’ll let you take care of me for the time being’.
But Koremitsu never mentioned this to anyone else. Besides, the people around him were trying to avoid him, so there was no one else he could talk to.
How did he know?
Upon thinking about this, Koremitsu felt a chill on his spine. At this moment, Tōjō turned around and spoke to him,
“Akagi, are you dating anyone at the moment?”
Koremitsu saw that Tōjō’s eyes looked exceptionally serious, and felt skeptical in the face of this sudden question as he answered,
“Not for now…”
Tōjō’s frown intensified once he heard the answer. It seemed he had discovered something serious.
“Then, assuming that you feel a girl staring at you from behind, what will you do?”
“I’ll tell her that if she has something to say, just say it to me, no?”
“What if that girl approaches you with a troubled look on her face?”
“Even if a woman challenges me, I won’t do anything to her.”
“If she blushes and starts stripping in front of you, what will you do?”
“Call the ambulance of course! Either her head’s all burned up with a fever, or she’s a perverted streaker!”
Tōjō then grabbed Koremitsu’s shoulders firmly, and spoke with confidence,
“It is truly a gift that you have such healthy thoughts. Please continue to live on like this.”
He then patted Koremitsu twice on the shoulder, and turned to leave.
“…What’s with him?”
“That is truly unexpected. Mr Shungo looked so serious…I thought he was going to confess to you.”
Hikaru’s words left Koremitsu unable to laugh,
“You idiot. What’re you saying!?”
He glanced to the side—
“Upperclassman Tōjō just grabbed the delinquent king’s shoulders and gave him a passionate look.”
A mutter could be heard from the side.
“Upperclassman Tōjō just confessed to the delinquent king!”
“Upperclassman Tōjō fell in passionate love with the delinquent king!”
The mutterings soon got louder.
(That’s enough! Don’t call me a homosexual delinquent king now!)
Koremitsu lifted his chin and glared at the students around him, scaring them. At this point, his eyes met that of Honoka’s friend, the braid-haired girl who was standing in the corner.
She widened her eyes behind the glasses, and it was unknown if she saw what just happened, or she heard the rumors spread really quickly, as she said,
“M-Mr Akagi…are you gay with Upperclassman Tōjō?”
She was trembling timidly,
“I-I think…love is not divided by gender, as long as people love each other…”
And then, she showed a stiff smile,
She then turned around and sprinted off.
Koremitsu furiously gave chase after the bespectacled class representative, who was running with her braids sway from side to side, like a pig’s tail.
“HO~NOO~! HO~NOO~! HO~NOO~!”
Honoka just so happened to be at the class door, looking startled as she called out to her good friend.
Koremitsu’s mind immediately boiled over.
(STOP! DON’T TELL SHIKIBU!!)
“What’s wrong, Michiru!?”
“Mr Akagi has become gay with Upperclassman Tōjō on the corridor!”
(ARRGGGHHHH!!! THIS BESPECTACLED GIRL!! SHE LOOKS DECENT AND SHY, AND YET SHE’S SO DIRECT WHEN SAYING THIS!!!)
Honoka really seemed to be startled by her friend’s words, and once she spotted a panting Koremitsu, she shuddered.
She stared at Koremitsu, her face showing shock and complication, only to then change her expression into one that stated ‘please let this be kidding’.
(Shikibu, please don’t believe her! I…)
“Upperclassman Tōjō just embraced Mr Akagi tightly and confessed to him! And Mr Akagi stared back at Upperclassman Tōjō with a passionate stare! They must have done something together!”
(DO YOU HAVE A GRUDGE WITH ME, YOU BESPECTACLED GIRL!!!???)
Honoka again shuddered once she heard this, and turned to glare at Koremitsu, her expression conflicted between anger and disappointment.
“Let’s go, Michiru.”
Honoka turned her back on Koremitsu, and dragged the class representative into the classroom.
As Koremitsu was left speechless, Hikaru said with sympathy,
“Well…Miss Shikibu must have been shocked, especially since she just heard that the person she recently confessed to had embraced a male upperclassman. Well, do not be this listless now. Let us observe Miss Shikibu’s situation, and find a chance to explain to her. Do not be downhearted.”
Hikaru placed his hand gently on Koremitsu’s shoulder, but as he was a ghost, his hand did not leave a mark.
“….I’m not downhearted—at all.”
Koremitsu clenched his fists as he said.
“Haa, if I think about it, even if Shikibu thinks I’m gay with Tōjō, it’s nothing after all. Haha…I guess it’s a good thing if she ends up think that she shouldn’t approach a damned guy like me, hahaha.”
“Koremitsu, you may be thinking of laughing, but your expression is really scary. Your face is quivering, and your eyes are narrowed. You do not have to force yourself to make Shikibu hate you there.”
“I-I’m not forcing anything!”
He stammered a reply, and did not say anything afterwards
And upon seeing Hikaru sigh with a look of condolement, Koremitsu said unhappily,
“Besides, how can I go around caring about what others say about me? More importantly, we need to hurry and deal with the next ‘regret’ you have!”
♢ ♢ ♢
“Is it really good for you not to explain this to Miss Shikibu? She was giving a few worried looks on the way home, and then she shook her head a few times, and even nearly fell over.”
“Shut up! I said that I don’t care about her now! Anyway, are you sure the place is correct?”
It was after school.
They arrived in front of a public elementary school in their task to complete Hikaru’s unfinished wish.
The elementary school students were dismissed from school earlier than high school students, so there were only a few students walking out from the classroom.
There were a few children walking out with backpacks, and were terrified upon seeing a red-haired delinquent with a savage expression standing in front of them. Some shrieked and ran off in tears, while others shuddered as they retreated back into the school. It would be troublesome if they looked for a teacher’s assistance.
Hikaru seemed tentative as he answered vaguely,
“Yes…this is the place.”
(Hm? Is it a female teacher this time? Some student’s mom? Please don’t start an indecent relationship now.)
During lunch break, Koremitsu sent a message at the school roof, in accordance to Hikaru’s instructions.
“To dear cute Shiiko, the promised item is prepared.”
Koremitsu was inadvertently impressed that Hikaru could remember the of all the girls. According to Hikaru himself, it seemed his memory would increase tenfold as long as it had anything to do with girls.
This Shiiko was probably the name of the girl.
The reply he received was that he was to wait outside the school gate.
(But what’s promised this time?)
And also, there was another mystery.
“Hey, is there any special meaning to this collar here?”
Koremitsu asked with veins bulging from his head.
There as a black dog collar on his neck, and he bought it at a pet shop as he made his way to this place.
Why a dog collar?
This, together with the eye-catching red hair, made him look like a delinquent king.
Hikaru suddenly smiled, and said,
“It is a mark, sort of.”
That certainly was a random answer.
“But it really suits you, like a vocalist in a punk band.”
“Isn’t it weird to have a punk band vocalist stand at an elementary school gate? Ahh, damn, I’m feeling that something’s weird here. Besides, it’s been more than 10 minutes past the agreed time. Did she run away in fear after seeing me?”
“Certainly not. She should be able to respond, since you are exactly what she wants.”
Hikaru’s expression became milder, and he continued,
“Shiiko’s a firm-willed child, so she must have been observing you.”
If it were a teacher, would it be inappropriate to call her a ‘child’? Even if she were a civil servant, she should be older than Hikaru, who was in 10th Grade…
At this point, a cute voice came from below.
Koremitsu lowered his head, and found a girl carrying a red school bag and a grassy green sling pochette looking up at him.
The large black eyes seemed to be filled with tears as he looked over.
(What now? Is she crying because of my appearance!?)
Koremitsu was least adept at dealing with animals, children and women.
But he could not leave this girl alone, crying. If he took out a handkerchief and wipe her tears away, would she be more terrified than ever?
Just when he was at a loss of what to do, the girl then spoke with a demure, cute voice,
“Big Brother…are you Hikaru’s friend?”
(Don’t tell me this brat is…)
Cold sweat slowly rose on Koremitsu’s forehead,
“Big brother…were you the one who sent me this message?”
Flabbergasted, Koremitsu stared at the girl again.
She had her silky straight black hair tied into two ponytails, and there were thick eyelashes around her large eyes.
She had glossy, milky skin, rosy cheeks, and pink lips. a delicate neck, legs. and small hands that were holding to the straps.
Her round knees were exposed under the girlish, airy skirt, and she wore a pair of clean white socks.
She looks like a kid no matter how I see it! She’s still a grade schooler!
She’s at most 10! Maybe younger!
“Are you Shiiko?”
The girl nodded, and sniffled,
“My name’s Shioriko Wakagi. Sorry, big brother. I feel like crying now. I just thought about Hikaru, so…”
“Ah, erm, nice to meet you.”
The girl lowered her head in a loveable manner.
(Is she one of your unfinished wishes too!? She’s still carrying a school bag! Hey!)
But Hikaru did not seem to hear Koremitsu,
“Ahh, Shiiko is really cute! No girl is more suited to wear white socks! The skirt length is also perfect! The knees have to show! The lips are glossy like peach! Ahh, the dangling black silky hair look so romantic. It is the best! Shiiko is really my little pixie!)
Hikaru had gone crazy.
(H…hey! I say, your face’s melting from the happiness! And besides, it’s scary that you’re staring at a kid with such a look!)
If Hikaru’s admirers had seen him look so inebriated, they would certainly run away.
“Erm, big brother…why did you come look for Shiiko?
“Ah, eh, well…”
“Of course it is to fulfill my promise with Shiiko, my little lady.”
Hikaru knelt down in front of Shioriko like a knight in the Middle Ages, beaming as he answered.
Upon seeing this, Koremitsu really had the urge to kick him.
“Did you have some promise with Hikaru? I’m here to help him fulfill it.”
Shioriko’s thin shoulders shuddered.
Her face immediately froze, and then, she blushed, fidgeted about and said,
“Well, if it’s a promise…you’re referring to that, right?”
Shioriko lowered her petite head shyly, and her black hair, tied in twin ponytails, swayed elegantly.
(Well, since it’s a promise with a kid, I guess it’s nothing big. Let’s hurry up, finish this and go back home.)
“Shiiko really looks so cute~ in that pose! My heart is starting to race! Such a sinful little girl!”
He would be completely revolted by the friend creating a ruckus beside him.
(Besides, you don’t have a heartbeat now!)
He turned to look at Shioriko, and she lifted her blushing face, holding his middle and index fingers on his left hand.
Koremitsu was shocked, and Shioriko shyly lifted her eyes at him, saying,
“Then…big brother, you will take Shiiko’s virginity in Hikaru’s place, right?”
What did this brat say now!? This brat!?
In Hikaru’s stead—
Koremitsu gave Hikaru a demonic glare, and even as a ghost, Hikaru felt his life to be in jeopardy as he took a step back.
“Ko-Koremitsu? Your expression looks a little terrifying…Shiiko will be scared! Calm down!”
(How can I possibly calm down now, you idiot!!!)
“Th-There is a reason for this! And I do not intend for you to take away her virginity right now!”
(ARE YOU SAYING YOU’RE INTENDING TO ENJOY IT ON A SPECIAL DAY OR SOMETHING!?)
“Guu, Hikaru was a very kind person, and even offered to buy Shiiko’s virginity when Shiiko’s troubled over the lack of money.”
“Koremitsu! If you continue to show such a savage look, you’ll have problems trying to find a job! Control yourself!”
(WHOSE FAULT DO YOU THINK IT IS ANYWAY! BUYING A KID’S VIRGINITY!? YOU PEDOPHILE OF A HAREM PRINCE! CRIMINAL!)
If his aura could chase a ghost away, Koremitsu would have hoped to chase Hikaru to the ends of the universe.
As he was pondering about this, Shioriko raised his fingers.
“Well, if it’s big brother…Shiiko can accept it.”
She lowered her head, blushing as she muttered, and upon hearing that, Koremitsu nearly fainted in anger.
(AS IF THAT CAN WORK OUT! AM I GOING TO TAKE HIKARU’S PLACE AND BECOME A LOLICON WITH AN ILLICIT RELATIONSHIP WITH AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL KID!?)
DON’T JOKE AROUND! I DON’T WANT TO BE SEEN AS A PERVERT’S FRIEND!
His mouth was ajar, and he was unable to say anything. During this time, Shioriko dragged him to the school.
“Eh…heh? Outsiders can’t go in without permission, right? Let go of me.”
“Nobody’s in school at this time.”
Shiiko seemed to have made up her mind as she lowered her head and continued in.
She was only holding onto Koremitsu’s middle and index fingers, but the soft doll-like hand was grasping onto him firmly, and he was really unwilling to shake her off.
“Sorry, Koremitsu, but please accompany Shiiko for a while.”
Hikaru clapped his hands together as he said.
(AS IF! I’M NOT A LOLICON HERE—-!!)
As Koremitsu grumbled in his heart, he arrived at the shower room located at the swimming pool, located away from the classrooms.
“Nobody else…will come here, so.”
There was the smell of bleach lingering in the entire room, and Shioriko leans her back on the door, lifting her head shyly as she said.
(IT’S CRAZY TO DO THIS IN A SHOWER ROOM!)
” A shower room really is a nice place. I have been to the shower rooms in middle schools, high schools and even girl schools, but it is my first time going to an elementary school shower room.”
(DON’T LOOK AROUND AS IF YOU’RE SO INTERESTED! YOU BIG PERVERT OF A GHOST!!)
“Eh? This isn’t good, right? I don’t want to come here and help Hikaru do that. No, Hikaru himself wouldn’t want to do that.”
As Koremitsu was sweating over this, trying to convince her,
“You don’t want Shiiko, big brother? Do you hate Shiiko?”
She showed a tender expression as she asked,
“No, it’s not about whether I hate you or not. How old are you?”
“9 years old. In fourth grade.”
(THAT’S COMPLETELY OUT OF THE PARK NOW–!)
Koremitsu felt a chill up his spine.
But Shioriko clasped her hands around Koremitsu’s waist, and cuddled him.
She pressed herself at Koremitsu’s chest, and the body warmth reached him through the thin shirt. A milk and sugar-like sweetness entered his nostrils, and the exceptionally soft black hair rested upon his hand.
Also, Shioriko actually undid his belt, loosened the buckle, and even pulled the zip down.
(Wh-What’s going on? Why’s she able to do it this well! HHHHEEEYYYY!! STOP IT!)
Koremitsu wanted to push her aside forcefully.
But suddenly,he felt chilly on his lower body.
He was taken aback when he realized his pants and underwear were taken down, and there was a flash a second later.
Upon hearing this, Koremitsu’s eyes widened, and he found Shioriko holding a phone, smiling.
He did not know what was going on at all.
It was already a scary sight that his lower body was photographed, but what startled Koremitsu more was that Shioriko, standing at the door with the bag on her back, her legs spread apart, had seemingly become a completely different person.
The young girl, who looked up at him shyly with a blush just a while ago, showed an indomitable glint in her eyes, her pink lips raised proudly.
Also, the mouth that had just said ‘big brother’ shyly, let out a vastly different tone,
She then continued,
“How long are you going to keep showing that ugly thing?”
What? What’s with this tone now? Where’s it coming from?
“You followed a grade school student into the shower with indecent intentions. That’s filthier than a maggot.”
“Wh-What are you saying?”
Koremitsu pulled up his underwear and pants as he exclaimed. Shioriko showed the photo she just took to him.
There was a red-haired youth on the photo, with raised eyebrows, a wide nose bridge, and a savage expression with his arms raised, his lower body completely naked.
His posture was such that he resembled a predator hunting its prey, and also, the school emblem on the uniform and the signboard ‘Nagomi Elementary School-Shower Room Usage Times’ could be seen clearly.
Suffice to say, he looked like a vile beast of a high school student, ravenously entering an elementary school’s shower room.
A stunned Koremitsu watched Shioriko run away from his front, and the latter leisurely reached for the door.
She then put the phone at her lips, narrowed her eyes coldly, and stated arrogantly,
“If you don’t want this photo to appear in your school, from now on, you shall be my dog.”
♢ ♢ ♢
“Please, Koremitsu? I can only bequeath Shiiko to you, my trusted good friend.”
Hikaru was seated on the cushion, kneeling down, bowing earnestly as he begged. Koremitsu was seated in a cross-legged manner, his arms folded as he glared back.
Right beside Hikaru was the snowy white body of the kitten Lapis. It would occasionally stare at Koremitsu with its lapis-blue eyes, but soon quickly closed its eyes disinterestedly.
“Shiiko is a child who is like a blooming Purple Gromwell. On first glance, she may look like a petite white pitiful flower, but she has a noble, beautiful and arrogant personality befitting a Purple Gromwell. The locally produced Purple Gromwells in our country are an endangered species, so there is a need to protect and nurture Shiiko. If not, she may be trampled on or weeded out at will, and may even wilt as a result. Shiiko is actually a good-natured child at heart, but children are quite reckless in their thinking, and do such things for the sake of money.”
“…Looks like she’s very used to this from the way she blackmailed me.”
Upon hearing Koremitsu, lying on the floor, say this, Hikaru responded with silence.
“…That brat’s not a first time offender, I guess.”
“Th-that’s because a lot of things happened to Shiiko…there is an issue with the adult who is raising her–ahh, I am not blaming you for being careless or anything however, Koremitsu. With a cute girl like Shiiko threatening me, I am even willing to give up on Christianity.”
“Don’t say something that’ll bring about protests from religious organizations!”
Lapis opened her eyes in a silt.
Koremitsu however continued to glance aside at Hikaru, whose shoulders were lowered, and whose voice got gentler.
“Hey, how did you meet that brat in the first place?”
“I guess, we were at the park back then. Shiiko was beside the parterre, looking at the lilies, ‘saying ‘Big brother, there are pretty flowers here. I think there’s a Thumbelina2 in there’, She was as cute as an angel…”
“Stop lying. I remember very well that you bought that brat’s virginity. You don’t deny that, right?”
“Uu, but we really first met each other at the park.”
Hikaru seemed to ponder, and then said,
“Last Spring, I saw Shiiko at the roadside, selling her first night to a lolicon-looking fat uncle, so I bought her at a higher price. How much did she want? W-Woah!”
Koremitsu knew that his body would pass through, but he still swung a punch.
Hikaru tumbled back as he sat down, and Lapis retreated to a corner of the room, seemingly trying to avoid this calamity.
“Don’t you run away! You damned lolicon!! You child sex offender bastard! Loli pervert prince!”
“But even if you tell me not to run away, my body will run away instinctively when I see someone looking like Yama3 chasing me around! And I just prepaid for Shiiko’s first time; I haven’t done anything yet! I plan to wait for another 4 years, so please cut me the lolicon tag for now!”
“Just 4 years!? A college student doing it with an eighth grader girl is a violation of children rights!!”
Koremitsu continued to hunt and punch the escaping Hikaru, but his fist could only pass through the latter’s body, and not hit him.
“SHUT UP, KOREMITSU! GO OUTSIDE IF YOU WANT TO DO SPORTS!!”
His aunt Koharu growled angrily from the outside.
Koremtisu himself felt that he was simply wasting his strength for no good reason, and put his hands onto the floor weakly, panting hard.
“Good thing you can’t live on for another 4 years, you bastard.”
“Since you have so much money, pay me back for what I paid for the theme park entrance tickets and for what I bought for Yū.”
Koremitsu reached his hand out,
“Eh, but I never had any friends, and I never had any interests, so I was happy that the pocket change and New Year money I saved up on were finally put to good use, so I said ‘Don’t worry, leave it to me’…”
“I don’t know who else is rich enough to be the patron for an elementary school brat carrying a school bag. How much did you pay exactly?”
Hikaru showed a vague smile.
“It may be a little more than what you imagined. But it’s worth giving up a billion if it’s for Shiiko.”
Koremitsu again straightened his arm and swung it at Hikaru’s face.
“Woah!” Hikaru shrieked.
“Please do not hit my face.”
“Shut up. Why’re you complaining when you know it can’t hurt you? You only gave her pocket change, and did nothing else to her, right?”
“Yes. Trust me.”
(It’s because it’s you that I don’t believe you!!!)
Koremitsu thought as he glared furiously, but managed to abstain from saying this.
Besides, there was something else he had to be certain of.
“Didn’t you ask me to wear that collar before I looked for the brat?”
“That is right. I felt that wild design really suit you, Koremitsu…”
“You say it’s a marking, but you’ve been planning on letting me be her dog right from the beginning, right?”
Hikaru averted his glance slightly, but upon hearing the sound of Koremitsu rummaging through boxes and looking for weapons, he realized he was disadvantaged, and said,
“S-Shiiko said that she wanted to have a fierce-looking loyal dog, so I promised to get her one. You did fit her criteria very well, so I guessed she would definitely like it. As I expected, she really has taken a liking to you.”
“SO THAT’S WHAT YOU MEAN BY ‘SUITS’!!!”
Koremitsu recalled the words Hikaru said at the school gate, and his blood boiled again.
“This damned happy-go-lucky prince! Alright, it’s decided! I’m going to be a disciple of a priest and learn the art of exorcism!”
“I’m sorry!! Shiiko will be suspicious if you approach her normally, so the first thing is to gain her trust–this is the principle of winning confidence by inflicting self injury.”
“What trust!? She’s calling me her dog! Where’s the trust!?”
“It certainly is true that it might be a humiliation for you, hailed as a Delinquent King, to let an elementary schoolgirl take such a photo of you and use it as blackmail to make you her dog, but this is for her sake, so please be her dog for the time being. You definitely can make a good dog! I guarantee that!”
“Don’t call a human ‘dog’ here and there! And don’t guarantee that!!”
You’re noisy, Lapis seemed to show such an annoyed look.
“Anyway, even if you had promise that you’ll give that brat a dog, I don’t want to be the nanny for that damned brat.”
Koremitsu stated firmly, and Hikaru immediately lowered his shoulders dejectedly, saying with a forlorn look,
“Shiiko does not have any relative who would scold her.”
Koremitsu was taken aback by these words.
Hikaru continued to mutter,
“Shiiko had always lived with her grandfather, and they were financially poor ever since she was young. That is why she has such a pragmatic personality as a result, but she really is an innocent and gentle girl at heart. That is why I want to turn her into a fine lady. I want to mold her into an outstanding person when I was with her, just like you are, Koremitsu.”
Hikaru lowered his head, his eyes dulled, having lost their luster, and his tone and voice were gloomy.
“But I disappeared when I was worried about her, and she intends to continue doing such dangerous things.”
Hikaru bit on his elegantly curved lips, and lifted his head, showing an anxious expression as he said to Koremitsu,
“If this keeps up, Shiiko might get cheated and abducted by the Yakuza and sold off as a result. That is why I hope you can tell Shiiko that a fine lady cannot cheat and threaten others in my stead! P-Please, Koremitsu!”
His eyes were fixated on Koremitsu as he begged earnestly.
(…This guy’s still so serious when it comes to women affairs.)
Normally, he would float around leisurely, being nonchalant about everything else, just as a ghost would–but when push comes to shove, his expression would become abnormally earnest and decisive.
Perhaps he was truly worried about that arrogant brat after all.
(Guess I have no choice. It’s true that I don’t know what she’ll end up doing if I leave her alone like this, and I get a feeling that the bad guys will be after her.
Well, it can’t be helped.
I did promise my good promise that I’ll resolve all his ‘regrets’ regarding women.
He muttered as he started scratching at his hair.
(~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~, but I’m not good at dealing with brats.)
Koremitsu stared at Hikaru, whose knees were bent together on the cushion, his body leaning forward, showing a serious look; he frowned, and said,
“I’ll be her dog for the time being, I guess.”
1.One of the poets in the ‘Collection of Japanese Poems (Wakas) of Ancient and Modern Times, Born 718, died 785.↩
2.The protagonist of a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.↩
3. Buddhist deity. Basically, the king of hell.↩