(Ahh! What was I doing, seriously—!?)
Honoka was feeling completely dejectedly as she laid prone on her desk.
Even the red-purple cellphone was thrown aside.
She intended to send Koremitsu messages a few times, only to delete them, and rewrite again.
(I’m not his girlfriend, and I’m feeling jealous of other girls, yapping away on the corridor. Michiru and that Moon Matriarch’s there too. I even threw my lunch box onto Akagi and ran away—argh, I’m really a big idiot!!)
She leaned her face on the table, flailing her limbs.
The instance she saw the upperclassman, the Moon Matriarch, latch herself bewitchingly onto Koremitsu with her snowy white arm, Honoka felt her head sizzle, all composure devoid from her.
(He’s locking arms with that famous Moon Matriarch; that’s too sudden already!)
This Moon Matriarch, Tsuyako Udate, was of nobility similar to Aoi, and was a famous person, having appeared in a magazine interview as a shining rookie in the Japanese Dance circle.
She had silky red hair, a glamorous face, and an alluring body. Her still presence alone would attract the stares of those surrounding her.
If 100 people were taken for a questionnaire, at least 99 of them would call her an absolute beauty.
There were all sorts of pretty girls amongst the normal high school students, like Honoka. Some of them are a little pretty, some are barely called pretty, and some are beauties who can only look pretty are dolling up. Tsuyako was not this case however, she was a certified, superstar level of a beauty.
(Why’s such a super beauty with Akagi?)
Honoka had been concerned about Koremitsu and Aoi before this had happened, and even posted a comment on a love consultation forum,
“I am a little attracted to a certain guy in my class, but a super-cute princess asked him to be her boyfriend. What do I do?
By Hono Hono.”
Normally, Honoka would post her sweet cellphone novels using her online avatar, the Purple Princess, and even settle some girls’ love troubles.
“Ri-Right, let’s go ask on the forum again.”
She immediately got up, and hurriedly tapped on the cellphone, her heart practically clutching at straws.
“There’s a super beauty being too close with a guy I have a crush on.
When I saw them walking with their arms latched together, I couldn’t help but scold him for being a cheater…（p>□<q*）
Will he think that I’m annoying? ｡+( °´Д｀°)+｡
What do I do with him in the future?
By Hono Hono.”
Soon after sending the message, Honoka’s face was flushed red.
She continued to swivel along with the chair,
“WHAT AM I DOING HERE!!?
And she yelled,
“I’m not supposed to be such an annoying bimbo!! I’m supposed to be the love expert, the Purple Princess! The reliable and friendly big sister!! What’s with this Hono Hono!!
AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! THIS IS EMBRASSING! I DON’T DARE TO LOOK AT MY CELLPHONE NOW!!”
Perhaps she should not think about Koremitsu again.
Right, why was she concerned with that cheater of a man? She had assumed that he was fully devoted to Aoi, but hooked himself up with a hikkikomori, had a scandal with an elementary school girl, and this time, got a beautiful upperclassman.
“Those cheating men are the worst!”
Though Tsuyako Udate was famous, her reputation however was bad.
Soon after she entered the elementary school branch from the kindergarten, she was transferred to a girls school of nobility in England, and only returned to Japan suddenly soon after her 1st year in High School.
There were gossips that she was expelled because she had a scandal with a boy, and there were also rumors that she was unabashedly meeting Lord Hikaru in the Japanese Dance clubroom. Some even said that if she had a fancy in a man, she would lure him in, and dump him when she had enough…the way she dumped others was as vicious as that of stabbing someone in the heart with a smile.
(Eh, Akagi looks very fierce, but he’s very naive and has no immunity to girls. He definitely fell into the honey trap easily~~~~)
The next morning, Honoka continued to sit at her place, looking melancholic as she held onto her cellphone tightly.
(What do I do? Do I remind Akagi to be careful of the Moon Matriarch? But if I do that, he’ll definitely hate me…)
At this moment, Koremitsu walked in from the back door, his back slouched like usual.
Michiru, the class representative who was on good terms with Honoka, spoke timidly,
“Go-Good morning, Mr Akagi.”
Koremitsu coldly replied.
“You’re frowning more than usual today, Mr Akagi, you look really savage…forget I said anything!”
Michiru hurried back to her own seat, and Honoka was tensely listening to his footsteps, cold like his voice, her heart pounding wildly.
The footsteps stopped beside her, and the sounds of the bag being thrown onto the table and the chair being dragged out could be heard.
Honoka’s heart was pounding madly, almost popping out from her mouth.
(Uu…I really want to ask why he was with the Moon Matriarch yesterday. I’m just his classmate who ‘likes’ him a little, and if I ask them whether they did some pervy things in that clubroom after that—no, Akagi’s not someone so easily charmed like that. He just broke up with Miss Kanai, Her Highness Aoi, and he’s Shiiko’s big brother. He can’t possibly do something shameless that an elementary school kid will find shameful of. Bu-Bu-but, Akagi said that he likes big breasted girls the last time we saw those swimsuit photos. I only have a C cup; the Moon Matriarch has more to show if she strips herself…)
Honoka started to imagine the two of them being alone in the clubroom, Tsuyako dressed in a kimono opening her crumpled collar,
“Hey, my sash is loose…please help me tie it, Mr Akagi.”
She leans over as she says this, and Koremitsu looks panicky, his face completely red.
(STOP IT! DON’T TOUCH AKAGI!)
Honoka screamed in her heart, and at that moment.
Koremitsu, who was supposed seated beside her, was standing beside her this time, shocking her.
He placed the lunchbox she threw the previous day on the table.
“You forgot something.”
He sounded and looked really unhappy.
Of course, it was natural for him to be angry.
“Ah, y-you picked it up for me…?”
(What am I playing dumb for!? I should at least thank him right? No, I should be apologizing to him regarding yesterday instead of that first…)
However, Honoka’s words were full of spite.
“I want to warn you as a classmate. You don’t have friends, so you probably never heard of the rumors. I saw you being so friendly with Tsuyako Udate.”
Koremitsu’s eyebrows rose.
However, Honoka could not stop.
Suppressing the urge to hide under the table, she continued,
“She’s very famous in this school as the Moon Matriarch, but there’re bad rumors about her, like she’s very good at manipulating men, and that she dumps them if she gets tired of them…”
Honoka felt bitterness in her mouth.
Her throat was in agony, as if it was suffocated.
(No, this isn’t what I wanted to say to him.)
She did not want to say such vexing things.
She did not want Koremitsu to see herself in such a putrid state.
“Are you being fooled about, Akagi?”
She tried her best to eke out a voice.
At this moment, Koremitsu glared at her, and raised his voice, saying,
“Don’t say something baseless. You aren’t that type of person, right?”
Honoka felt her heart freeze.
(Akagi despises me now!)
She knew that Koremitsu never treated her as a girl, but she hoped to be at least someone he could trust and talk with, a classmate.
Her legs felt limp, and she felt an urge to cry, furious at this blockhead of a guy who did not understand her feelings at all.
“It-It’s your fault though…we agreed to go to the pool…I was the first one…”
(Right, I made an appointment with Akagi before Her Highness Aoi did. He forgot about everything here! But Akagi only agreed somewhat because I forcefully invited him. Maybe he doesn’t want to go there at all, but I’ve been looking forward to it…)
“What’re you murmuring about. If you’re not happy, just say it.”
All emotions swelled till her throat, and she lashed out,
“DID YOU FORGET THAT I SAID I LIKED YOU!?”
The instant these words came out, she was dumbfounded.
Wh-What am I doing…?
Koremitsu’s mouth was agape, absolutely speechless.
The classmates greeting each other went quiet, her good friend, the braided bespectacled girl, was covering her mouth with both hands, looking astounded.
The class was completely quiet.
(WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! I’M REALLY A BIG IDIOT!)
Honoka was so abashed her face was sizzling.
“Th-That’s not it! I don’t mean ‘like’! Not that at all! I mean ‘hike’! I haven’t been going out to experience the earth!”
(I might as well die right now…)
She had always played the role of the ‘cool and reliable Miss Shikibu.
But the image she worked so hard to cultivate was gradually breaking down.
At this moment.
A giggle could be heard from nearby.
Tsuyako was standing at the back door.
Her glossy red hair was draped upon her voluptuous breasts, the tail swaying gently by the waist.
She was akin to an actress standing in the midst of the spotlights, gracefully strolling to Koremitsu with everyone looking upon her, narrowing her eyes bewitchingly as she said,
“Thank you for speaking up for me, Mr Akagi.”
“What do you mean?”
Koremitsu frowned, probably feeling awkward about this.
Upon seeing this, Honoka’s heart sank further.
Tsuyako smiled, and said,
“I have come to invite you. Will you like to come to our club practice during noon break?”
Club practice? What’s that about? Did Akagi join the Japanese Dance Club? For the Moon Matriarch?
Honoka watched Tsuyako carefully, and found her outstandingly beautiful, her breasts something Honoka could not compare to.
(I-I’m just being a foul-hearted classmate here!)
She bit her lips anxiously, wondering whether to lock herself in the bathroom…
Tsuyako then turned to Honoka.
She showed an earnest smile, saying to the leery Honoka,
“Would you like to pay us a visit?”
♢ ♢ ♢
(Isn’t this development too weird or something? When did things end up like this?)
A few days later, after school–
With his back slouched, Koremitsu was seated cross-legged in a corner of the tatamis.
Tsuyako was in the middle of the classroom, dressed in a red-collared blue kimono with a red sash around her, dancing elegantly with a red fan; Honoka and the class representative with braids were gaping from the side, mesmerized.
“Upperclassman Tsuyako’s amazing…”
“Yes, she’s really pretty, Hono.”
A few days ago, Honoka was frowning, saying, “She’s famous, but there’re bad rumors about her”.
Once Koremitsu heard her say these words she typically would not say, he could not help but refute her, and Honoka’s loud declaration reverberated throughout the class…the situation was shambolic.
“Would you like to pay us a visit?”
Tsuyako invited her, and she went to the clubroom with her mouth pouted, the atmosphere claudicant. Once Tsuyako opened her crimson fan and started dancing, Honoka was enthralled by it all, watching with her mouth opened.
Once Tsuyako finished dancing, Honoka seemed to have snapped out of a trance as her shoulders jerked, turning her face away unhappily. Once Tsuyako spoke to her however, her face would turn red, flustered by this.
On the way back to the classroom, her face remained red, her vision swimming about as she spoke to Koremitsu,
“Erm…I-I think…I had a misunderstanding about her.”
At that moment, Koremitsu realized that something was amiss.
At this point, Honoka had become a devout fan of Tsuyako, and would often drag the class representative in braids to the clubroom.
Tsuyako smiled as she closed the fan, and both of them started clapping passionately, running to her.
“That’s amazing! Really amazing, upperclassman Tsuyako! Ahh, that was beautiful! I just searched your name on the internet, and everyone has been praising you, saying that you’re the red dancing princess! I feel really proud too!”
“I-I found photos of your performances on the internet too! Your red hair on the white kimono was amazingly beautiful!”
Both Honoka and the class representative sounded really excited, and their smiles became more pronounced whenever Tsuyako smiled.
“Thank you. I have a dance exhibition within this month. If you have the time, I will like to invite you.”
“Ehhhh? Really!? I’ll definitely go!”
Both of them cheered and squealed as they flailed about.
Shikibu, isn’t your attitude completely different now?
She always looked cold and aloof in front of Koremitsu, but became so chatty and noisy at this point. Though he had known that girls were temperamental like the weather, he was so amazed by this drastic change he had personally witnessed that he was unable to feel angry at all.
Hikaru sat beside Koremitsu with a knee tucked to his chest, showing a rational smile as he spoke with a clear and gentle voice,
“Girls are attracted by other beautiful girls after all. Tsuyako and Miss Shikibu are rather alike, straightforward, enthusiastic and pragmatic. Tsuyako too like girls like Miss Shikibu, so naturally, they do meet eye to eye.”
“Is that so…I really don’t understand women.”
Koremitsu was worried when Tsuyako invited Honoka, wondering what would happen. He was flabbergasted to find out however that they got on so amicably.
Till this day, the stalker Tsuyako spoke of had yet to appear, and she had been living quite the pleasant life every single day.
(She asked me to help her, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything I can help.)
She said she was troubled, that she did not know what to do, that if she were to keep this up, perhaps the flowers Hikaru so treasured would be wrecked, and requested him to watch over her.
Was that simply an excuse for him to join the Japanese Dance club?
Koremitsu again turned to look at his friend.
Hikaru sat quietly, his leg still raised, maintaining this position even when Tsuyako danced, watching blissfully as his eyes narrowed.
The deep gaze was ostensibly loving every single move the hands made, every single twist her neck did whenever she danced, wanting to embrace her in his clutches.
On the way home after his date with Tsuyako in the school, Koremitsu and Hikaru were walking down the dirt path under the sunset.
–What’s your promise with that upperclassman?
Koremitsu recalled the question he asked Hikaru before.
Hikaru’s shoulders shuddered, looking gloomy.
He then replied hoarsely,
–When Tsuyako dances on stage next time, I will definitely be in the stands, applauding her more than anyone else.
The thin strands of hair draped upon the pale cheeks swayed weakly, the neck and shoulders slumped feebly.
The grass lying by the roadside swayed forlornly, seemingly reflecting Hikaru’s feelings.
Koremitsu’s voice too became hoarse.
–Well…you can’t do that now. You’re dead.
–What do we do?
–What do we do, indeed…?
Neither of them spoke after that.
Hikaru often said that Tsuyako’s dance was unique.
He promised that whenever she got on stage to dance, he would be in the audience marveling at her. Those definitely were his sincere thoughts.
But this promise would never be fulfilled.
Even Koremitsu would not be able to fulfill this for him.
Tsuyako should be hoping for Hikaru to watch her perform personally.
It was meaningless for others to take over.
(What do we do…Hikaru…?)
Koremitsu harbored bitter feelings as he asked quietly.
Tsuyako, Honoka and Michiru were chatting happily, and as Hikaru watched over them gently, his expression seemed so fragile.
Tsuyako seemed to be guiding the duo on their dance movements as she stood beside Michiru, sometimes raising the latter by the arm, sometimes turning her neck, causing Michiru to blush as she followed suit.
At this moment, Hikaru spoke gently with a warm yet forlorn voice.
He seemed to have sensed the melancholy in Koremitsu’s heart,
“Koremitsu, I…I hope that Tsuyako can continue to dance, for her dance is really unique…when she dances, she looks like the red weeping cherry blossom.”
The prayerful tone stabbed Koremitsu’s heart.
What he and Hikaru could only do was the pray.
(She wouldn’t tell me why she’s crying, and she looks so happy, smiling whenever she talks about Hikaru…)
Tsuyako was probably strong enough to accept that the promise could not be fulfilled.
In that case, perhaps the reason why she pulled Koremitsu into the Japanese Dance club was simply to chat with Hikaru’s friend, just as Hikaru himself had said. The date she had with Koremitsu in the school was probably to reminisce the places where she made her memories with him, to mourn for her dead lover…
(I really don’t understand what women think about…)
If Tsuyako really hoped for it, Koremitsu could accompany her to the clubroom everyday after school, until the day she could let go.
(I really didn’t like calling her ‘senpai’ at first, but I guess I’m used to it now…)
He was instead happy that he had someone he could call ‘senpai’, and that he had a place for himself.
For he used to be alone all the time, and never joined any clubs…
Such a notion was too embarrassing, so he never said this to Hikaru.
At this moment, Honoka walked towards Koremitsu, and sat beside him silently.
Koremitsu was tense all over.
Honoka pouted as she tucked her legs to her chest, cupping them; after some silence, she muttered,
“…Sorry for causing you trouble recently.”
“…No biggie. Maybe my attitude wasn’t good either way.”
Tsuyako was still guiding Michiru on the latter’s dancing, and the latter was embraced from behind, her braids swaying frantically.
“I was mistaken. Upperclassman Tsuyako’s beautiful, whether she’s walking or sitting, whatever she does is beautiful. She’s like a celestial when she dances, unlike us high school students. She’s so cheerful, straightful. I really admire her, I want to be like her.”
“Really? You’re like her, you know.”
Koremitsu spoke as per Hikaru’s opinion.
“No seriously, I’m not like her. She’s of a completely different level from me!”
Honoka placed her hands on her cheeks, looking flustered.
And then, she smiled cheerfully,
“I know such a wonderful person can’t possibly fall for you. I’m relaxed now.”
Her refreshed expression was practically bleached through, showing nary a tint of spite as she seemed to sincerely think so.
“What do you mean by that!?” Koremitsu grumbled.
Upon eavesdropping on their conversation, Hikaru chuckled.
“It is great that Miss Shikibu has finally understood, Koremitsu. Your relationship with her is now as good as before.”
“Are you making fun of me or something?”
“Not at all. I’m saying the truth.”
“Isn’t that worse!?”
“Stop yelling into my ear!”
“Isn’t that your fault!”
As both of them continued to bicker, Tsuyako suddenly interjected,
“Oh ho, both of you have quite the relationship going there.”
Both of them turned around, and found that Tsuyako and Michiru were already in front of them, watching.
Tsuyako leaned her body forward, giving a teasing smile like a big sister. Michiru’s eyes widened beneath the glasses, looking really panicky.
“H-Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho-Hono! You and Mr Akagi are…”
“What are you saying, Michiru!? I already said things aren’t like that! How can I possibly have something going on with this delinquent!?”
Honoka’s face went beetroot as she exclaimed.
And Tsuyako then teased her,
“Is that so? Are you really not dating Mr Akagi, Miss Shikibu? You look quite compatible with each other, so I thought I was right.”
Honoka’s eyes widened, unable to say anything.
Koremitsu too shrieked,
“Th-That’s stupid! That’s not it, senpai! Shikibu and I are just classmates…”
“Th-th-th-th-that’s right! You’re mistaken, upperclassman Tsuyako!”
“Why’re you looking at me suspiciously, Michiru!? Why’re you retreating? It’s really not like that!”
“Yeah, Miss Shikibu was talking about hiking back then.”
Honoka was unable to say anything for she was teased to such an extent. Tsuyako then leaned over to her ear, and whispered,
“Tell me about that ‘hiking’ next time. I will not tell Mr Akagi.”
“Up-Upperclassman Tsuyako…! Th-that’s…!”
Honoka’s face was completely red as Tsuyako beamed.
“What’re you whispering about.”
“Just some little hushed words between girls, is that right, Miss Shikibu?”
Tsuyako giggled as she gently watched Honoka as the latter nervously fidgeted her fingers,
The earnest, innocent smile was exactly the same as Hikaru’s as he floated beside Koremitsu, smiling.
Are lovers similar even in this? Or perhaps it was because they were similar in this aspect that they got on well with each other?
Well, never mind. Hikaru has as many lovers as there are flowers. There’s nothing worth thinking about it.
At this moment, the door to the classroom was opened.
There was a person with black flowing hair standing outside, a white ribbon tied upon it.
Koremitsu was thunderstruck within once he said the delicate princess standing outside.
Aoi’s stare was hovering about, looking timid. Once she saw Koremitsu however, her expression eased somewhat as she seemed relieved.
Right beside Koremitsu was Honoka, whose shoulders quivered slightly, looking tense.
“What’s the matter, Aoi?”
Koremitsu walked to the door, and Aoi hesitated for a moment, her face flushed, before she spoke nervously,
“I want to talk to you about tomorrow…I just called you on the phone, but you never replied…”
“Ah, sorry, my phone’s in my bag, so I didn’t notice.”
“No, it is fine. I should be the one apologize. I should not have come here to look for you.”
Aoi bowed deeply, her flowing black hair swaying along with her gesture.
However, once she lifted that pixie face of hers, she clearly looked tense.
With a harsh look, she glared behind Koremitsu.
(What? What’s with her now?)
He turned around, and found Tsuyako walking towards them, her expression as tense as Aoi’s.
(Eh? Why’re they staring at each other?)
Hikaru sighed once he saw this, and could only cover his face with a hand reluctantly.
Once Koremitsu realized the bizarreness of this situation, Tsuyako had already shown a rigid smile, saying,
“…It has been a while, Miss Aoi. We have not met since Hikaru’s funeral.”
Her eyes and lips were smiling, but she did not look like she was; even her voice sounded stern.
Aoi remained silent as she scowled back; it seemed she was unwilling to greet the other party.
Tsuyako’s voice was somewhat agitated,
“You did not look that well back then, but you seem rather lively well. I am glad about that.”
Suddenly, Aoi’s face was flushed with anger.
“…You do not have to worry about me! I still have yet to forgive you! I will despise you forever!”
Koremitsu was stunned, for such words were not something one would simply say so carelessly.
Honoka and Michiru too were stunned.
Aoi clenched her hands, her petite body shuddering as she took a deep breath to rein in her furor. She then turned away to leave.
“Wait Aoi! Sorry senpai, I gotta go!”
“Okay…go accompany Miss Aoi. She is still a child, she might need some time to collect herself.”
Tsuyako looked as if she was trying to showcase her restraint as she spoke in a monotonous manner, and Aoi, upon hearing that, spat back,
“I am not a child! I was born earlier than you!”
“Yes, amongst the three of us, including Miss Asai, you are the oldest, Miss Aoi…but you are also the shortest.”
“Please, Tsuyako, do not say anymore. Miss Aoi has always been sensitive of her height. Koremitsu, go chase after her!”
Hikaru looked lethargic as he broke into a frown.
Koremitsu grabbed his bag and gave chase.
As he went by Honoka, he noticed her biting her lips in a lonely manner. Having patched up after much difficulty, would she throw a tantrum again? Koremitsu was perplexed by that, but he had to first handle Aoi’s business.
“See you later, Mr Akagi.”
Tsuyako stood at the door with a mature expression, waving her hand silently.
“Hey, Aoi! What’s your deal just now!”
Koremitsu huffed and puffed as he caught up to Aoi just as the latter was about to head downstairs. Aoi bit her lips, looking ready to break into tears as she angrily retorted,
“You can tell, right? I hate Miss Tsuyako!”
Koremitsu was in a dilemma once he heard her say this tearily.
Thinking about it carefully, Aoi was betrothed, and yet Tsuyako had an affair with Hikaru, unabashedly proclaiming herself to be his mistress. Naturally, Aoi would not have tolerated it if Tsuyako had been like this when Hikaru was alive.
(Hikaru had so many girlfriends, but Aoi really hates senpai for some reason…)
Aoi’s shoulders shuddered as she lashed out,
“Miss Tsuyako was betrothed to Hikaru’s older brother! And she had an affair with Hikaru…”
Koremitsu turned over to Hikaru, and found the latter putting his hands together, looking apologetic.
(What are you apologizing for, you bastard!? Are you admitting that you had an affair with your brother’s fiancee!?)
“Miss Tsuyako transferred to the boarding academy in England during her second grade, and…she had a meeting with Hikaru in the dormitory when it was forbidden for men to enter. A teacher so happened to witness it, and she was expelled as a realize!”
(A meeting in the dormitory?)
Her face completely red, Aoi continued,
“Last spring, she returned to Japan, her engagement with Hikaru’s brother broken off. She continued to date Hikaru, and at the turf club resort during the Golden Week, she kissed Hikaru in front of everyone!”
From what Hikaru himself and others had said, Koremitsu already knew that Hikaru was a harem prince without restraint.
However, he found out that Hikaru never did anything to Yū, never dared to kiss Aoi, his fiancee, for fear of annoying, and was akin to a bumbling father to the elementary school girl Shioriko. Because of these, his opinion of Hikaru changed slightly, that perhaps it was a misunderstanding that Hikaru was assumed to be someone without restraint, that he was a decent person.
(And you dated a girl in a girl’s dormitory where it’s forbidden for men to enter!? You’re the scum of Japanese men! You continued to date her after that? Is that some sort of sick thinking or something? Don’t you feel sorry for your brother and Aoi!? So you were alone with senpai in the Japanese Dance Clubroom for your own tomfoolery!? Tōjō talked about you kissing a girl while riding on the horse, that was senpai right!?)
Koremitsu’s veins were bulging as he gritted his teeth, his eyebrows raised at Hikaru.
Apprehensive, Hikaru slowly retreated,
“Ko-Koremitsu, you are scary now. That expression is vilish! You will scare Miss Aoi! Be gentle!”
(DON’T USE AOI AS A SHIELD, YOU SCUMBAG OF A HAREM PRINCE!)
Koremitsu’s blazing fury was not to be denied.
Aoi too could not control her anger as she continued to lash out in anguish,
“Hikaru soon died in the river after that, and I cannot forgive Miss Tsuyako when I think about how she had Hikaru’s last kiss!”
Her declaration and expression seemed to have broken Hikaru’s heart, for whenever she spoke, the latter could only groan.
“Miss Tsuyako does hate me too. She has been bullying me since our childhoods, and deliberately came to my garden…”
Aoi looked very agitated, and once she spoke till her, she suddenly stopped.
It seemed she suddenly recalled the term ‘being abashed’ as her eyebrows dropped slightly, her expression fragile.
“So-Sorry…I started grumbling to no end…I just felt uneasy when I heard that Miss Tsuyako latched arms with you around school and invited you to the Japanese Dance club…I thought you would be lured by her, so I came by to look at the situation. I wanted to confront her calmly…but when I see her, all the memories from before just appeared in my mind, so I could not help…i-it is really embarrassing. You definitely find me annoying, right?”
Aoi covered her face with her hands as she turned around.
(What am I supposed to do now?)
The only one Koremitsu could plead for help to had already retreated out of the overt sense of guilt. It was because of this person that such a scenario occurred; naturally, Koremitsu could not ask him, and did not want to anyway.
Once he saw Aoi shrink back dejectedly, he blurted, wanting to encourage her,
“I won’t cheat on anyone! I’m devoted!”
Aoi turned around in shock.
Her eyes widened, her mouth slightly ajar.
And a stupefied voice could be heard.
Hikaru too was gobsmacked to a point of breaking out from his funk.
(Eh? Did I say something wrong?)
But those were his true thoughts.
He knew Hikaru had his own troubles, that Hikaru truly loved every single flower, every single girl.
He also knew that Hikaru lingered on Earth to fulfill the promises he made to all the girls.
But even so…he could not accept how Hikaru dated so many girls at the same time, and he was committed to dating only one girl.
Aoi finally managed to breathe normally as her coral-colored lips exhaled slightly. She placed a hand in front of her chest, glanced up at Koremitsu as she looked down, and stammered,
“B-But…you called Miss Tsuyako as senpai…you must be on good terms with her…”
“You want me to call you that too? I’ll call you that then, Aoi-senpai.”
“Eh, well, that is…”
She seemed to have mixed feelings as she pondered for a few seconds,
“…I-I think it is better to just…call me Aoi.”
Aoi whispered shyly.
(Hm? What’s she shy about? What’s with her?)
Koremitsu seemed to be infected by her abashedness, and both of them remained silent, looking down awkward for quite a while.
“Erm…let’s go home. I’ll walk you back.”
Looking shy yet chuffed to bits, Aoi answered,
Behind Koremitsu, Hikaru grumble,
“I am simply a useless harem prince after all. Miss Aoi has scolded me countless times around. She hates me for being insincere.”
The pair walked to the bus stop 3 stops away from the one Aoi usually boarded.
Aoi walked slowly, and Koremitsu had to cautiously slow himself down to match her pace.
Hikaru looked as lethargic as ever as he followed behind them, his shoulders slumped.
He looked as gloomy as a ghost (though he was one), “I am hated”, and would occasionally say such things that would unnerve even Koremitsu.
“Erm, Asa is attending some enterprise management meeting tomorrow, so she will not be able to attend the garden party…I can say more things there.”
“Oh, that’s great. It’ll be troublesome if Saiga’s around.”
“Actually, Asa is not that kind of a cold-hearted person.”
Koremitsu questioned skeptically.
“She likes to collect animal pictures, and often go out to watch touching moves. She refused me when I asked to go with her; I guess that is because she does not want me to see her wailing.”
(That Asai Saiga with the poker face will bawl like a baby when watching movies!?)
IMPOSSIBLE! Koremitsu retorted silently.
(But she did help me when Shiiko was in trouble, and Hikaru often spoke up for her. Maybe she does have her good points.)
He then boarded the bus along with Aoi, and sent her home.
Aoi stood in front of her house, smiling as she said,
“Please take care of me tomorrow.”
“Koremitsu, you do have quite the chemistry with Miss Aoi. Am I bothering you two just by being here? Shall I ascend to the afterlife sooner?”
Clearly, he was affected by everything that had transpired.
♢ ♢ ♢
(AKAGI’S AN IDIOT!!!)
It was sunset, and Honoka was tapping at her cellphone, furious as she walked down the street.
“Hello there, Purple Princess.
I’m the Cinnamon Roll who talked to you about T from the handball club I belong to.
Thanks to your suggestion, my relationship with him has improved, and now we’re going home together after club activities. Currently, we’re just good friends in the club, but I want to confess during the summer camp.
Recently though, there has been a girl sketching in a corner of the school. That girl looks very demure like a princess, and is very cute. The male members are all excited, saying that the girl was looking at themselves.
T seems to be attracted to her, and even told me ‘what do I do if she suddenly confesses to me’. Does that mean I have no hope now?
Please give me some suggestions, Purple Princess.”
Honoka quickly tapped at the keys, replying to the questions flooding her message board.
“Hello there, Cinnamon Roll.
It’s already a great improvement that you’re able to go home together with T!
You did it!＼(^∇^)／
I know you’re worried about the girl who keeps sketching, but guys always admire those beautiful girls who are hard to attain.
Don’t worry! T will choose you to be with him in the end, a cute girl who has the same interests as him–that’s you, Cinnamon Roll!
You can try attracting his attention by saying something like ‘I’ll be troubled if that girl confesses to you…’
The most important thing is to say it carelessly though! T’s heart will race because of that!
Do your best, Cinnamon Roll! I’m looking forward to good news from you~ y(`－゜)y
(Right, it’ll be tough getting to a girl that’s unattainable. It’s easier to get along with a girl more approachable and who likes him back.)
Once she sent this message, Honoka felt an aching in her heart.
(Akagi doesn’t understand at all…)
She was so shocked when she saw Aoi at the Japanese Dance clubroom that she forgot to breathe.
Aoi looked around the clubroom uneasily, and the way she smiled once she found him was really adorable.
She was Lord Hikaru’s fiancee, dubbed as Her Highness, and was truly a Princess amongst the many nobles in the school. She had a pure, adorable look, but it was because of her purity that others found it difficult to approach her.
She never expected Aoi to show such a relieved, gentle expression.
(Every guy will fall head over heels when girls look at them with such trust. Definitely, Akagi too…)
It was really unexpected to hear her say such words about Tsuyako, but on a second thought, it was definitely reasonable. Aoi was once Hikaru’s fiancee, and Tsuyako unabashedly proclaimed herself to be Hikaru’s lover; naturally, Aoi would not be on good terms with her.
After Aoi stormed out of the room, Koremitsu hurried after her without looking at Honoka.
“…Akagi really likes Her Highness Aoi after all…even after he was dumped by her, he must have really liked her…”
Honoka’s thoughts became more pessimistic, and she slapped herself on the face.
“That’s enough already. I’m becoming an irritating again! Don’t think about Akagi! I need to stop thinking about him.”
She chided herself as she said this, but immediately thought,
(Akagi and Her Highness Aoi…where are they dating tomorrow?)
Her heart ached further.
At this moment, her cellphone rang.
“Argh, who’s calling now?”
Once she saw the caller, she felt angrier.
Honoka’s tone was not welcoming in the slightest, but the caller who annoyed her did not mind.
“Ah, is that Miss Shikibu~ I’m Hiina Oumi of the newspaper club, here to help troubled girls~ I’m sending over information this lovestruck Miss Shikibu will want~”
Honoka actually intended to hang up on the phone once she heard that rapid-fire teasing.
But before she could do so, Hiina spoke up first,
“Do you want to do some part-time work, Miss Shikibu?”