Hellping

Chapter 3-1 – June 5, I talked to Nitadori at school

I’m a high school boy and a bestselling light novel author, strangled by my classmate who is my underclassman and a voice actress.

This is my current predicament.

I know Nitadori’s looking confused, but I don’t know how i look in her eyes.

It’s just my guess–

But I’m definitely–

Showing a peaceful look.

Showing a blissful look.

Showing a look she had never seen before.

 

June 5th.

A change of months, it’s now Summer.

The temperature before had been hot, but I guess Summer’s able to interpret the lunar calendar, and it’s Minazuki now (TN: The month of no water, 水無月, if taken literally, even though it does rain in June)

The winds were strong, and as I stood on the platform, waiting leisurely, it felt comfy.

I got onto the train, and felt the air conditioning to be too strong.

The temperature was terribly cold, and I had a thin jumper over my long sleeved shirt. I’m scared of the cold, and a coat is something I will always heave.

It’s a change of seasons at school, and the students are dressed in summer attire.

It’s my first time wearing the summer uniform. I feel that the bright school crest on the left chest on the shirt is really cool. Private High schools are interesting in this sense.

I guess it’s to be expected of a Private High School. There is air conditioning inside the classroom.

Once the air conditioning starts, I’ll probably be so cold that I want a coat. Maybe I should be wearing the winter uniform instead? Or maybe something else?

Shall I buy a summer sweater or a cardigan?

I know the school doesn’t have any regulations on the type of coat to wear, and students can wear whatever they like. If sweaters and the like are allowed, I’ll be happy.

While I was thinking about that, the train departed on time.

I had a look at the watch, and saw that it was an additional seven seconds beyond the given time of departure.

My prefered watch is a radio watch I bought ‘to commemorate the sale of ‘Vice Versa’, and it would show nary a second of error. Again, I thoroughly understood how Japan’s train schedule is the most outstanding in the world.

On the other hand, Nitadori (and Miss Kamishiro) would arrive next to me at different timings. Sometimes, it would be three minutes, and sometimes, five.

So I sat at my usual seat, and tilted my chair back, leaning heavily into it, waiting peaceful.

“Hello…sensei…”

A minute after departure, or to be precise, fifty seven seconds.

Nitadori came towards me along with Miss Kamishiro.

She’s not as lively as usual, her head’s slightly lowered, showing a stiffened expression. She did not have her long hair tidied up as she sat next to me.

“Ah!”

Then, she hastily held down the wig that was pulled down by something, and lifted her buttocks. Again, she tied her wig into a bundle, and draped it before her, sighing against, before sitting down.

“Eh…”

There’s a reason why Nitadori was feeling so suspicious, so anxious, and probably so furious.

I was apologetic, as it was because of me.

Just a few hours ago.

To handle a predicament back the, I made a strange lie in school.

“Nitadori’s my girlfriend.”

I made this ridiculous lie.

 

On the previous week–

May 30th, the After Record for the ninth episode of ‘Vice Versa’ ended successfully.

After that, I had an interview with the director in the cafe of the recording studio.

It’s the first interview for me, but the interviewer would handle the rest, so all I needed to do was to answer cautiously.

I had met the director many times, from the script meetings, the venue visits, to the weekly After Records. I felt that I was able to communicate with him without tension, and state my own thoughts.

When the director praised the story for being amusing, I was really embarrassed.

The interviewer would vet through the answers, so once there are claims ‘that cannot be published’, they can be edited later. I intended to vet through them, and ensure nothing was lost.

Just last week, Nitadori and I exchanged contacts on this train, but that was the only time we exchanged texts.

I did not know what to write to her, and all I was thinking was ‘if she sends something over, let’s answer her’. But she never did. Since there’s nothing urgent, I thought it was fine.

From Monday, June 2nd, to Wednesday, the mid-Terms were returned to us. After a year, I finally obtained my own results.

The results could be classified in two categories ‘a lot better than I thought’ and ‘a little bad’. The former two were English and language, while the latter was maths. PE wise, my grades aren’t good.

But even so, overall, my grades aren’t bad for a first mid-Terms, so as I heaved a sigh of relief, I told myself to do my best for the end of terms.

But before then, I wanted to motivate myself into writing the continuation of ‘Vice Versa’, and I wanted to participate in the After Records of the anime.

 

What was most worrying to me last weekend, my classmate Miss Satake–

In fact, starting this week, until Wednesday, I had no issues at all.

I stopped arriving at school early like before, and learned how to enter the classroom right before homeroom period. It’s just a five minute walk from home to school, so I could easily adjust my time.

If I arrived at school a little early, I would just wait in the place Miss Satake could never enter–the men’s toilet.

The toilet’s very close to my classroom, and it helped me out. Once I saw the homeroom teacher approaching, I would follow.

And after class, I would immediately slip out of the classroom like usual.

My seat’s pretty close to the back door, and it’s simple. Miss Satake’s seat is at the front left, second column from the window, far from me, so I was able to escape before getting caught.

Before every period, I would slip out to the toilet to kill time. When changing classrooms, I would always be the last to arrive.

Miss Satake did not do anything to try to catch up to me.

I didn’t know if she knew I would have my lunch at the school cafeteria, but at the very least, she never showed up there.

I was wondering what would I do if she was to issue a challenge letter into my desk drawer

‘I’ll be waiting for you behind the gym! Don’t run away, come! If not–‘

That didn’t happen though.

I spent the entire previous week worrying about that, but she wasn’t causing any problems.

Until the third period ended on this day, I was feeling relaxed. That’s a dampener.

The fourth period was self-study period.

Once the period started, the homeroom teacher came to explain the reason, but I could not remember.

Miss Satake might come to talk during self-study period, so I intended to slip out of the boys’ toilet, towards the library, wait for the cafeteria to open, and slip out.

“Oh–”

Right when the homeroom teacher was about to leave the classroom, he stopped with his hand on the half-opened door, wanting to request for something, and said to us,

“I need three people, at least two, to help out Endou-sensei. Making pamphlets.”

Endou-sensei’s the humanities teacher in his mid-thirties. We did attend his world history lessons.

He’s short, so delicately thin. His face is thin, and has large eyes.

He’s always in a grey suit, so the petty students gave him the rude nickname ‘lil Grayman’, and treated him like a aliens.

I would hear the nearby seniors and juniors chat about this in the cafeteria. Naturally, they would not say this right to his face.

I was thinking that Endou-sensei wasn’t really popular with the students. I had yet to see him chatting with the students on the corridor or in the classroom.

In class, his teaching methods are detailed, and though not erroneous in any ways, to put it bluntly, he was monotonous.

Subjectively, this brash me would feel that such teachers would be most difficult to implement as characters when writing in school.

Having the students help out means that we’re probably asked to ‘fold some school activity documents into pamphlets, and stick something between them, before fastening them with staples’, or something like that.

I did that once in school. As I was helping out during class, there were no rewards.

Do I do some self-study (to a limited extent) in the noisy classroom? Or to help out the teacher who probably wouldn’t be too enthused when talking.

If anyone’s to ask me what I would choose, I felt that there’s no need to worry about it.

But as there’s definitely no one who would volunteer, I was guessing the teacher would just nominate a few people.

While I was guessing that the two or three unfortunate folks would be lamenting their misfortune, I started to lower my head, hoping that I wouldn’t be chosen–

“Sensei! I want to help! Along with–!”

I heard a lively girl say this, and was taken aback. Everyone else in class must be the same. There was some buzzing.

So who’s this anomaly? It’s a familiar voice, yet a voice I didn’t think I had heard before.

There were only two seconds or so for me to lower my head to ponder.

The speaker then mentioned my name, and added a ‘-san’ suffix.

“Both of us want to help.”

Wait.

No, wait.

Wait a sec.

Once the plot turned out this way, even this dull-witted me realized who it was without looking up.

Miss Satake.

Brilliant tactic. I’ve been had.

While our classmates were buzzing in confusion, Miss Satake continued,

“I do think it’s fine to offer myself for this troublesome work once in a while. But it’s bad to involve my friends. Sorry, but I’ll have the eldest in the class help me out! Seniority rules!”

So that’s how it is. Everyone else in class agreed. No, I don’t want you to agree.

I didn’t know what sort of face I showed when I lifted my head.

“…”

I took a deep breath, but I couldn’t say anything. I had no clear reason to object.

I couldn’t just say that “I want to avoid Miss Satake as much as possible, since I don’t want my own lie to be seen through.”

If I objected while looking flustered, I would just leave a timid, embarrassing impression.

“I see. I’ll leave it to both of you then. At the AV room.”

The homeroom teacher said,

“As for the third–”

Even without saying anything, I understood.

He probably assumed it’s fine if there’s no third person. Looking at things, I would end up helping Miss Satake.

Save me.

Somebody save me.

Anybody, please.

And that person was right behind me.

“Sensei, I’m going too.”

Nitadori became my hero.

She suddenly pulled her chair back, stood up, and said with a loud, clear voice.

Miss Satake, approaching me from her seat, showed a surprised look at this sudden contestant. Everyone in class is looking confused again, basically saying, ‘what is Nitadori trying to do’?

I heard an answer behind my head.

“I–hardly participate in gym classes, so I should help out this much, at least.”

While I felt this wasn’t much of a reason, there wasn’t much buzzing in class. I think what they were concerned about was that three people were chosen, and they could relax.

“Right, understood. Let’s go then, both of you.”

Miss Satake herself doesn’t seem to mind the troublemaker Nitadori.

While Nitadori’s assistance relieved me, I really wanted to run away.

Anywhere could do, whether it’s the infirmary, or any other country.

If I had a smoke or flash grenade on hand to block out everyone’s eyes, I would have used it. Just for this moment. If not now, then when?

But I never brought such a thing to school, and I never had it at home.

I slowly trudged out of my seat, moving like a walking dead.

 

The school campus was quiet, probably because the other classes were having lessons.

“Hehehe…I can say whatever I want next! No need to rush!”

That’s probably what she thought, I felt. The prey was caught, unable to escape.

Miss Satake was right at the front, and Nitadori was right behind. I wanted to run away, but I ended up about 3 meters behind Nitadori.

Miss Satake tapped at the AV room door.

“Oh, come in.”

The person inside answered. For a man, his voice was rather high pitched. No doubt it’s Endou-sensei’s voice.

Miss Satake and Nitadori entered, and I closed the door behind me, entering the room.

Like usual, Endou-sensei’s dressed in a grey suit.

There’s a long table in the AV room. There were four piles of printed documents at the table closest to the window, along with a stapling machine.

Looking at us, Endou-sensei did not really react much,

“Oh, the three of you. Satake, Nitadori, and–”

The teacher then mentioned my name.

He did not have a namelist or something on hand. Did he remember all the students he taught? If he did, that’s some impressive memory.

“So, line up in a room. Two people by the window. Basically, fold the paper neatly and pile them up. The last one will handle the stapling. If you’re tired, swap over.”

The instructions given were easy to understand too.

But even so, what do I do? What shall I do?

While I was feeling flustered, Nitadori quickly went to the edge of the table, and sat at the pile of documents. Through the glasses, she gave me a look.

I barely understood her intentions,a dns trode from the window to the table. Nitadori inched in, opening a space for me, so I was able to seat the edge.

Miss Satake was the last to move, and went to the other seat without a word, next to Nitadori.

“Alright, let’s get to work. It’s fine if you can’t finish before classes are over. When you’re done early, you can go to eat earlier. Looking at things though, it’s probably impossible.”

Endou-sensei stared at the stapler machine in his hands, and as he said, there were lots of time, so it seemed we couldn’t finish all the work within the fourth period. Over the next forty five minutes, I wouldn’t be able to escape from Miss Satake .

So what do I do?

What would happen?

Feeling anxious, Nitadori started picking up the documents, changed the layout, and quickly began to fold.

“Let’s work hard and do our best.”

As to be expected of Nitadori!

This tactic’s basically meant to prevent Miss Satake from talking to me.

I was increasingly unsure of how to thank Nitadori. I might even erect a ‘Eri Nitadori shrine’ and pray towards it every day.

“Ah, it’s fine. You can chat leisurely and work.”

And breaking up Nitadori’s hard work is Endou-sensei. This guy.

For a moment, I saw Nitadori stop her working hands.

I had all sort of thoughts, but I had to do something. I took a piece of paper from the pile before me.

It’s a promotional pamphlet for the first years, regarding the extra-curricular activities. It’s an event held by the school to allow the freshmen to build camaraderie. As for why this work is given to Endou-sensei, it’s still a mystery.

Nitadori continued to fold the documents neatly, and said calmly,

“But to be honest, I don’t know what to say…I don’t really talk to me. Isn’t it better for everyone to finish work quickly?”

She’s basically saying “To be honest, I don’t want to chat with you people.”

Of course, she’s casting the ‘Time to Play’ spell–at the very least, I thought she was acting. That arrogant tone was rather impressive.

And then, Miss Satake,

“Woah, this person here is annoying. If she doesn’t want to talk, then fine.”

If she had said something like that, that would be fine (though I’m sorry that it would affect Nitadori’s reputation). Unfortunately, she’s not that kind of person.

“I’ll get the ball rolling with my favorite novel.”

Woah!

No matter how stupid I am, even I knew what that meant.

Endou-sensei, who had been working at the stapling machine in a rhythmic manner, gave an unexpectedly large reaction to this topic,

“Eh, you are reading novels, Satake?”

But given the the impression I had of Endou-sensei, it might not be weird to say he loves to read.

I earnestly hoped that both of them would discuss about the Shirakabaha or Dostoyevsky, but of course, things won’t go as planned.

“Yeah, I’ve been reading light novels!”

Ah, the topic’s starting to creep towards the fortress called ‘Vice Versa’. She’s flooding the moats, and the fortress will fall.

I kept moving my arms, wondering what would happen if I were to jump out of this window within inches of me. Just to note, it’s the fourth floor.

At this point, I wanted to jump off the building to kill myself.

And so, I guessed Endou-sensei probably never read light novels.

“Oh, then which light novels do you recommend nowadays?”

Those words had me realize that I was wrong.

“Eh, sensei, you understand what I’m saying?”

“Well that’s fine. Anyway, what do you say?”

“Basically, I like lots of works. For Dengeki I have purchased every volume of ‘DuRaRaRa!’ and ‘Sword Art Online’, but right now, what I most recommend is–”

Ahh goodness sake, I know the answer.

“‘Vice Versa’!”

I guessed so.

From an author’s standpoint, I’m really happy. Personally however, I couldn’t be happy.

I accidentally folded the document awkward, and opened it again to fold.

And next to me, Nitadori turned into a ‘high speed folding machine’, giving a blank look as she repeated her actions.

Surely she was folding them to a precision of millimeters.

So does Endou-sensei know of ‘Vice Versa’? Curious about the answer, all I suddenly heard was–

“Oh, that one’s interesting.”

Woah.

“Let’s start talking. Now that you mention it, do you read light novels too, sensei?”

“I’ve been doing so before you were born. To me, it’s no different from an ordinary novel.”

“I never expected that!”

If it’s Dengeki, I knew of it since it was started in 1993. I did use whatever little pocket change I had.”

” I never expected that! You started reading since the last century!”

“Hm, Dengeki’s prime has been a few years. You mean last century! Goodness, now you are treating me as an elderly!”

“Well you are twice my age, so you can be considered elderly now.”

“One day all of you will be treated as elderly, so prepare yourself.”

“Leaving that aside, I never knew you’re a light novel reader!”

“I never mentioned this to anyone else before. Just to note, I do like anime and manga too. I never mentioned this either.”

“Now that’s unexpected. Then! I think you can be a adviser to the manga club or anime club.”

“Satake, I don’t know if you know, but there are no such clubs at school.”

“If not, let’s create one! Here’s where the story starts. Chapter one.”

“That’s something students will have to do. There’s no such plot in a light novel where a ‘teacher wants to be an advisor and assembles five members’.”

“No, I think it’ll be creative! Popular even!”

Miss Satake continued to prattle off with Endou-sensei in a rhythmic manner, so I prayed to God that they would continue in that manner. Even though I’m an atheist.

But even though, Endou-sensei’s interests are pretty surprising. I do feel that if students know about this, their opinions of him might change slightly.

During this time, none of us stopped as we kept on working.

After a quiet few seconds, Endou-sensei said,

“So, about ‘Vice Versa’.”

It seemed he wanted to continue discussing light novels. If only he could discuss other works instead.

I pretended not to be interested as I kept on working, and Nitadori’s probably the same. Actually, both of us were concentrating our ears, scared of missing out any words.

“I think it’s the most interesting work amongst the newcomers recently. It’s no wonder there’s an anime adaptation so soon.”

Great!

I prevented myself from jumping. Nitadori folded the documents awkwardly, and folded them again.

Endou-sensei kept stapling at two points, and I glanced aside at him.

The short-haired girl then looked towards me.

“…”

I hastily looked aside.

Was she planning to say something at this point? Did Miss Satake intend to mention the passage I recited? I thought Endou-sensei didn’t know about that?

Was Miss Satake intending to mention that and corner me into despair,

While I was counting all the debts I owed,

“So what do you like about the story, sensei?”

Miss Satake did not direct the topic towards me.

“I see–”

Endou-sensei said with his usual serious look,

“Probably the cliches.”

 

So I started listening to the conversation between the people praising my work.

“‘Vice Versa’ is pretty old school, too cliche even. One might say it’s a mashup of cliches. The story hasn’t deviated from the kingship, and there isn’t anything unique about the characters. It incorporates a large number of plots and backgrounds from other works.”

“Of course. It’s a ‘Super Episode Faceoff’.”

“I think that when writing such a cliche story, there has to be some form of determination. That’s why I think the author did good here.”

“I get it, I get it. ‘Pluto’s a girl dressed as a man. In the final battle, Shin used too much force and rubbed her breasts, winning as a result’. Now that was a typical plot that moved me.”

“Hm, that cliche’s great.”

“The setup to move between Reputation and Japan is interesting too, right?”

“That kind of setup allows for both serious and comedic moments. It’s rather bare bones, but I think it’s a good idea.”

“Yeah. I think if the story only shows one side, it wouldn’t be so popular.”

“I guess so. The author’s pretty smart.”

“Definitely an intelligent one.”

“You can say so.”

What’s with this humiliation play?

Or an interrogation?

Or praise?

I was feeling chilly on my back, sweat’s trickling down before I knew it.

And so, for a while, Nitadori had been making errors in her folding.

This intricate machine had malfunctioned.

 

“Want to swap over?”

Endou-sensei asked. It seemed he did not forget his work.

“Ah, I’m fine.”

Miss Satake said,

“Same here.”

Nitadori too said, and I wordlessly agreed.

“So–about ‘Vice Versa’.”

So he intended to continue chatting.

Enough already!

Let’s chat about the weather tomorrow! It’ll probably be sunny!

Maybe we can chat about what kind of meat we can put in curry! I like boneless chicken with skin! What about everyone!

I tried to release a telepathic ability limiter hidden within me–but it’s useless. I don’t have it.

“I think the author should be pretty young.”

Endou-sensei suddenly began his analysis.

“While his personal particulars aren’t revealed, I don’t think the author’s a female as rumored on the internet, but a male instead. Very young even…probably at college age instead.”

I was taken aback.

“Eh, why do you think so?”

“I made this guess after reading the work, and looking at the nuances and plots. I did say that the author’s able to write a huge mashup of cliches, and I feel it’s because the author doesn’t have a strong personality, or what I might say, the author lacks the ‘I’m writing this sort of story no matter what!’ attitude.”

Eh! Really?

“Eh! Really?”

Miss Satake’s opinion resonated with mine. Endou-sensei continued with his exhilarating analysis.

“I think this work, ‘Vice Versa’, is a novel written after the author ‘analyzed, dismantled and rebuilt’ the novels he liked. Thus, I feel that since the author’s young and unassuming, he’s able to write this work unpretentiously. One good thing about this is that the author never tried to clumsily insert his own personality and make the story awkward.

“‘Analyzed, dismantled and rebuilt’. That’s familiar.”

“Yes, these are the basic three steps in writing.”

I agree completely with the teacher. I’m not saying this just because I got praised though. I nearly nodded away, only to hastily stop myself.

“But even so, I guess the author’s pretty young. I wonder if you have realized, Satake, but in ‘Vice Versa’, there are a lot of ‘references’ used in the story.

“Eh? Which parts?”

“For example, in the middle of the fifth volume, there’s a hill fortress that was attacked by an enemy, right? The defenders wanted to deal lots of damage to the invading desert tribes, and buy some time for Sin and the others. All of them died on the battlefield.”

“Yeah. There was a dragon tamer I liked who died in that story. I was so sad. The enemy really liked him, and said that they would spare him, so he could just surrender. That soldier’s two sons and the dragons they inherited were saved though.”

“That sounded exactly like the Siege of Iwaya Castle.

“What is that?”

Allow the author to explain.

The Siege of Iwaya Castle happened during the Sengoku Era, year 1586, located at ‘Iwaya Castle’ in Kyushu’s Dazaifu.

The Shimazus tried to conquer the entire prefecture of Kyushu, and was said to have sent twenty thousand, or even fifty thousand to conquer the fort. Under the Catholic Daimyo Sorin Otomo, the vessel ‘Shigetane Takahashi’ led 763 people to combat.

Shigetane Takahashi refused to surrender over and over again, and inflicted a large number of casualties upon the enemy. This intense battle lasted for approximately half a month, and the Takahashis were valiantly wiped out.

The Shimazus won, but suffered heavy casualties, and required lots of time to regroup. Thus, they were unable to unite Kyushu.

When I first learned of this battle, that awe-inspiring way of life by Shigetane Takahashi really moved me.

“It’s a battle during the Sengoku period.”

Endou-sensei explained it with only one sentence. Concise, really concise.

“The story in the book was basically similar to that battle. I understand very well that the author clearly used this battle as the basis. I also sensed that the author could have involved other battles when writing this story, but he never did. Thus, I feel that although the author loves history, he’s not a history nerd, but one who has a vast amount of knowledge, though lacking in depth.

The teacher never continued, so I sensed that the implied ‘that’s why’ from him was probably a mantra of his. Well, leaving that aside, what’s shocking is that the teacher’s analysis was spot on.

As he said, I felt that ‘rather than writing a clumsy story using my lack of battle knowledge, I might as well…’, so I just used that battle as the basis of the story. I did inform the editor-in-charge of my rationale before too.

Miss Satake said,

“I see! Well, about the author though, I think it doesn’t matter.”

After hearing that, my body went limp, and the papers in my hand nearly slipped out.

“In that case, you shouldn’t have bothered with me!”

I wanted to yell. I really wanted to yell out loud.

Leaving aside the author, Miss Satake continued,

“To be honest, as long as the work is interesting, it doesn’t matter who the author is. Don’t you think so too, sensei? The author might be an evil person too.”

I think so too.

There were two people in the room who could be called ‘sensei’, and one of them answered,

“Hm, maybe. No matter how rotten the personality is, how stubborn and twisted the thought process is, an amazing chef will be able to cook up a fine dish. Also, someone once said ‘if you want to experience the joy of a work, it’s better not to know anything about the author’. Also, this author is a little…”

Endou-sensei started to make a rare stutter at the end.

I was wondering what he wanted to say, but clearly Miss Satake wasn’t.

“Of course! Actually, after reading it, I might think that the author’s a really repulsive person!”

“Then just leave me alone!”

I wanted to yell. I really wanted to yell out loud.

But while I could not yell, within my eyes, I saw that Nitadori, who was folding, suddenly stop her hands. It appeared she was shaking. Luckily, I couldn’t see her face, so I didn’t have to..

Well, leaving aside Miss Satake’s heartless words–

I’m utterly grateful that my opinions don’t matter. The minute hand on the clock continued to turn.

I was wondering how to spend this time. Nitadori’s probably thinking the same.

“Speaking of which, ‘Vice Versa’ has many Homunculus like Meek, with different eye colors. That’s a pretty cliche thing, right?”

Miss Satake kept on going.

But even so, I glanced aside at her, and found that she was actually working, and not actually slacking. She’s moving rather quickly too. In a fluid manner, she continued to sort out the parts Nitadori and I folded.

As we were ‘focused on working’, Endou-sensei would only answer her.

“Ah, I think it’s a pretty cliche setting. It’s difficult to figure out how to include heterochromia eyes. However, the author never used it to show how cool the protagonist is, but had it as the unique characteristic of the supporting characters, the homunculus, and rationalized it with the ‘eye embedding ritual’. I think it’s pretty smart, and heartfelt.”

Endou-sensei really knows a lot.

He read so many light novels before I was born, and it wasn’t for show. I really was impressed. He should be able to be an editor, right?

“Oh!”

Miss Satake answered, sounding impressed.

“All the homu homu have unique names. Those names follow some rules, right?”

It was the first time I heard someone call the homunculus that.

But it’s a little cute. (TN Snark: Homura called, she wants her nick back)

What if I have a certain tribe call the homunculus this? I haven’t written this part yet, but everyone speaks Japanese in Reputation, so this should be doable.

“How does it work…it does seem like there is, yet none…”

It means that Miss Satake and Endou-sensei don’t understand Russian. But I guess there aren’t many Japanese readers who know the meaning behind these names. (TN Snark: Paging Sumipe, paging Sumipe)

“But the meaning behind Meek’s name, I do know.”

Eh? But if you know the meaning behind Meek’s name, you should be able to figure out the meaning behind all the names, right?

I stopped and looked towards Endou-sensei. Nitadori too looked right, so i saw her black hair. Behind her, I could see the back of Miss Satake’s head.

“What does it mean?”

Miss Satake asked as a matter of fact. As he stapled, Endou-sensei answered,

“It’s probably the ‘Meek’ in English, meaning ‘obedient’, ‘servile’.” (TN Snark: The Meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity)

“Oh, I see. The homunculus do give off a slave-like feeling though.”

The moment I heard that–

No!

I yelled in my heart.

“No!”

Nitadori yelled.

 

I guess they’re both taken aback.

This girl had been working silently, and even at the beginning, she said,

“Let’s cut the talk and get to work.”

Yet she’s yelling loud enough to shake the room.

I was taken aback, but even those two discussing ‘Vice Versa’ were more shocked than I was.

“Ah! Woah!”

“Ah! Woah!”

Both Miss Satake and Endou-sensei were taken aback. Miss Satake even toppled over the pile of papers onto the table.

As for me, I could only see the back of her head, and couldn’t see how she was looking

I guessed she was fuming like a dog.

After looking at her, those two appeared to have seen a ghost.

I guess the older ones are the wiser ones as Endou-sensei was the first to recover.

“Ahh, that shocked me…So Nitadori, you read ‘Vice Versa’ too?”

He asked calmly.

“Eh? Eh? Eh?”

On the other hand, Nitadori was panicking.

She never intended to yell, but she couldn’t help herself. I understood how she was feeling.

I was unable to speak up, and could only observe silently.

“Eh, ehh…sorry for the sudden outburst.”

Nitadori lowered her head slightly. She then said,

“I’m going back to work…”

Nitadori wanted to run away, but Miss Satake, who had picked up the papers, did not let her go,

“Well, we could have discussed this if you well. Ah, but as you just said ‘let’s just work quietly’, you can’t speak up, right? But it’s fine! Sensei’s talking too!”

Just hearing the words, it sounded like she’s a nice kid worried about her friends,

But looking into it, it just feels like ‘I’m not letting you off!’

Maybe it’s just me reading too much into this.

Thus, Nitadori had to join in the discussion either way. But even so—

‘I have to participate in the conversation’.

It’s a lot better than that.

While I thought I was going aboard,

“Well, erm…I’m going to point out the mistake…”

Nitadori spoke with a rigid tone.

 

I shivered.

 

Those two people never realized this.

But I immediately realized.

And I shivered.

There was a slight change of tone when Nitadori said that.

I had chatted with her for long periods on the train, and heard the After Records. I knew that’s not Nitadori’s actual voice.

But whose voice was that?

Meek’s.

Right. That’s the voice of Meek I heard during her recording.

She’s doing that on purpose.

Nitadori’s definitely doing that on purpose. There’s a little difference in the voices of Meek and Madoko. Regarding that, I sensed that her acting was really intricate.

“That is not what ‘Meek’ means. Surely it is not the ‘Meek’ in English.”

Nitadori spoke using Meek’s voice. As it was directed at Endou-sensei, she was speaking in formal language. I guess that’s Stella for you, since her English pronunciation is so precise.”

“Oh, and that is?”

Meek, no, Nitadori answered Endou-sensei, and then to Miss Satake next to her,

“It’s Russian. The other homunculus are also named based on it. The word meek means ‘instance’ here.”

“Ah, Russian? Now that you mention it, it does seem that way. No, it’s not like I understand Russian in any way.”

“Heh, that’s amazing of you, Miss Nitadori!”

Both of them looked impressed.

And I started to feel dizzy.

It just sounded like Meek was explaining about Meek. We’ve going beyond 2-D and 3-D. What’s going on?

“So Miss Nitadori, how far have you read?”

No way could she conceal this fact anymore. Meek–no, Nitadori speaking as Meek answered pretentiously,

“I’ve basically read everything that was published…my friend at my previous school recommended it to me…it’s rather interest.”

“It’s going to be an anime now! You’re looking forward to it, right?”

“Y-yeah…I’m looking forward to it.”

Nitadori answered. Yep, she’s involved in it too.

“So, who’s voicing Meek?”

“…News aren’t out, so it’s hard to tell.”

Nitadori answered using Meek’s voice. Yep, it’s this one here.

“Who do you think is most suited?”

Is Miss Satake asking while knowing? Is she the niece of the producer or something? Did she know everything already!?

I guessed, but it’s a small possibility, so I just gave up on guessing.

I was curious as to how Nitadori would answer. Would she try to slip away by diverting the topic or something?

“I think–“

I pricked my ears for ‘Meek’s words.

“I think it’s for the one who loves Meek more than anyone else.”

 

A few seconds later, I was called out by Endou-sensei, who said to me

“What’s the matter? You seem really happy there.”

I raised my folded paper, and for the first time, I spoke up in this classroom.

“Feels good to be folding.”

 

To correct myself.

I was thoroughly stunned by Miss Satake, who doesn’t intend to push the topic towards me for the time being.

But even so, I had no need to rattle the snake.

I continued to work silently. I didn’t hate this simple chore. I had a look at the watch, and found that there were approximately twenty minutes left.

Endou-sensei moved the completed pamphlets to another table, before returning to his seat.

“So about Vice Versa–”

Ah, looks like he wants to continue.

Well, whatever, do as you please. I don’t care about whatever I hear, and I won’t be shocked.

“The focus of the future developments should be, how will ‘Shin’ change?”

Gulps.

I did not have anything in my mouth, but it felt as though something was stuck in my throat.

Miss Satake said,

“Eh? This ‘[Shin’…is ‘Makoto’, right? Not ‘Sin’?”

“Yeah, I’m referring to Makoto. Setting wise, he is an ordinary high school boy, but I’m guessing that his ‘background’ is not that simple. I’m guessing that Makoto will become an amazing final boss, and will battle Sin for the future of Reputation.”

“Eh?” “Eh?”

Miss Satake and Nitadori echoed in unison. The latter’s voice was back to being Nitadori.

On the other hand, it’s summer, but I felt a chill down my back. Then, I felt completely bedridden, unable to move, unable to do anything.

“No, it’s just something I randomly thought off–”

The heartless story prediction from Endou-sensei barged into my frozen years.

“Reputation is Earth in the future. The story mentioned that in history, ‘Two Great Kings’ had a battle of the fates, right? That’s why I think those two are Makoto and Sin.”

“I see!” “…”

P-Please don’t continue now, sensei…

“At the end of the eighth volume, Makoto ended up fighting Sin, and finally won, right?”

“Yes.” “Yes.”

Miss Satake aside, even Nitadori answered enthusiastically.

“While the volume never provided a specific description, why did the weak Makoto beat the immortal Sin–”

Of course, that’s because I smoked my way through on purpose.

“It should be a foreshadowing for a future plotpoint. Makoto’s able to use magic, or something like that, even though he’s in modern Japan.”

Warrrgh.

I wish a certain somebody can send a bomber jet to fly in the skies about, and start an air raid siren here. I’ll pay for the gas.

But this little wish of mine never come to pass.

Endou-sensei didn’t know how the author, just centimeters away from him, was sweating away. He continued his clear analysis.

“Makoto’s mother is a kind one, but she has something hidden. I was wondering if she was actually Makoto’s actual mother. Thus, I felt that in the second volume, the way his mother accepted Sin was a foreshadowing disguised as a comedy.”

“Oh!” “Oh!”

The two girls stopped working, giving strong reactions. As for me, who’s next to me–

I was wondering if I should hire an assassin to shut Endou-sensei. Like asking for a 13 year old tractor. (TN: Golgo 13)

“I’ve been thinking about Makoto’s name ‘Shin Tsumizono’. There are two words that can be represented by ‘Sin’ in his name.”

“Eh?” “Eh?”

“Of course, the first one is the ‘tsumi’ in the family name that sounds like ‘sin’. I guess this is a reason why the author used the nonexisting family name Tsumizono. The second is to read ‘Makoto’ as ‘Sin’. In English, ‘sin’ means that, right? Well, that goes for ‘Sin’ too.”

“Oh!” “Oh!”

Well, however you want to analyze and dissect, do as you please.

I started working. How do I quickly fold the papers accurately? I started to compete against myself.

“That’s amazing sensei! How detailed did you read the story? How many times have you reread ‘Vice Versa’?”

Miss Satake asked.

“Hm, at least five times or so.”

Endou-sensei replied in a manner that was hard to tell if he was being humble of boastful.

But to be honest, I was really happy.

Including the ninth volume released in March, to be able to reread so many times is a lot. For an author, reading that deep into the work is something wonderful.

I suddenly showed a smile. At this moment, the girl next to me yelled,

“I read it ten times!”

Ah!

Why compete about this right now, Stella!?”

Stella Hamilton’s probably someone a bit more foolish than I thought…

She’s probably the ridiculous type of person to act on emotions and not care about the consequences, I guess? Like choking someone.

Well, leaving that aside.

“What, that’s amazing!”

Miss Satake seemed rather impressed.

“You’re pretty thorough with it. I admit defeat.”

Endou-sensei responded. Since when did it become a competition?

Excluding me, the three of them got on well. What’s with this atmosphere?

I had a look at the watch. Since we couldn’t finish all the pamphlets, I felt that if I toughed it out, I could escape to the cafeteria. At the very least, I really wanted to run away.

While folding, I guessed Miss Satake didn’t try to talk to me as Nitadori followed.

“Sensei–”

Speaking to Endou-sensei wasn’t Miss Satake, but Nitadori, and I jolted.

I tried to remain calm and listen in on their conversation.

“What is it, Nitadori?”

“When you mentioned about the ‘Vice Versa’ author, you were only half done, right? I was curious about that…”

Ah, me too.

“Also, this author is a little…”

Endou-sensei once said.

Did Nitadori ask for my sake?

If that’s the case, I want to take back the ‘she’s kinda stupid statement’, and prostate myself before her to apologize.

“Ah, that.”

Endou-sensei kept tapping at the stapling machine. What will he say?

“Well, it is my personal viewpoint. I do feel this author–”

Endou-sensei’s pretty sharp in his analysis. I was really looking forward to what he had to say.

Whether he’s on the mark, it’s interesting, so i really was looking forward.

What’s Endou-sensei’s answer.

“His view on life and death is a little weird.”

What? That?

“‘His view on life and death is a little weird’–what do you mean?”

Nitadori asked.

I had lost all interest, and looked towards the watch.

“I don’t know if I’m right or not. When listening please be mentally prepared.”

Endou-sensei cautiously chose his words as he led off, before answering,

“In ‘Vice Versa’, those that were transported to the other world wouldn’t die, basically immortal. Even after the head’s gone, blown into ash, they’re still able to revive. Writing a world where ‘death doesn’t matter’ can be considered some form of fantasy.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I understand.”

Miss Satake and Nitadori chimed in.

I think that in ‘Vice Versa’, the author used the ‘can’t die’ concept to depict the plot in a calm, objective manner. It’s really obvious in Shin’s actions after he was transported to Reputation. For me, though many characters were slaughtered without mercy, the ‘value of life’ to the protagonist who had witnessed this was very light to begin with.”

Endou-sensei continued with his analysis,

“I don’t know if I’m able to convey this successfully. In any case, I just feel that for this author, the concept of ‘loving each unique life’ isn’t really there–for this author, whom I presume is still young, what experiences allowed him to write such a work with a weak sense of life? That’s what I’m curious about.”

“Hm.”

Miss Satake sounded as though she didn’t understand at all.

And even I couldn’t understand what he was getting at.

I could understand what the teacher was trying to get at, but I just felt that he wasn’t able to properly convey his opinions to others.

“Erm–”

At this moment, Nitadori’s voice trailed off.

If she was concerned about me, all she had to do was to show surprise.

After about ten seconds of silence, Nitadori thanked him, despite not exactly understanding what he meant.

“I don’t really understand…but thank you.”

 

The minute hand of the clock finally showed ten minutes left.

It should be time, right about time.

I proposed to Endou-sensei that it’s time to end, and intended to escape. Time to run. I tried saying this cool English term. I should be correct here, right?

Today’s fourth period was really tedious, but since it’s ending, I’m pretty happy.

I got caught in Miss Satake’s plot, and lost several years of my life due to fright, but I also found an unexpected side to Endou-sensei, and Nitadori actually being serious.

I neatly folded the last piece of paper, and quickly got up.

“So we should be done right? If we go to the canteen now, we won’t have to queue much.”

I suddenly spoke up, and Endou-sensei seemed rather taken aback,

“Ah? Ahhh–of course. The time is well spent. Thanks to the three of you. You’re dismissed.”

But he finally said the words to release us. A light.

I was about to take the first step out, but Miss Satake took the initiative.

“Ah, let’s go to the canteen together!”

I see. So this is her objective…

No wonder she didn’t do anything when we were working.

At the exit of the cave before me, the metal shutters slowly closed up.

“Eh? Why?”

I immediately answered, which I felt was rude of me, but Miss Satake took no heed to the jab.

“Since we have some spare time, it’s fine to go to the canteen once in a while.”

“Oh, and your bento?”

I remembered that Miss Satake would bring her bento every day.

“Actually, I forgot to bring it today.”

She’s definitely lying, but I can’t just tell her,

“That’s not true!”

“It’s my first time going to the canteen. Please tell me which one to order!”

Ah, she’s definitely coming along.

On a side note, I recommend the fried beef rice.

While curry rice is nice, I love the beef rice. The sweet taste of onions–no, it doesn’t matter.

I’m a goner.

There’s no way to run, and I can’t ask Nitadori for help.

To be honest, I have nowhere to go.

I’m doomed.

 

“If you are being too unreasonable, he might be feeling troubled, no?”

In the end, I couldn’t do anything other than to have nitadori speak up for me. She was on the chair, being cold and ruthless.

“Eh? Is that so?”

Miss Satake chopped, but those words could be read as,

“Oh, how annoying. Is it any of your business?”

It’s scary. I really want to run away.

Following this, at the next second, something startling happened.

“Oh, I hope you three will get along well.”

Endou-sensei said, and hurried towards the door.

“No need to lock the door. Nobody will steal these.”

After That, he said these words before leaving. He got away.

I understood very well

That like me, Endou-sensei really hates troublesome things!

This teacher is unreliable! No, doesn’t that make me the same? He’s the one fast at running. Why can’t I do that?

I was quietly rattles over and over again, but it was pointless.

I had to break through this crisis in my own way, and get away from here.

Just like the time when I woke up in the infirmary.

Well, if that was a ‘remain terms of severity, this would be a ‘four’, no, a ‘five’.

And so Miss Satake stood before the table, between me and the exit.

“Since you have read ‘Vice Versa’, Miss Nitadori, aren’t you curious about what was read before the tests? Meek will die after all! And then she’ll revive! No, she’s not exactly reviving immediately, but she will be!”

She’s saying this excitedly, probably for real.

“If what sensei said about ‘Shin being the final demon king’ is correct, Shin will become a really strong homunculus capable of reviving Meek, and at the very end, he’ll have her become an ally of his!”

Miss Satake proceeded to guess the following plotline.

Yeah, I thought about that, and the editor-in-charge agreed to it.

“I’m not going to die until I solve this mystery!”

Ah, that’s an exaggeration there.

She won’t die immediately.

Well, there isn’t a zero possibility of Miss Satake being afflicted with some serious illness. No, looking at how energetic she is, I guess she’s not sick.

Anyone who read the plot afterwards can solve the mystery to this story.

As an author, I’m pretty…no, very happy about Miss Satake’s feelings. She loves this work so much, and is so looking forward to the later developments. It makes me really happy.

I didn’t know if I was troubled, or gleeful. Miss Satake continued to attack me without mercy,

“But if it’s a web novel, of course I want to read it! I too want to know how to find this!”

Surely as a fan, I would have the same thoughts. Thus, I understood Miss Satake’s feelings.

“I’ll be working hard for this! Really! Even if the one who knows this has an intention to hide, I’m going to find and reveal everything.”

Miss Satake’s personality is probably the same as her appearance. I might say that she was intending to reveal the truth, rather than attack Nitadori.

And if I’m a fan, I’ll probably work hard for the same reasons. What she wanted to do, was what I want to do.

Right when I was spacing out, Miss Satake smiled at me, saying,

“So let’s go eat together.”

Eh? That’s a quick resolution.

I thought she would say some cool lines from a passionate fan, and it disappointed me. She could have continued. It’s not too late to start now?

So then, Miss Satake seemed to have realized my thoughts, and rejected that notion as she turned towards Nitadori.

“Actually, I’ve already understood what you’re thinking, Miss Nitadori. I know why you’re working so hard to stop me.”

Eh? Really?

“Eh?”

I was quietly taken aback, while Nitadori exclaimed in surprise.

Did she see through everything.

Was she trying to say that everything Nitadori and I did were recorded somewhere, and seen.

With both of us looking, Miss Satake said with the look of a famous detective who had realized the truth,

“Miss Nitadori’s…’the kind of person who don’t want to know rumors beforehand’, right?”

Eh?

“Eh?”

“During that recital, I was looking at the reader in surprise, and found Miss Nitadori behind looking a conflicted look. She’s showing a sad, elated look when she learned that ‘Meek may revive’. It looked like she was holding back her tears.”

I see! Thank you for telling me this! Miss Satake!

“…”

“Back then, I understood that Nitadori was watching ‘Vice Versa’ too.”

This is correct.

“And then, I understand immediately! She’s the sort of person who ‘doesn’t want to know the spoilers beforehand’.”

This petite detective raised her right index finger, her gleeful look very cute even–

But she was dead wrong.

This bespectacled high school girl who loves horse sashimi read my manuscripts because she wanted to know what happened after. She wanted to know everything relating to Meek.

“…” “…”

Both of us remained silent. This silence lasted for about five seconds.

Miss Satake probably assumed she was correct, and carried on,

“Nitadori doesn’t want to know what happens afterwards, and is preventing me from asking. As for why, that’s because if I do, she’ll hear whatever I share with the classmates! Spoilers!”

No no, that definitely didn’t happen.

I guess Nitadori should be very enthusiastic if someone’s to discuss the later plot of ‘Vice Versa’. She’ll be baited like a fish without feed when fishing.

After thinking too much, I was really tired.

I didn’t know what I should say. I could actually think of all kinds of conversations I want in the novel. My knowledge and experience would be insufficient in escaping this crisis. The only successful moment was probably the moment in the infirmary.

If I activate the ‘time to play’ I showed back then, I should be able to pass through this crisis, I guess?

With my mind already lethargic as I thought, I checked my memories, saying,

“That’s a grave misunderstanding, Miss Satake. Nitadori’s here not because she doesn’t want you and me to be together.”

“Oh, so?”

“…”

The two girls stared at me.

Without a care, I lied,

“Well, Nitadori’s my girlfriend.”

 

So why did I say these words?”

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