Monday, October 25, 2021

Too Many Losing Heroines! V1 Chapter 4 & Special Intermission 1

Chapter 4: When you stare at the losing heroine, the losing heroine stares back


Translator: Pingas


I silently put my hand on my cheeks inside the lively classroom as I listened to the chatters around.

Some are talking about the TV show yesterday. Some are talking about baseball. Some are talking about their friends or homework. Also, some people seem to be complaining but are actually showing off their relationship.

Nothing unusual. I don’t really need to pay attention. The people in my class are just living out their school life normally. They are doing it normally. They are accepting it normally. They are ending it normally.

“G’day!”

Remon Yakishio awoke me from my thoughts with her loud greeting as she walked inside. A couple of people answered her.

“Good morning- Nukkun, I had fun during the trip.”

“Uh, ah, …good morning.”

“Oh, right, here. This is for yesterday.”

She took a piece of paper out of her school bag and handed it to me.

You finished the new picture diary this quickly? I can see a girl running next to the train on it.

“What is this scene?”

“I slept too much on the train back home yesterday. This is me running back to the station.”

Why did you choose that scene?

“Well, I’ll upload it tonight.”

“Thank you-“

Yakishio waved and walked back to her seat. She greeted and high-fived her friends. Where does her energy come from? She’s already getting all worked up in the morning.

I’m already exhausted from the noise around in the morning. I stretched my back. Yanami’s body came across my view.

Recently, Yanami hasn't been staying with Sosuke Hakamada and Karen Himemiya. Instead, she’s hanging out with different groups. Her adorable smile is already available in the morning as she is chatting with her friends happily.

Yanami probably notices that I’m looking at her. She smiled at me while I looked away cautiously.

We still don’t interact with each other in the classroom. I don’t mean to reject any kind of interaction. It’s just that our relationship isn’t really a secret one, after all.

I can hear people laughing from the other class. I bet our class teacher Amanatsu-sensei walked into the wrong classroom. This happens twice a month.

Everyone in the class is used to it. The class assembly started as everyone got back to their seats in groups.

Today started just as usual, even though this only belongs to today.

*

Yanami left the classroom during the lunch break. I made my way to the promised place with a slight delay. We didn’t talk about this. Instead, it’s just a habit incubated over time.

I bought a carton of milk from the vending machine as I went around the school. After that, I walked outside the building and headed to the emergency stairs.

Just as I’m about to make a turn, I can hear girls laughing cheerfully. I stopped.

I remember those voices. It’s a small group of girls that are attractive because of their slightly exaggerated looks.

Subconsciously, I don’t think that I can deal with them. I heard a familiar name just as my mind was searching for an alternate route.

-Yanami. They indeed mentioned this name.

Also, what they are talking about sounds really ear-piercing. I shoved the straw inside the carton of milk as I listened to them.

“Yanami still got NTR’d by a transfer student after making it so apparent. I can’t stop laughing.”

“Right, I won’t even come to school if that happened to me.”

They burst into laughter nonchalantly.

…This must be the “Don’t tell me Yanami got dumped?” mood she talked about, right?

Of course, they won’t say those things to her directly.

However, these background insults will stay in the air and slowly sink into a person’s heart. Yanami already has to deal with this when I’m going around drinking water.

I shouldn’t listen to conversations like this anymore. Just as I was about to leave, the following discussion stopped me from doing so.

“Did you know? I think Yanami got a new guy.”

“Seriously!?”

…Seriously? I can’t help but lean on the wall and listen closely.

Yanami certainly didn’t act like she had a boyfriend during the trip.

But a guy like me can’t explain it for her. So, I can only hide my presence. After that, I can hear those shocked girls squeaking like a flock of birds.

“Who is it? I think the captain of the Basketball Club asked her out!”

“It’s that guy. He’s in the same class. I think he’s called…Nuku…mizu?”

“Nuku…?”

Oh, someone else is named Nukumizu- no, there isn’t.

So they are talking about me!? Was my presence already well-known to them?

Shit, where did it go wrong? Did people see us when we were having lunch? At the family restaurant? Or were we spotted on the beach coincidentally?

“Ahh, I think a guy like that existed. I think he’s, …uh, …in the middle of the class’s name list…”

That’s the only impression you girls have for me?

In contrast to my turbulent heart, the girls are silent. One of the girls yelled in disbelief.

“But Yanami is quite popular! There’s no way she’ll choose that kind of guy, right!?”

“Yeah, Yanami has some weird fetishes.”

“Yeah, even though I’m not sure how he looks.”

I remembered what happened all the way until now in my mind.

If gossips between Yanami and a guy like me got out-

The most important thing is that- she still loves Hakamada.

“Hey, Yanami’s really getting over herself just because she’s a bit cute, isn’t she? A proper guy won’t even get close to her, right?”

“They do match each other in a sense-“

The girls exploded into laughter again. I couldn’t listen to them anymore, so I left.

I also threw away the carton of milk that was crushed by my hands.

*

“No, listen to me, Nukumizu-kun. Don’t you think you’re pretty mean?”

The scene is now on the emergency stairs. The first thing Yanami said was about her long-awaited protest.

“Uh, what do you mean?”

“Didn’t I give you eye contact? You just ignored me.”

“No, look, it’ll be troublesome if people know that you have something to do with me, right? I didn’t say anything because of that.”

After I said that, I remembered the chatters of that group of girls.

What’s with this feeling of pressure on my chest?

“We’re in the same club. It’s normal for us to have something to do with each other, right?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ignore you.”

“Glad to hear that.”

Yanami understood what I was trying to say. She took out a bento box.

“A lot of things happened during the trip.”

“Eh? Ahh, yes.”

Even though a lot happened, I think it was quite fun.

I can follow up my own novel too. I thought writing books was a pretty lonely thing to do. However, it feels unbelievable after you have companions.

“I showed my cooking skills too. Here, your bento of the day.”

What did she show again? Yanami opened the lid as I struggled to remember stuff. There’s a sandwich inside. It’s not from the convenience stores. She made it herself.

I can see ham, cabbage, eggs, …huh, what’s the third one? I think I’m looking at cucumber slices.

What is that? I grabbed the sandwich with my hand.

“Cucumbers and, …is this wheat miso?”

So, it’s wheat miso cucumbers. The chewy cucumber and the sweet saltiness of the whet miso make an excellent pair.

“So, how does it taste?”

“Let me try. …Hmm, it’s better than I thought. This is nice.”

Even though the bread soaked up the water content of the cucumbers.

“Well, honestly, you should put a layer of margarine on it.”

“Ah, I forgot about that. The price tag will be lower, right?”

Right, I have to give her a price tag. Hmm, how much does she owe me again?

Since you have to prepare the ingredients beforehand, making a sandwich is actually quite hard. Well, let’s give her a 500 yen-

“They do match each other in a sense-“

The chatter just then suddenly played in my brain.

The adorable and attractive Yanami versus me, a background.

The only real possibility here is I’ve fallen for Yanami, not to mention whether we match or not.

“What’s wrong, Nukumizu-kun?”

“…2867 yen.”

“Eh, that’s a new record. It’s more like-“

Yanami tilted her head in confusion after a moment of excitement.

“Eh, isn’t that how much I owe you?”

“Yeah, you’re off now.”

“You know this is just a plain sandwich, right?”

I don’t think Yanami understands what’s happening. Her eyes switched between my face and the bento.

…Anna Yanami. Honestly, I still don’t understand her.

I have no idea when she’s being serious and joking.

She’ll mess with me whenever she finds it funny.

“I feel like I’m taking advantage of Yanami-san, and that’s not good.”

Originally, she wouldn't talk to a person like me.

She’s the upper-class in this school, a cheerful, popular, and adorable girl.

She’ll act like an idiot whenever it suits, but she also loves to cry sometimes.

“The bento is good. Thanks for making them.”

She’s a 12/10 main heroine. Hakamada will regret dumping her one day.

…Yanami looked at me quietly and spoke up.

“Even though I initially did this because I didn’t have enough money, I had fun making it.”

She took a bite of the wheat miso cucumber sandwich.

“I don’t like such a rash ending.”

She stared at her half of the sandwich. The mood around her began to destabilize.

“People started talking about you and I having lunch together.”

I observed Yanami’s reaction after saying that.

She stared at her bread with green stains without moving an inch.

“Yanami-san also hates weird rumors between you and me, right?”

Worrying about the silence, I continued.

“Yanami-san still has a lot of friends. There’s no need for you to hang out with a guy like-“

“Stop. I can’t follow you.”

Yanami put back the lid on the bento box and interrupted me.

“Did I do something that made you angry?”

“No!”

I was surprised at how loud I was. I shook my head and calmed down.

“…No, I don’t hate you.”

“Really?”

I looked away from Yanami’s face.

However- I hate what’s happening now.

The Yanami I know loves Hakamada.

The Yanami who still loves that guy is right here.

Therefore, I don’t want to acknowledge gossip that isn't true to Yanami’s appearance and feelings.

“I…hate people talking bad about us.”

I looked at my unfinished sandwich after finally explaining everything.

Yanami didn’t answer.

I feel like I should say something. Just as I struggle to come up with words, Yanami puts the bento box onto my lap.

“…I got it. Yeah, I understand.”

Yanami ended the conversation with a forceful tone.

“I won’t talk to you from now on.”

Yanami stood up after saying that.

“Thanks for what you’ve been doing. It’s been fun. Goodbye.”

Yanami was so cold that I forgot to breathe. She quickly finished saying all that, shoved the bento box to me, and left the emergency stairs.

…It’s all over, with a couple simple sentences like that.

Yanami didn’t even look back at me.

She’ll at least glance back at me. I was probably looking forward to things like that.

I’m the only one left on the emergency stairs. I opened the box.

Her handmade sandwich is tidily put inside the box. If you take a closer look, she added two small tomatoes in the corners to make it less plain.

I bet she woke up pretty early to prepare for our lunch meeting.

There are only 3 days left until the closing ceremony. It wasn’t until now that I realized I was already losing things that used to exist next to me.

*

I’m already on my bed without even eating much at dinner.

How many times do I have to go through this? My mind keeps replaying the conversation during the afternoon.

…That’s alright.

Yanami and I probably aren’t even friends, not to mention lovers. I don’t think two people living in different worlds communicating with each other can always stay happy.

Moreover, I’m the reason why people started talking shit about her-

“Onii-sama looks really out of it. Did something happen in school?”

As if I got caught in a dead-end, I trapped myself in endless thoughts. Kajyu was already lying next to me when I snapped out of it.

“…Kajyu, don’t just crawl into onii-san’s blanket.”

I looked at the ceiling dazedly. I didn’t really have the energy to complain, so I just casually reminded her.

Kajyu started chuckling as she poked my cheeks.

“Hmph-hmph, did you get dumped?”

“Well, you can put it that way.”

Kajyu’s aura immediately turned murderous after I let that slip out.

“Onii-sama!? I knew it. Kajyu is really suspicious of what onii-sama is doing recently!”

Suddenly, Yanami’s charming and innocent smile appeared in front of me. I turned around to avoid Kajyu’s suspicious glances.

“Don’t tell me you’re into that cute girl that had a barbecue with you?”

“Wait, how the hell did you know that!?”

I immediately jumped up from my bed after saying that. Kajyu gave me a pretty fake smile.

“Onii-sama is finally looking at Kajyu.”

“You were there too? By the way, how much did you see?”

“Hmm, well, Kajyu will answer this question if onii-sama tells Kajyu about that person.”

Kajyu put her finger onto her lips naughtily.

“Right, you can also open Kajyu’s lips forcefully, okay?”

I ignored what Kajyu said and laid back on the bed again.

“Don’t get the wrong idea. She and I are just classmates in the same club. Also, that girl already has someone she loves.”

“Well, what about that other short-haired girl? Onii-sama really matches a cheerful girl like her too.”

“That girl is also just a normal classmate. She has someone she loves too.”

Kajyu thought for a second and clapped her hands.

“Don’t tell me it’s that glasses girl with a mature look. But, I think things will get messy.”

“That person is going out with our Prez.”

“…There’s also a girl who looks relatively insignificant. Don’t tell me-“

Clouds formed on Kajyu’s face.

“No, but, …if she’s really what onii-sama has chosen, …Kajyu will try her best to accept it.”

You’ve been talking nonsense since then. Anyway, now I know that Kajyu has already seen everything clearly.

“That's why I said don’t get the wrong idea. I’m just a bit tired after the trip.”

I turned my back against Kajyu again.

“Onii-san has to rest. Kajyu should go back too.”

“N-o, Kajyu won’t move an inch until I know who’s onii-sama’s true love, even if you come at me with a crowbar. Kajyu must witness whether that person suits onii-sama- hiya!”

I carefully wrapped a towel around Kajyu. I guess she’ll be quieter this way.

“…Kajyu is surrounded by onii-sama’s scent.”

I think my little sister just said something insanely disgusting.

“Onii-sama’s feelings are radiating all over Kajyu’s body. Kajyu will try to fathom that feeling and find the best partner for onii-sama-“

She’s even noisier than before.

I added another blanket onto her as I became lost in thought again.

My choice, actions, and the last conversation with Yanami-

I didn’t find any answers. So, I have to face the feeling hiding inside my heart that mere words can’t describe.

<Today’s remaining debt: 0 yen>

*

The next day. 2 days until the closing ceremony.

I returned to my daily life – having lunch alone. I’m sitting at the familiar emergency stairs after finishing my tuna sandwich and milk in a couple bites. Then, I started writing the novel from where I left it. At the same time, I also have to pay attention to when I should go back to the classroom.

It’s only been a day after our lunch, yet it already feels like a distant memory. Did I really spend my lunch breaks with Yanami?

I didn’t talk to anyone. I paid attention to when the bell would ring as I got back to my own seat.

I glanced at her. She’s chatting happily with her classmates.

“What’s wrong, Nukkun? You seem pretty out of it.”

Yakishio dashed into my loneliness. She squatted down and put her arms on my table, raised her head, and looked at me.

“Relax, I’m always out of it.”

Yakishio, please. I’m sorry, but I have something on my mind now. No matter how cute you are, I don’t want to deal with you-

“Hmph, you say that, but you keep paying attention to someone.”

…You little. Don’t say that in the classroom.

Yakishio stood up and looked at me silently. A smile appeared on her wheat-color cheeks.

“Even though I’m not sure what’s happening, you’ll regret it if you don’t say things properly.”

“…Regret?”

Yakishio showed her shiny white teeth and brutally hit my back as I repeated her line like a parrot.

“This is coming from someone who experienced it before.”

This heavy sentence is filled with realism.

*

It’s after school. I’m leisurely walking on the path to the clubroom that no one passes through.

I noticed one thing after our lunch was over. A day in school seems to be so much longer now.

Until yesterday, I was thinking about our lunch from morning and remembering it after lunch. In contrast to yesterday’s me, you can say I’ve lost my soul today.

“…Shit, am I a puppy waiting to be fed?”

The after-school club activity is the only thing on my schedule in school.

Even though I’ll only be listening to Komari talking shit about me there, it’s pretty useful for me to avoid the crowd next to the shoe shelves.

I pressed on the handle on the clubroom’s door. It’s not locked. The earliest to arrive is usually Komari or me.

Is Komari already here? My body froze after opening the door.

“Yanami-san.”

Anna Yanami is inside.

She stopped reaching her hand to the bookshelf. I can see my reflection in her eyes that I can’t interpret any feelings from.

“Ah, Nukumizu-kun. It’s been a long time.”

We were in the same classroom, not to mention yesterday. It’s anything but a long time. However, I can’t find anything better to say.

“You’re here. Are you staying?”

“I’m just here to return the books. My friends are waiting for me. I’ll be leaving.”

Yanami looked away and put on her schoolbag.

I realized one thing when Yanami was leaving the clubroom.

There’s no logic, and I’m not sure of the reason too, but I do understand.

-If I don’t say anything now, things will really be over between her and me.

“Yanami-san, can you wait for just a second?”

“…What? My friends are still waiting for me. Make it quick.”

Yanami didn’t turn back. She answered me calmly. Her tone reduced my courage.

“If you don’t have anything to say, I’ll-“

“Wait, Yanami-san.”

Yanami and Yakishio didn’t get to express their feelings. I can feel their confusion and regret.

“Didn’t we share a lot of bentos together these days? Actually, I’ve been looking forward to what bento I can eat every day.”

Komari tried her best despite knowing her feelings wouldn’t be returned. I can feel her determination.

“So-“

“So?”

Yanami seemed to have interrupted me on purpose.

So…?

Of course, we aren’t lovers. Friends- we probably aren’t even that.

It’s just an unclear relationship constructed by money.

“I’ve been…happy too. I just want to tell you that.”

Yanami held the door handle tightly. She just stood there.

After the time the two of us needed has passed-

“…Oh.”

She said that emotionlessly and opened the door in silence.

Due to the light coming in from the corridor, I didn’t see her expression when she turned back.

“Well, goodbye.”

*

So, I greeted the next day dazedly. The closing ceremony is tomorrow.

The mood in the classroom is even more lively due to the imminent summer holiday. Even Amanatsu-sensei, who messed up the date and gave us the summer holiday notice, looks incredibly adorable too.

It’s the last lunch break of this semester. I’m already used to killing time in the emergency stairs. I watched the playground as I chewed curry bread.

Since the highest temperature is over 35 degrees, lunch practices are banned. I can see Yakishio brought away by the PE teacher when she tried to run.

“What is that girl doing…?”

I lowered my head due to the dry wind blowing from the playground. Someone’s walking up just as I’m picking away the sand grains on the bread.

I can’t help but straighten my back.

“Y-You are here.”

What was I even expecting? Chika Komari appeared in front of me. She came next to me with a carefree attitude.

“Komari, why are you here?”

“Y-You said it, right? I-I can come here to have lunch.”

Right, why did you have to say unnecessary stuff like that, me in the past?

“A-Also, I-I’ve heard that Nukumizu g-got dumped.”

As if she couldn’t hold it anymore, Komari’s lips curled upward.

“I-I want to say that’s what you deserve. So, I-I can’t help but come to you.”

I’ll shove a bunch of wrapping papers into her mouth.

“Why did you know that?”

“O-Of course I do, you two did that in the clubroom, after all.”

“By the way, Yanami-san and I aren’t like that.”

“Y-You really hate giving up.”

Komari took out butter rolls from her pocket and started eating slowly. It’s the 6-in-1 pack from the supermarket.

“M-Moreover, how can Nukumizu be the only one to feel happy? T-That’s too arrogant.”

“Right, you got rejected a while ago.”

“S-Shut up.”

However, do Yanami and I really look like a couple in a fight in other people’s eyes?

That’s impossible. That’s…that’s…what is it? I can’t help but smile bitterly.

…In the end, I’m not really Yanami’s anyone. This temporary contact disappears when the debt has been paid. That’s all.

My appetite went away after acknowledging that. I put the half-finished curry bread into the package.

“That’s the only thing you’re eating for lunch?”

I looked at Komari. She frowned as she ate the second butter roll. This girl, did she not even bring something to drink? Without hesitation, I handed her the carton of milk I had bought from the vending machine.

“Here, this is for you. You’ll choke if you don’t drink something.”

“A-Are you sure? What about you, Nukumizu?”

“I have tea.”

“Content: raw milk…”

Komari shoved the straw inside with sparkling eyes. I feel like I’m feeding a stray cat.

Even so, you have to feed stray cats responsibly. You either have to keep a suitable distance from it or take responsibility and bring it back home.

Komari noticed and looked at me vigilantly.

“I-It’s too late even if you want it back.”

…By the way, I remembered.

Pets are banned in my house.

*

Expectedly, I didn’t have much fun talking with Komari. I left the old school building when there was half of the time left.

Well, I’ll lend the emergency stairs to Komari today.

“You’re here, Nukumizu. I had a hard time finding you. -Ah, hey, wait!”

For a moment, I almost left because I didn’t realize someone was talking to me.

The person in question is Yanami’s dream lover, Sosuke Hakamada.

“Uh, …what’s wrong?”

Huh, why is everyone looking for me today?

“I’m sorry. It’s hard to say this in front of too many people. Can you come with me for a bit?”

I followed him into the desolate old school building.

…Yep, I bet it’s that plot.

“I’m sorry, Nukumizu. I want to talk about-“

I handed out my wallet silently.

“Why are you handing out your wallet?”

“Uh, no, I thought it was something else.”

I quickly put my wallet back. I messed up. It’s not blackmailing.

“I didn’t know Nukumizu likes to play dumb.”

Sosuke Hakamada laughed. It’s my honor to amuse you.

Well, why did you talk to me then? Hakamada looked around as if it was a hard thing to say.

“Nukumizu, you…have been seeing Anna, right?”

Anna. Oh, he’s talking about Yanami-

“…Eh!? No, right? Do I even know her?”

I freaked out as Hakamada watched me. His expression calmed down.

“Stop pretending. There are rumors about a loving couple proposing and doing something secretly everywhere.”

Eh- what the hell is that? This is too much for a misunderstanding.

“No, no, that’s not true. Well, I mean, you’re not wrong, but you got the fundamentals incorrectly.”

“Don’t feel embarrassed. When did you two start going out?”

That didn’t even happen. Also, is this why this dude called me here?

So, is it another cliché plot again? Is he going to say things like, “don’t you dare lay a finger on my childhood friend”?

Hakamada is especially impressive during PE lessons. Even though it’s obvious who’ll win in a fight, I’m still a male. I guess I can still last for 2 seconds-

“I’ll leave Anna in your hands!”

Hakamada suddenly bowed at me.

…Ha? What do you mean? What did he just say?

“Wait! There’s a lot of misunderstandings!”

“Also, I’m really glad too. If Yanami has someone she loves, I want to support her as well.”

“No, that’s why I said…”

Can you please just listen to me? Is this guy deaf? Or is he a rom-com MC?

“Sorry, I just want to chat with you since I don’t really know you.”

“Ah, well, sure, a chat is fine with me.”

By the way, Hakamada is the guy that rejected Yanami. Perhaps a misunderstanding like this won’t cause any trouble to him.

However, what’s with this hard-to-describe feeling in my heart?

Hakamada smiled at me. I can’t sense any trace of hostility from him.

“If it’s possible, let’s hang out with the 4 of us-“

“No, I’ve said this a lot of times before. Please listen to me.”

“Ah, sorry, I’ve been the one doing all the talking.”

That’s not why you should apologize.

…Ah, right. This is the only thing that matters now.

I walked toward Hakamada with a stern face.

“…Yanami-san has always been in love with Hakamada since a long time ago, right?”

“Uh, hey, why are we suddenly talking about this?”

“You know that, right? She loves you.”

I’m not Yanami’s friend. Why do I have to say that to a guy that rejected her?

Hakamada looked away a bit confusedly. He rubbed his nose to cover his embarrassment.

“Uh, well, I do know. So, if she finds someone new to love-“

“She still loves you now! Present continuous tense! Don’t try to hide these things with a misunderstanding!”

It’s nice that I followed the momentum and said that, but how should I end this conversation? Ahh, right. I have to explain one more thing too.”

“…Also, Yanami-san and I aren’t like that.”

“Well, then why did you two have lunch together?”

It’s because you rejected Yanami and ordered a steak set in the family restaurant. At least none of this would happen if Yanami didn’t add desserts and udon.

In other words-

“It’s because you two ate too much.”

“Uh? What was that?”

I missed the opportunity to end the conversation again.

“It’s nothing. The problem is on my end.”

By the way, this guy is really hard to deal with. Is this what a rom-com MC feels like in real life?

Just as I’m complaining why I didn’t end this sooner, Hakamada’s face suddenly turned stiff.

What? He looks like he just saw a wild bear-

I followed his direction. A girl is shivering in front of us.

“Eh!? Anna!?”

“Hey, what were you two…t-talking about?”

I don’t know whether she’s angry or embarrassed. She blushed and glared at us.

“Yanami-san, why are you here!?”

“Komari-chan just texted me. She said Nukumizu got into a fight with a handsome delinquent, and it got very hot. I was guessing maybe it’s Sosuke, so I came here-“

She looked at Hakamada and me in disbelief.

“…So, what’s going on?”

What’s going on? I don’t know. Also, what was the “hot” part Komari talked about?

“By the way, Nukumizu-kun. What did you just say to Sosuke?”

“Ah, well, we were talking about the limited mint chocolate Garigari-kun popsicle tastes very good.”

“…Be honest when I can still forgive you.”

That’s definitely a lie. She’s giving me a serial killer’s stare.

I feel like she has seen everything, but I must not admit it right now. For some reason, I feel like my punishment will be lighter if I remain silent until things get exposed than pleading guilty.

“Wait, I just forced him to spill everything out. Nukumizu didn’t do anything wrong.”

Hakamada covered me and said unnecessary things.

“Everything!? What do you mean by everything!?”

Yanami is shivering intensely. She’s shivering harder than a chihuahua during cold weather. Perhaps Hakamada is trying to comfort her. He put his hands on her shoulders.

“I’m sorry, Anna. I was thinking it will be great if you can find someone new to love.”

“Eh?”

Yanami seems to have finally understood. Her face immediately went pale.

“…Stop it.”

Her murderous aura just then disappeared suddenly. Yanami recoiled. She almost looks like a size smaller. However, Hakamada is unaware of it as he approaches Yanami.

“I want you to be happy. There’s a better person than me-“

“Stop it-“ Yanami’s about to collapse. At that moment, my body moved on its own. I grabbed Hakamada’s hand and dashed in between them.

“You! Stop it!”

I know I’m wrong. I don’t have a role here. Even so, I.

“Hey, Hakamada! It’s fine for you to reject someone. Reject anyone you want, whether it’s Yanami or some other girl!”

…I can feel Yanami’s glare saying that she’ll absolutely murder me on the spot.

“But if you just decide Yanami’s feeling on your own, that is equal to throwing her love for you away!”

The vague feelings inside my heart are all pouring out as crystal-clear words.

“If you rejected her, don’t say things like you want her to be happy or finding someone else to love! You’re the only person unqualified to say those things!”

…Ah, damn it. This guy, Hakamada, looks just as handsome up close.

Hakamada isn’t all looks either. He’s very kind and humble to everyone. I’m just getting mad on my own.

Unlike this guy, I’ve only spent a short time with Yanami. Of course, not to mention that I’m in no way special or close to her.

However, even though I’m an irrelevant person, I saw her tears and determination next to her.

“Protect her as a friend! Don’t just swirl her up into your guilt just because you rejected her!”

I don’t scream often. I choked after doing that.

Hakamada stroked my back worriedly.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“A-Ahh, …I’m fine.”

…Holy shit, I can’t believe I said something so cringy.

If I’m as attractive as him, can I face Yanami directly?

My body gave up suddenly.

“…Indeed, you’re right, Nukumizu.”

“Eh? Ahh, well. I’m sorry for doing all the talking.”

I can’t help but apologize. Hakamada reached his hand out to me. I also reached my hand out worriedly-

“Stop saying who’s rejecting who!”

I was sent flying after I heard that scream.

“Who gave you two the right to end this on a happy note!? Don’t just get back on good terms on your own! Are you two’s brains filled with bubble tea!?”

“Uh, well-“

Yanami stepped on the gas and rushed toward us.

Hakamada made the first sacrifice.

Yanami grabbed Hakamada’s chest and buried her face into it.


“I’ve always loved Sosuke! Right now too! I’ve never let go!”

“Anna, I’m sorry-“

“But, don’t apologize! What do you mean by someone new to love? Mind your own business!”

A 12-year serving of feelings started falling out of Yanami’s eyes. She buried herself harder into Hakamada’s chest.

“I will still continue to love you! So, you should be happy together with Karen Himemiya! Mind your own happiness!”

She leaned on Hakamada after saying that with tears.

I’m still waiting for my chance to escape. Suddenly, Yanami raised her head from Hakamada’s chest.

“I’ve fallen with you on my own. So, I don’t know whether I’ll fall in love with someone else on my own too!”

Yanami released her hands and pushed Hakamada away as if she had let go of something.

Then, as if she was searching for her next prey, she gritted her teeth and turned around. Scary.

“Nukumizu-kun! Uh, what was I going to say to you earlier!?”

“Well, uh, there’s nothing to say to me, right?”

“You’re right! I have nothing to say to you!”

Bam. Yanami smacked my head. Hard. It hurts.

“So, why was I punched?”

“No reason!”

Eh, that’s impossible. I just stood there without doing anything. Next, Yanami poked my chest and started complaining to me non-stop.

“Listen, even though you’re probably considerate to me when you’re doing things! Don’t you dare to decide who’s close to who for me without asking me first! You even ignored everyone and charged straight ahead! At least ask for my opinion before doing dumb stuff like that!”

“But, …I don’t think I should talk to you.”

Yanami dropped her jaws after saying that.

“Don’t give me crap like that! Just come and talk to me! You can do whatever the hell you want!”

“Eh, can I?”

“You need permission to talk to someone in school!? What kind of mindset is that!?”

But it’s not good to talk to girls on a whim, right…? This is literally a criminal offense in the world I live in.

“I’ll decide whether that’s annoying on my own! Also, even I won’t know what you’re thinking!”

Eh- well, …really…? I guess…

Even though I’m quite a suspicious person, I’m still pretty lonely. Whether it’s about being or not being with someone, talking or not talking to who, what I’m going to do, all of these are decided by myself.

Then, how they should accept or answer it is decided by that person.

“In other words, I can talk to…Yanami-san?”

“Depending on when and where!”

She’s right. I can’t smile but smile. Yanami looked at me suspiciously.

“Uh, why do you look happy now? You’re disgusting, Nukumizu-kun.”

“Well, Yanami-san. Thank you very much in every way.”

“…You’re just as hard to understand as usual.”

Yanami sighed and shook her head helplessly.

“Anyway, think about what you two did today!”

“Yes, madam!”

The answer is clean and synchronized. This is where Hakamada and my heart connected for a moment.

“Also, Sosuke. Apologize properly to Nukumizu-kun.”

Why? Hakamada already bowed down before I could understand.

“I’m sorry, Nukumizu. I got you into this mess because I was overthinking.”

No, no, that’s not true. I feel a bit guilty. What’s with this conversation?

“Then, Nukumizu-kun. Apologize to me.”

“Eh?”

I don’t understand, but I should obey her.

“Sorry, I won’t say dumb things like that anymore.”

“Fine, I forgive you.”

Yanami crossed her arms and nodded in satisfaction.

…Suddenly, Yanami tilted her head in confusion.

“So, where should we settle on this?”

I wonder where? The three of us looked at each other. The bell that signals the end of the lunch break rang.

Yanami wiped the tears lingering on her eyelashes and smiled at us.

“Anyway, you two should go back to the classroom first. Get ready, set, turn around!”

Facing Yanami’s momentum, we turned around quickly.

Yanami brutally slapped us on our backs and walked between us.

“Quick, don’t be late, you two!”

Yanami waved and left after turning around.

Hakamada patted my shoulder.

“Let’s go, Nukumizu.”

“Yeah, let’s go.”

We glanced at each other with a bitter smile and chased after Yanami.

*

The second day, which is also the last day of the first semester.

Everyone is getting restless for the closing ceremony. Amanatsu-sensei screamed at us from the podium.

“Settle down. Take your stuff according to your number-“

Amanatsu-sensei’s face looks surprised. I took the grade sheet from her and opened it in my seat.

I did alright in the first exam of my high school life. Forget about that. I paid attention to the comment section.

“Very passionate about club activities.”

…Who got switched with me? In other words, the comment of one of my classmate’s sheets is, “This person doesn’t seem to have friends in the class. How are they like at home?” Well, it looks like they will be having a family conference tonight.

I put my hand on my cheek as I looked around. People are showing their grade sheets to each other and talking about it.

I thought Yakishio would be pretty noisy too, but she’s laying on the table and wrapping her hands around her head. It looks like that girl has a family conference waiting for her too.

“Nukumizu, you’re good at Japanese and maths.”

Hakamada peeked at my grade sheet.

“It’s okay, …but I’m really average on other subjects.”

“I have to get a tutor for maths. Seriously, spare me. I don’t want to come to school during the summer holiday.”

“Eh, Hakamada is in the Going Home Club too?”

That’s unexpected. Affection +1.

“It’s because I joined the rock climbing team outside of school, so I can’t join any clubs.”

Eh, are you kidding me? Not just satisfied in school, you have to do that outside too? The affection points I accumulated yesterday are all gone.

“Well, let’s go for karaoke next time.”

Himemiya said that as she walked toward my table. I think I’m getting addicted to normal conversations like this. A true outgoing character really has a good personality. Even though she’s super dense.

I looked for Yanami. She’s messing with her friends by pretending to be hesitating whether to show her grade sheet or not.

“Alright, stop messing around and go back to your seats. I can’t start your summer holiday if you guys don’t settle down.”

Amanatsu-sensei said that loudly after she saw everyone’s about to be done.

Everyone quickly returned to their seats. The petite Amanatsu-sensei spoke up in a heavy tone after the classmates calmed down.

“I’ll teach you all about the summer holiday.”

She cleared her throat.

Everyone looked at her due to sensei’s uncharacteristically serious attitude.

“There are 40 days. I hope all of you have a goal in mind. Don’t just live out the days aimlessly. Time is interconnected. Every day you spend right now will affect the exam 2 years later.”

She’s pretty serious. I looked forward to what she will say next. Amanatsu-sensei continued with a heavy heart.

“Some people may say that it’s good that sensei has such a long summer holiday-“

I think Amanatsu-sensei remembered something bad. She suddenly punched the podium.

“In the end, I’m still working when you guys are having fun! I’m a civil servant! Also, there are tutorials, preparing for check-ups, writing the next semester’s material, teacher’s meetings, study meetings, club trips, and school business-“

Sensei’s dark side suddenly erupted. The classroom went silent.

“Don’t say that I already became a Vtuber during the second semester, okay!? Data is really expensive, you know!?”

I’ll switch to a flip phone then. [TL: Flip phone’s data plans are much cheaper than smartphones in Japan.]

“Do you guys even understand what it means to receive sarcasm when I ask for leave during the Ghost Festival!? Even if I ask for holidays at different times, people are still saying stuff like, ‘How nice for you to be resting when everyone’s working.’ You know how annoying is that!?”

This is just complaining. Sensei, don’t say that to your students.

“Listen to me! This summer! The rest of sensei’s life depends on the classmates’ meeting at the Ghost Festival! Don’t mess sensei’s paid leave with illegal and obscene crap! Take things one step at a time!”

…Sensei, what are you talking about?

However, we’re just teenagers. So, sensei’s momentum completely overwhelmed us. The classroom is quiet.

Amanatsu-sensei adjusted her breathing. With a slam, she hit the podium with the student list.

“Sensei is just showing off her consideration to you guys as a senpai in life. The summer holiday starts now, you little brats!”

*

This semester is finally over. I looked at my watch. It’s still the morning.

I escaped from the loudness and am now observing the clouds in the summer sky at the old building’s emergency stairs. Most of the clubs are on break today. There’s almost no one on the playground.

Buying a carton of milk on the way already became a habit of mine. I threw the carton between my hands. Well, what should I do next?

The new volume of <The twin sister who started traveling to become adventurers came back as gals> is released. Let’s get that and chill out at the family restaurant-

“H-Huh, y-you’re here?”

I can actually predict it. I bet she couldn’t tolerate how noisy today is too. Komari put her school bag on the ground. It seems heavy.

“What? You’re not going back?”

“I-I’m just killing time.”

Komari took out butter rolls from her school bag. I guess that was from yesterday.

I handed Komari the carton of milk.

“Here. It’s not opened.”

“Eh, no, I didn’t ask for you to give me.”

In contrast to what she said, Komari’s eyes are sparkling.

“T-Today’s milk is concentrated. …I-It’s 10 yen more expensive.”

Hey, you do know that. Well, at least I know it’s worth feeding you.

“It’s the closing ceremony, after all.”

“…B-But, I still feel sorry. Here.”

There are coins on her palm. It’s all 1 yen and 10 yen pocket changes.

“Eh? No, it’s fine.”

“I-It’s because that guy r-robbed Nukimizu yesterday, right?”

“I wasn’t robbed.”

“Wait, d-don’t tell me he robbed…something else?”

Why are your eyes so shiny right now? Don’t get hyped up for no reason.

“No, both my heart and virginity are still intact.”

No, I think half of my heart is already taken away.

Perhaps Komari already walked out of her confusion. She showed me a smile I hadn’t seen before as she raised her head and peeked at me.

“T-This is indeed v-very suspicious. W-When did t-this start?”

Her eyes are sparkling, and her cheeks are filled with excitement.

Hey, wait, why do I suddenly feel she’s quite adorable? Even though her brain has clearly malfunctioned.

“I won’t say anything even if you look at me like that. Alright, you should just eat.”

“Ehehe, …I-I won’t miss out on such a tasty t-topic like this.”

A dangerous person just knew something dangerous. I have to tell Tsukinoki-senpai. …No, things will only go worse if I tell her.

As I struggled to answer, I heard a cheerful and refreshing voice coming from below the stairs. It’s Yakishio.

“Eh, I didn’t know there’s a place like this. The wind feels pretty good-“

Yakishio saw us after she came up. She pretended to be surprised and turned around.

“Yana-chan, things aren’t going well. I feel like those two are in a good mood.”

Seriously? That’s what you’re feeling right now?

…Also, did she just say Yana-chan?

“Even though I’m not sure what you’re saying, it’s alright. It’s Nukumizu-kun, after all.”

Yanami said something really impolite as she followed Yakishio.

“Uh, Yanami-san. Why are you here?”

“What why? I discovered this place first, you know?”

Yanami smiled mischievously.

“What, did we really interrupt you two?”

“Stop. I was even thinking whether I should change places.”

“We’re all single. Let’s get along with each other.”

Yanami is just teasing us now. As for Yakishio, her eyes were all bright as she listened to our conversation.

“Eh? What did Nukkun just experience? Don’t tell me it happened just then? Just then?”

Why are you so excited, Yakishio? This is why I don’t like this part of you.

“Forget about that. Why are you two here?”

“There’s still sometime before the Track and Field Club’s meeting, so I made Yana-chan brought me to her secret base.”

It looks like Yakishio really loves high places. She leaned forward on the railing and watched the playground. Hey, don’t fall.

Yanami came next to me. She’s neither too close nor too far. What a subtle distance.

“Nukumizu-kun. What will the Literature Club do during the summer holiday?”

“Well, …Tsukinoki-senpai said that everyone should do something together.”

Yakishio pressed on the railing. Her legs are off the ground. She raised her hand.

“That’s nice. Invite me too! Why don’t we go catch cicadas since it’s summer?”

Really? That’s a cicada, though.

However, we were swimming and barbecuing on the last trip. Yet, we’re still hanging out this summer? I totally turned into a normie now. This isn’t like the Literature Club at all.

If it’s the Literature Club, we should be coming up with drafts alone in a gloomy corner, right?

Yanami looked at Yakishio moving her legs around as she got half a step closer.

“You know, I had fun during the last trip. I really look forward to what will happen next.”

“But Prez and Tsukinoki-senpai are already together. Is it really okay for me to barge in between them?”

“Sigh, I feel happy because everyone’s here. That includes you too, Nukumizu-kun.”

Yanami said that dumbfoundedly. I plopped my head down in embarrassment.

“Well, …you’re right. Also, I want to-“

“Hmm? What do you want?”

“It’s not that important. I just want to say, …nevermind.”

…Komari is very interested in what’s going on between us.

She gave me a meaningful glance and pulled Yakishio’s uniform.

“Hmm? What’s wrong, Komari-chan?”

Now that Yakishio’s facing her, Komari can’t help but reach her hand to her phone.

“W-Well, …I-I want to start practicing running.”

Komari lowered her head and put her phone back into her pocket.

“C-Can you teach me a-about postures and stuff?”

Yakishio bulged her eyes in shock, but she quickly smiled and grabbed Komari’s hand.

“Leave it to me!”

“Eep!”

“Let’s start by finishing 100m in 12 seconds!”

“Eh? I-I think I’m better suited t-to long runs.”

“Well, please relax! I have my self-imposed Yakishio’s Training Method.”

“Y-Yakishio’s…Training Method?”

Komari’s a bit scared. I get a bad feeling from the name.

“If you can dash 100m in one go, doesn’t that mean you can finish 1500m if you dash 15 times? I’m trying to prove this theory.”

“A-Anyway, i-it’s better to start somewhere more suited to a beginner, …or s-someone making a recovery.”

“Well, it’s time for the second rule in Yakishio’s Training Method. As long as we keep running today, I can prove whether 1500m feels like 100m. First off, let’s start by running!”

Yakishio dragged Komari away. She whispered to me just as our shoulders touched.

“…Y-You owe me o-one.”

Thank you, I’ll prepare a liter of milk next time.

Yanami looked at them walking down the stairs.

“Those two are pretty close.”

“Uh, maybe.”

There’s no need to correct this misunderstanding.

“This feels unbelievable.”

Yanami mumbled quietly.

“Hmm, what is unbelievable?”

Yanami put her arms on the railing before giving me a complicated stare.

“It’s because Komari, Nukumizu-kun, and I have no interaction before this, right? I didn’t even know what does the Literature Club do before the trip-“

This girl, are you serious? I can’t believe she still went on the trip.

“I tried to write novels, and it’s unexpectedly fun. Komari’s recommendations are pretty interesting too. Books are really quite nice-“

Yanami observed the students playing on the ground lovingly.

Either way, it’s good that Yanami can move on after getting in the club. Indeed, a high-quality reading experience can enrich one’s soul and life-

“Reading makes people forget about their painful realities. Perhaps everyone will go my way in novels.”

Correction. She’s going backward.

“Hey, Yanami-san. Don’t be too stubborn. Should you try ordination or fasting this summer?”

Yanami quickly waved her hands after hearing what I said.

“Wait, I’m not being stubborn! Also, I can’t accept fasting at all. Yes, it’s not okay to not eat, Nukumizu-kun!”

She’s vehemently disagreeing with fasting. Nice, she’s the Yanami I know.

I was still worrying whether we would be awkward because of what happened yesterday with Hakamada. I didn’t expect us to talk normally.

Well, right now-

“Hmm? What’s wrong?”

Yanami’s watery eyes blinked. I put my hand on my chest and took a deep breath.

“…Yanami-san. There’s something I want to say.”

“Ha.”

She answered me listlessly.

Yanami blinked and suddenly straightened her back as if she thought of something.

“Eh!? You have something to say!? Right here!? Right now!?”

“Yes, it’s rare for the two of us to talk alone, after all.”

Yanami freaked out and tidied her hair.

“Please wait! Nukumizu-kun, you should give this more thought, right!? Think about the timing-“

“I thought about this many times. However, I will definitely regret it if I don’t say things properly now.”

She finally acknowledged my seriousness.

Yanami tidied her hair, her uniform collar, the bowtie, and her skirt in order. After that, she cleared her throat in a lovely voice.

“W-Well, i-if it’s…just hearing you out-“

She’s making me nervous with how formal she is. I took another deep breath and faced Yanami.


“Yanami-san. Please-“

“I-I…”

My mouth is getting dry from how nervous I am.

I mustered my last bit of courage and took a step closer to Yanami. Her shoulders shivered.

“-Please be friends with me!” “Sorry! I only see you as a friend-“

Our lines overlapped.

…Silence ensued.

A blue rock thrush landed on the railing and moaned in pain. [TL: Blue birds symbolize happiness.]

We finally stopped freezing. Yanami titled her head.

“…Friend?”

I nodded gently.

“…Yes.”

“…………”

Yanami put her arms on the railing again silently. She sighed for a long moment.

“…I see-“

Yanami’s mumble was so quiet that it was covered by the voice of that blue rock thrush flying away.

…Eh, what’s with this atmosphere? It looks like I need to explain properly.

“Look, we won’t have lunch together since you paid back your debt. Indeed, we’re classmates and club members. But, well, I want to be with you as a friend-“

My limbs flailed around as I talked. I finally noticed something very important.

“…Hmm? Wait, Yanami-san.”

“I’ve been waiting since then.”

“I think…I just got rejected, even though I didn’t confess?”

“Hmm, yes, I guess you can say you were rejected.”

Yanami nodded with an all-knowing attitude as she patted my shoulder.

“Welcome to the rejected people’s world.”

“I wasn’t rejected. Also, I didn’t even confess. Aren’t you being too self-conscious, Yanami-san?”

Yanami-san is deeply dissatisfied with what I said.

“Wait right there! You were definitely going to confess to me with that conversation, alright!? And then I will reject you. This is how it is supposed to end.”

“Please calm down, Yanami-san. Listen, that’s not what a confession looks like.”

“Eh, …is Nukumizu-kun teaching me about love right now…?”

Well, think about it. Compared to the “Win: 0, Lose: 1” Yanami, my “Win: 0, Lose: 0” is definitely better, right? Indeed, I know more about love.

“First of all, the two people should hang out for at least 2 to 3 years before the confession, right? They need to understand and confirm their feelings for each other. After that, they have to visit a place vivid in their memories to achieve that final step.”

“Isn’t that a proposal?”

I think she’s right.

“In other words, Nukumizu-kun will propose to me 3 years later? Should I reject you ahead of time?”

“I won’t. Please don’t put that on your schedule.”

This girl is just as impolite as usual. The overly familiar conversation already made me forget this. By the way, what’s the result of my friend request?

“Well, uh…”

“Hmm?”

“A-About becoming friends with me, …what’s your answer…?”

My voice grew quieter as I said that.

“Why did you go back to stuttering again…? Also, we are already friends, right?”

“Eh, …really?” “What else could it be…?”

Yanami gave me a soft smile as she leaned on the railing.

“…What? You keep staring at my face.”

“Sigh, this part of you, Nukumizu-kun.”

“This part is which part, Yanami-san?”

Instead of answering, Yanami laughed cheerfully. I squeezed out a stiff smile and looked at Yanami.

…I still think being alone isn’t a bad thing. Whether it’s my connections with others or how I should live, I still think it’s alright to follow what I believe is true.

I just simply love hanging out with Yanami like this.

“Thank you, Yanami-san.”

That was sincere from the bottom of my heart.

Yanami was a bit surprised after seeing my natural and sincere smile, but she quickly returned with the same smile.

“No sweat.”

She reached her fist out to me.

“I’ll be counting on you, my partner who’s also rejected.”

I smiled after hearing Yanami as our fists bumped.

“I wasn’t rejected.”


BOOKWALKER Special

Intermission: Curiosity Killed the High School Boy


The end of July. The first day in the summer holiday where I have to go back to school.

The class assembly was over in the morning. I’m enjoying my elegant yet short-lived relaxation in the clubroom.

The wind from the window is blowing on the curtains.

The rainy season is over. It’s really hot right now.

Even so, dry winds comfortably cooled down the heat on my body.

I felt the gentle gusts as I leisurely turned over a page of the latest volume of <Even though there’s a JK as a bonus from the apartment I rented, she’s too expensive to feed>.

Just as I’m about to pick up from where I left, the clubroom’s door is suddenly slammed open.

Yakishio walked inside with a jelly drink in her hand. After she slurped all of it, she shot it toward the trash bin accurately.

“Oh, Nukkun is the only one here today?”

“Yeah, year 3 students don’t need to come back today. Yanami-san went to lunch with her friends.”

“Ugh, it’s a bit lonely.”

Yakishio said that as she put her school bag on the table.

“Yakishio, what about your club’s training?”

“I’m going there. Sensei called me to the office just then. I’ll go to the playground from here since there’s no time to go to the Track and Field Club’s room.”

By the way, the rooms for sports clubs are in the opposite direction to the playground.

“The location of the Literature Club is quite convenient, unexpectedly. It’s close to the backdoor. I can slip out and buy bread easily.”

Yakishio said that as she took off the bowtie on her chest.

“Uh, hey.”

“I often borrow this place when I’m alone since it’s so convenient. Also-“

After taking off her bowtie, Yakishio started unbuttoning her shirt.

“Wait, tell me when you’re changing. I’ll leave. Also, please shut the curtains-“

Yakishio looked at me dazedly as I hastily closed the windows.

“Eh? It’s fine. My training clothes are right below. I can just take off the outside.”

Ah, I see. I feel like an idiot for freaking out.

However, girls taking off their clothes is too much for a guy in puberty.

“Anyway, I’ll go outside. The curtains are shut too.”

“You’re such a gentleman, Nukkun. It’s even more embarrassing when you’re so nice to me, so you can just stay here.”

“You’re embarrassed when you change without me here?”

“I already said my training clothes are underneath, so Nukkun can act normal.”

…Ugh, I guess she’s right. In a sense, Yakishio is just taking off her jacket. Perhaps I’m overthinking too much.

After Yakishio took off her shirt, I could see her undershirt in full view. I quickly lowered my head.

“Eh, what’s wrong, Nukkun?”

“No, sorry. It’s because this looks like a…sports…bra?”

“Calm down, my guy.”

Right, she already said this is training clothes, after all. I took a sip from my bottled tea to cool off my head.

“Yeah, you won’t show your underwear to someone else, after all.”

“Eh? This is a sports bra.”

I spat all my tea out and coughed non-stop. Yakishio smacked my back. It hurts.

“Slow down, Nukkun. What’s wrong?”

“Stop right there! In other words, this is underwear instead of training clothes, right!?”

“This is the sports bra I wear during training. I’ll wear a vest on top when I’m in session, so this is training clothes.”

What a mysterious and awe-inspiring theory.

“I got it. I got it, so I’ll leave-“

Yakishio quickly got on her vest.

“Look, it’s fine now, right?”

“Uh, yeah…”

“Nukkun has no resistance to girls. Do you want to join the Track and Field Club?”

Yakishio patted my shoulder with a bitter smile.

“No. By the way, are guys giving you a weird look? Don’t go to a guy’s room alone.”

“I won’t do something this vulgar. Also, guys in the Track and Field Club won’t look at girls like that.”

Bullshit. Even I can barely contain myself anymore. Those healthy and energetic track boys must stare at such adorable and defenseless girls with lewd eyes (personal bias).

Yakishio ignored my anxiety. She gasped after looking at the clock on the wall.

“Oh no, the training’s starting!”

Yakishio pulled the zipper. Her skirt fell to the ground.

“Oi, hey!”

“Sorry, Nukkun! Help me pack up my clothes!”

“Eh? Wait-“

Yakishio sprinted out of the room.

I sighed as I stared at the clothes randomly thrown on the ground. Packing up clothes left a girl, what kind of event is this…?

By the way, I will probably be in a dangerous position if anyone sees this scene. I took care of the shirt on the back of the chair and picked up the skirt.

After school- there’s no one in the clubroom. I’m now holding a classmate’s skirt in my hands.

…Even though it’s impossible to not have any weird thoughts, a small observation is good for now.

It’s a light grey flared skirt designed for summer. There’s an adjustment device to fix up the waistline.

I unintentionally compared it to my waistline. If I set the adjustment device to the widest-

“Even I can wear it?”

…I’ll say this ahead. I’m not really planning to try it. I’m not into cross-dressing, nor am I interested in clothes taken off by a girl.

The only thing here is the pure curiosity about the unknown world that drives human development.

Adventurers used it as a weapon and sailed across the sea. They are the ones that built the world we’re living in.

Compared to the grand projects the nameless heroes have built, what I’m about to do is basically nothing. I’m just comparing the sizes in front of the mirror.

Even so, since there’s no mirror in the room, I have to take a photo with my phone. I put the skirt on the table and adjusted my camera to see the whole body.

“The camera’s done. What’s with this…bowtie…?”

Although there’s no need to wear Yakishio’s shirt, the biggest difference between guys’ and girls’ uniforms is this bowtie, aside from the skirt.

In for a penny, in for a pound. It’s meaningless to back out at this point.

I followed my curiosity and took off the bowtie. Then, I observed the four connected knots as I hung them below my neck.

…Well, the last part is to put the skirt on my waist. I looked at the skirt in my hands.

Hiya, I should check whether I shut the curtains. If this is an anime, people will definitely see me if I don’t do something.

Good, it’s shut.

The door of the clubroom is closed too. Everything is within my expectation-

“N-Nukumizu, …t-thanks for the work…”

“…Ah, thanks.”

The only thing. I didn’t expect Komari is already standing inside the door. She dropped her jaw.

“…When were you here?”

“W-When you start p-putting on the bowtie.”

Ah, hmm, I feel like it’s better for her to watch the entire thing from start to end.

Alright, let’s start the explanation time.

“Wait, Komari. This isn’t what it looks like. It’s just pure and innocent curiosity-“

“I-It’s fine. G-Go on.”

Komari ignored my anxiety and leisurely clicked on her phone on the chair.

“…Komari? I actually don’t have fetishes like that. This is just impulse….”

“I-It’s fine. …Everyone…has what they like…”

Komari nodded with a gentle mother’s smile.

Uh, please don’t. Don’t treat me so nicely at times like this.

I quickly took off the bowtie and put it on the table carefully.

Then, I sat next to Komari and cleared my throat on purpose.

“Komari, listen to me. Yakishio just asked me to pack up her clothes, okay?”

“I-I got it, so…stay away from me…”

“Are you sure? Look at this bowtie. I’m just curious about its structure. I definitely am not trying to wear it-“

I got close to Komari intensely. However, Komari pushed me away with her phone on my face.

“W-Wait, d-don’t c-come at me. …This is different from what I imagined…”

“I-I’m not coming at you! By the way, what is your image of mine, Komari?”

“D-Do you really want to hear it from my mouth? Y-You want to…listen?”

“…No, it’s fine.”

“S-Smart choice…”

Komari nodded with an all-knowing attitude as she returned to her phone. I sat down on a chair slightly further away and turned over the latest volume of <Feed JK> again.

“…Komari.”

“W-What?”

“I’ll say this again. I’m not into cross-dressing, alright? This is important.”

Komari looked at me like she knew everything.

“I-I know. …I-It’s important to meet your man’s interests…”

“I don’t have someone with a special relationship like that! Also, why is it a man!?”

“T-That’s why I said s-stay away from me…”

This is a certain day in summer- where all the elegance has already been blown away.


[End of Vol.1. Vol.2 will be released on November 18.]


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