Next PageVOLUME 4
Chapter 2: Part 2
I left Haruna to Sera and Yuu, so I ended up going to school by myself. I held back my feelings of excitement for the school festival and just stared out the classroom window.
The cloudy sky was a brilliantly grey color. Geez… If I knew the weather was going to be like this, then I wouldn’t have put us through the effort of making a nighttime school festival.
When I looked below me, I saw students busy preparing stands. They stretched up the slope from the school gate to the school courtyard and outer hallway.
Today was the festival.
Today was the festival… A festival which happened only once a year, the boisterous and noisy event that Haruna had been looking forward to.
A spiky-haired guy was standing next to me with his glasses sparkling. He had been for a while.
“What do you want? Standing there with those irritating glasses of yours…”
“What do the glasses have to do with anything?! …anyway, where’s Haruna-chan? She was so excited about putting up decorations from morning.”
I see. Haruna was that excited about it? …she must be so frustrated right now.
“What is it, Aikawa? You have a disgusting look on your face.”
Orito flicked me in the forehead as I stood there, looking grim.
“You’re the last person I want to hear that from.”
I rubbed the spot he had flicked and once again turned my gaze out the window.
Then I saw a strangely-dressed young girl weaving her way through the festival stands below…
…a small girl in casual dress, who had dashed up from the school gate.
Her getup was pretty strange, what with her gauntlets and plate armor.
The small girl rushed for the school building.
Atop her head, you could see an impressive ahoge bouncing around.
That ahoge… was proof that she was feeling good.
“Huh? That’s… Yuu-chan?”
“Nah, it’s just a masou shoujo.”
Orito gave me a “what the hell are you talking about” look.
After around twenty more seconds…
Haruna pretty much slid full-force into the classroom and showed me a sketchbook. And written on that sketchbook, in huge round letters, was…
She was full of energy, a far cry from emotionless. However, her face seemed frozen into the same expression.
Bam! Her flying kick jolted my cheek.
I won’t forgive you for living me behind.
Haruna pounded her fists on the sketchbook. You know, I can see it even if you don’t whack it like that…
“Are you feeling better now?”
Quiet! Shut your mouth!
Wham! Haruna backhanded me with a gauntleted hand.
“But you said you felt like you were dying-“
Wham! She slammed her sketchbook into my cheek, hitting me so hard that I could swear my head did a 180 degree turn. Why did she have to keep hitting me in the same exact place… She was going to turn me into a plump old zombie. (1)
But, I mean… It looked like things had calmed down a bit. She couldn’t talk anymore; Yuu’s ability to turn her words into reality must have already been activated. Still…
She was standing there arrogantly, brimming with her usual confidence. If she was trying to keep me from worrying about her… Well, in that case, I had to follow suit and act natural for her as well.
Weak stuff not allowed!
“Got it. Sorry for worrying about you, geez…”
Ayumu worrying about me is the grossest thing in the entire universe.
Seriously, that bad…? I didn’t know if those were her true feelings or not, but I could understand what Haruna was getting at. She had come to enjoy the school festival, so she wasn’t going to tolerate depressing talk.
“Haruna-chan, is that Yuu-chan cosplay? You’re so cute no matter what you wear…”
Shut up. You stupid imbecile.
Those letters cut deeper than spoken words ever oculd.
“Haruna-sensei… What’s wrong?”
Hiramatsu couldn’t really hide her bewilderment when greeted by Haruna’s strange state.
“Nah, she’s just confused the swat team with the Crusades or something. Also… She has a bit of a cold, so she can’t talk.”
“I see…” Hiramatsu didn’t seem very convinced, but she didn’t press the issue.
All of you, hurry up and get back to work!
Once Haruna took up her command position, everyone naturally began to work at a brisk pace.
The homeroom teacher who should have been the one in that command position was just staring out the window like me, and seemed to be thinking about something. As always, what a lazy do-nothing teacher…
The monster drawings I had made yesterday with Yuu and Sera were pasted to the walls.
There was the shouji with eyes, Thunder Hawk, and the Maitr-… I mean the kappa.
When they were lined up like that, there really seemed to be some deeper meaning behind them.
Among those drawings… the “kotatsu lion” (2) that Yuu had drawn seemed to be really popular with the girls.
“… That’s really cute…”
Hiramatsu looked pretty mesmerized as she stared at the male lion lying under the kotatsu.
At that moment, Tomonori, Anderson-kun, and Mihara came from the class next door.
“Aiiikawa~~! We came to help out!”
Now that I think about it, Tomonori’s class was doing some kind of display, right? They probably could put that together pretty quickly.
“By the way, what is that thing near the entrance?”
Mihara smiled as she covered her mouth with a hand, and looked at me with a strange expression.
That thing? What did she mean?
I was led out of the classroom by the three of them, and I saw that thing right next to the door.
It was the mannequin that looked like me. That bastard Haruna… she hadn’t thrown it away!
The students in the hallway weren’t even laughing… maybe they were just that impressed. I would have loved it if that continued and the idea of laughing was thrown into oblivion, but Mihara’s loud idiotic laughter seemed to break the dam and laughter suddenly overflowed all around me.
I hugged my head, and tried to endure the embarrassment welling up within me even as I fought a ferocious mental battle in my own head.
“But regardless, this is pretty well made.”
Anderson-kun hit the mannequin version of me. The mannequin waved from side to side.
“Aikawa is the best!! Ahahahaha!!”
Orito was laughing uncontrollably. I hope he laughs so hard he sets off a nuclear explosion in his head.
Seeing this spectacle, I remained silent and walked back towards the classroom.
“Huh? Hey, Aikawa…”
Tomonori seemed puzzled as she called out to me.
“Aren’t you angry?”
“Ahh, but it really doesn’t matter here…”
Dammit! If Haruna wasn’t in the situation she was in now, I would completely kick her ass… but I couldn’t say anything. At the very least, right now I wanted to let her do whatever ridiculous thing she wanted to do.
And ultimately, this feeling that you could almost describe as parental love won against all the embarrassment I was feeling.
(1) A reference to a Japanese folk tale about old men with lumps on their cheeks. Here is a translated version.
(2) A kotatsu is a low heated table that warms your legs.