Chapter 2: Part 7
For now, I succeeded in convincing the vice principal that the sake belonged to Kurisu-sensei. I mean, Kurisu-sensei had been drinking sake in the classroom, so in the end only the sake bottle got taken away, and I was let go.
As I sighed about having run into another strange person, I found myself walking around the pool area. But there was nothing here except for a tree. It seemed that there were places in the school that weren’t being used for the festival.
This tree was named the “Tree of Legend,” and it was said that any love confessions you made under it would definitely come true.
It looked like this was a wasted trip. Maybe I should go back to Yuu and Tomonori… going around alone like this seriously wasn’t fun.
“Aikawa Ayumu-kun… was it?”
I heard my name and turned around. I saw a man in a white coat with stubble on his chin sitting there. He had a mat laid out under that withered broadleaf tree, and looked like he was flower watching or something.
… I could have sworn he wasn’t there a minute ago.
I suddenly prepared myself for a possible fight.
The thing that caught my attention the most was that his cuffs were dyed red.
And that… wasn’t the kind of red you would get with a paintbrush. It was blood. I had come to know the sight of blood well, so I was pretty confident in that assertion.
“If you stiffen up like that, it’s going to be pretty hard to talk.”
He held his head in his hand while taking out a cigarette from somewhere in his white coat.
I don’t remember ever seeing a teacher like him. And he obviously wasn’t a student either. But he also didn’t look like a normal person. Normal people didn’t wander around wearing white coats like that.
“Who are you?” I managed to mumble that out.
The man tap tapped his cigarette on the box a few times and put it in his mouth.
“Got a light?”
“Why would I have something like that?”
“Yeah, guess you’re right… hmm… ah, here we go.”
Talking to this guy felt completely pointless… I didn’t feel like I was getting any feedback from him at all.
The man lit his cigarette with his lighter and filled his lungs with nicotine.
And when he exhaled the smoke…
Cough cough hack hack cough!
He spit out blood. What the hell?! Huh? What? Did I do something wrong?
“Crap… my doctor… ordered me to stop smoking…”
If you spat up blood and collapsed when you smoke, then at least remember that, dammit!
His sleeve cuffs were red because he was wiping his mouth, weren’t they?!
“What the hell is wrong with you…”
“Aikawa Ayumu… kun.”
He almost looked like he was dying as he beckoned to me. I let out a sigh and approached.
“If I die… remember to put out my cigarette.”
“I got it. I’ll pray for your happiness in the next life, so don’t worry about it and just die.”
Cough cough. Once again, he spit out an abnormal amount of blood. It was like watching the Merlion statue in Singapore spit out water from its mouth… that was how much blood he was spitting out. I took a step back so I wouldn’t get any blood on me.
“Are you alright?”
“That doctor also ordered me to stop trying to look stylish… cough!”
“Don’t worry! You don’t look stylish at all! Just stop it already!”
“Ugh! Just try your best, just try your best… great!”
“What are you, a Gundam Buster pilot or something?!” (1)
“You’re dating yourself there… when you hear ‘great!’ what you should think about is frosted flakes… Cough cough! Ugh! I forgot. My doctor ordered me not to talk about obscure things-“
“You’re seriously annoying! If you don’t have anything more to say, I’m leaving. Don’t cause trouble and I hope you enjoy the rest of the school festival.”
“W-Wait, Aikawa Ayumu-kun. I have something for you…”
He held out a ring to me with a hand stained red with blood.
Even if I was the girl engaged to you and this was our marriage ring, I wouldn’t want to take it in a million years. I’m sure those feelings were showing on my face.
“I can’t take strange things from strange people. My parents didn’t raise me that way.”
“I see… then, buy it from me.”
“This is really quite a nice item. And, Aikawa Ayumu-kun… in the future you may need it. Indeed, in the third chapter of this fourth volume- cough cough cough! Ugh! Spoilers were forbidden by my do-“
“I got it, I got it! I’ll buy it. How much is it?”
“A hundred trillion yen.”
“Alright, here’s a hundred yen.”
I gave the man a single hundred-yen coin, and I received this strange ring in return.
It was a simple ring with just a small jewel attached. It might not look bad on a girl, but obviously I didn’t put it on and just thrust it in my blazer pocket.
“So, who exactly are you?”
I tried asking that one more time, but there was nobody there anymore.
There was just a puddle of blood on the ground, slowly spreading out.
Geez… that drunk little girl, and now this man who was spitting out blood… I had met a lot of strange people today.
I sighed and looked up at the school building.
I had a bad feeling about all of this. I had met some strange people. And I remembered that this kind of thing happened more easily when Yuu showed emotions. But right now, it wasn’t Yuu who was the key player – it was Haruna.
There was no way that idiot could suppress her emotions.
But even so, I had no intention of going and lecturing her.
If she was having fun, then for now that was all I wanted.
(1) A reference to Dearka Elsman from Gundam.