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In Japan, there is a folk belief regarding wooden buildings. When a tree is cut and used as a wooden pillar, if it is placed upside-down relative to its position in life, it can make strange noises at night, bring the house misfortune, or even engender disasters.
In a twist of the regular folklore are the patterned pillars of the Youmeimon gate at Nikkou Toushouguu shrine. One of them has reversed patterns but is said to be deliberate as a means of warding off a calamity that was prophesied to occur upon the perfection of the temple.
I woke up early the next morning and went to school an hour early.
After walking down the empty hallway I glanced into Wakaba-chan’s classroom. Good. Nobodywas here yet.
I had already checked in advance which desk was Wakaba-chan’s. All that was left now was to hide my letter in it. I then dashed out of the room before anybody caught me!
When I entered my own empty classroom, the elation of accomplishment welled up inside me. Mission complete.
Inside that letter was a list of things to be careful about if you were going to attend Suiran. No running outside while wearing our uniform, no napping on the train in our uniforms, avoid running in the hallways, stuff like that. Also other things like no rainboots, no raincoats, fans were fine but only folding fans and not uchiwas, no earmuffs, just as many things like that that I could think of. I mean, I didn’t think any high school girl in Tokyo was going to be wearing a raincoat to school, but after remembering the gumboots I realised that it could actually happen one day so I wrote it down anyway.
I also made sure to write down warnings for the Pivoine. Actually, you could say that this was the key focus of my letter. Don’t approach the reserved seats, move out of the way for members if they’re coming the other way, oh, and when it came to upperclassmen pretty much everybody did that along with a greeting and bow while waiting for them to pass. I even added in little details like which the President’s favourite menu items were and that it would be better to avoid ordering those.
I also included a list of every Pivoine member in high and middle school. The little peony badges could be hard to see so it was better to know them by face. I didn’t know all of the Petite members myself so I didn’t include them. The Petite salon was separate from ours so it would probably be okay. I did note that they sometimes had older siblings in the Pivoine proper though, so it would be better not to make light of them for being little. Of particular note was Yukino-kun in year one who was better to stay away from entirely.
Other advice included a list of names of the more reliable teachers, as well as a list of teachers who were completely in the Pivoine’s camp.
The letter also included a warning that if she went looking for ingredients in Suiran or if she was feeding a cat or other possible scenarios that she made sure to check her surroundings for possible onlookers first. Of course I couldn’t just write ‘Be careful while foraging for food!’ it would pretty much give me away right off the bat.
Ah, yes. This letter was written anonymously of course. To avoid being identified the envelope was blank and I avoided handwriting as well. For a while I considered using gloves to avoid fingerprints too, but then I remembered that this wasn’t a crime or anything so I decided not to bother.
My own safety came first which is why I couldn’t just cover for her in public, so the best I could do was help her avoid trouble with this. My apologies.
Just in case, the letter included an afternote that asked her not to show it to anybody else. I’m counting on you, Wakaba-chan. Please don’t suddenly go “Huh~? What’s this letter here~?” the moment you step into class.
I had come a whole hour early so now that I had delivered the letter there wasn’t anything for me to do. What now…
I looked out the window and saw members of the sports club already hard at practice. I never really thought about it.
After thinking about it for a little, if Wakaba-chan came early and saw the letter, with nobody else around I would be outed on the spot. It might be a good idea to find somewhere else to spend the time, at least until more students came. Maybe the salon~?
Suddenly, the idea of going to the usually abandoned library occurred to me. I could begin secretly studying in preparation for the next exams. Ohh! What a model student I am!
So when I arrived at the library I was shocked that people were already there. It occured to other students to study early in the morning!?
I took a seat in the corner and began skimming through today’s work. I was making a lot more progress here in the library since there were less distractions than in my room at home. Maybe it would be better to do all my studying here.
In my concentration I didn’t notice the time pass. Before I knew it the majority were at school already, so I picked up my bag and went back to class. Taking the chance, I took a peek at Wakaba-chan as well, but she didn’t behave any differently so I could relax for the moment.
Waking up early was starting to take its toll on me. I was really sleepy. I decided not to fight it so I opened mr textbook, leant my chin in my hands, faced downwards and then took a nap as I pretended to study.
Thanks to this flawless technique and my mastery of it, not once had I been caught napping in class before.
Later that day I stayed back because of my duties as a class rep. I hadn’t managed to get the busywork for the handouts done during break time, so I was doing them now. Not that I minded though, since I didn’t have club activities today anyhow.
While we were working, Class Rep lowered his voice and began to tell me about his progress with Miharu-chan.
“You know, it kind of feels like recently I’m getting to talk with Honda-san more. Nonose-san is in our class so she comes to visit sometimes too. When that happens the two of them sometimes come talk to me.”
“Goodness, lucky you.”
“Hehe. We only began talking after that field trip when Nonose-san took over your class rep duties. Honda-san helped that time too, and we ended up chatting a lot. After that Nonose-san and I started to get to know each other better. She was the one who told me that Honda-san was getting close with a boy, remember? It turns out that it wasn’t anything romantic. Well, not that I asked directly though.”
“It turns out that Honda-san just thinks that Enjou-kun is really cool. Apparently that isn’t the same as liking him romantically though. Actually, she said she thought he suited you.”
“Haaah!? What on earth does that mean!?” I couldn’t help but shout.
That wasn’t something I could overlook.
“Eh-, ah, ummmm~ …On the other hand, Nonose-san said that Kaburagi-kun was more suited to you, but I told them that I was neutral.”
“Wha-! You were supposed to deny them!”
Oh my god. Yet another crazy conversation happened without my knowing.
“Are you not supposed to be on my side, Class Rep!”
“Mm, of course I am. If I can help then I will. The reason I got closer to Honda-san recently is thanks to you being late during the excursion as well, Kisshouin-san. I knew I could count on you, Love Guru!”
“Well, you are welcome. But more importantly, you need to dispel strange rumours about Enjou-sama, Kaburagi-sama and I!”
“I mean, I want to help, but these rumours have been around since primary school. I’m not sure it would even be possible to clear them up.”
Why!? I almost never interacted with them!
I fell onto my desk in shock.
I didn’t want to gain enemies because of these baseless rumours that I didn’t know about, and if those two knew then what was most mortifying was if those two thought I really was interested in them!
And what if I became even more unpopular because of this…
“Oh? Kisshouin-san, some of your curls are going the other way you know?”
I raised my head from the desk to find Class Rep lightly pulling some of the hair behind my head.
“See? Just this area.”
I used a pair of mirrors to check the back of my head. It was true. Looking carefully, about ten of the curls further in were actually going the wrong way.
“What on earth!?”
A flaw in my perfect hair!
“Nobody would have noticed since they’re so far in. I only saw them by chance too.”
My hair was permed, so it must have been a careless mistake…
Oh no… It might have been hidden, but would it be better to get my hair permed again…? I might not have noticed so far but now that I knew it was really bothering me.
“It feels like a good omen somehow.”
Class Rep was carefree while I was upset about it.
Stop treating my hair like the pillar of Youmeimon!
The next day I arrived at school to find a pleased-looking Class Rep headed my way.
“Today I happened to meet Honda-san in front of the gates, and then we talked about classwork all the way until the classrooms. It’s thanks to your blessing, Guru!”
This morning I checked countless times to make sure that they weren’t visible.
I wonder how that even happened though.
…Could it be that they foresaw calamity upon the perfection of my hair and deliberately left it incomplete!? Then maybe these locks of hair were actually Evil-Warding Hair Locks!
“Those reversed curls are a bit like a four-leafed clover aren’t they.”
As expected of the maidenly Class Rep… I see. So to a maiden a four-leafed clover would come to mind before a temple warding against evil then.
“I’ve even got plans with Honda-san and Nonose-san to study for the upcoming exams together. I’ve been really lucky since discovering those curls yesterday.”
“Good for you…”
Well, I suppose if he was happy about it then I was too. Studying with the person you like. It was a heart-thumping and irresistible scenario to any maiden. I’ve liked the idea since my last life. Not once had it actually happened though.
So apparently these aren’t anti-evil curls, but good-luck curls instead. If you happen to catch sight of them, they’ll bring you good luck, you know?