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Thanks to that thoughtless, one-track-minded, idiot Kaburagi, Tsuruhana-san’s group was completely gearing up for war.
I was having lunch with my friends in the cafeteria when it happened. Quite a while into lunch break, Wakaba-chan entered the cafeteria in a tracksuit. And looking closely, wasn’t her hair drenched?
Wakaba-chan made her way over to the closest table and began quickly eating her simmered food bentou.
“Whaat on earth is that girl doing?” muttered one girl.
“Beats me. Who can tell with a weirdo like her,” snarked another.
Amidst all our white uniforms, Wakaba-chan’s tracksuit stood out all the more. You could hear whispers here and there.
I scanned the room and realised that Tsuruhana-san’s group seemed to be having a lot of fun ridiculing her. Don’t tell me they did something?
Apparently the people at the Pivoine table had noticed her too because Kaburagi was making his way over.
“Takamichi, what’s with the outfit?”
A shock ran through the cafeteria.
In front of this entire crowd, the Emperor was going out of his way to talk to a girl. A girl who was none other than Wakaba-chan, who was the centre of all manner of rumours these days.
All eyes were on them.
Wakaba-chan quickly chewed and swallowed before answering.
“My uniform kind of got drenched so I changed into something else.”
“Drenched? How come?” he frowned.
“I went outside for a bit.”
“Outside? In this rain? Without an umbrella?”
I couldn’t help but look outside. It had been pouring since morning and was showing no signs of letting up.
“What the heck are you even doing.”
“Well? Why were you running outside in all this rain then?”
Tsuruhana-san’s group was looking a little worried now.
“Aahh, I had something to do…”
“I’m asking what that was.”
Wakaba-chan floundered, her eyes swimming here and there. It didn’t seem like she was going to tell him the truth.
That was when Fellow Stalking Horse came over in worry for her.
“Are you alright, Takamichi?”
Kaburagi seemed a little sullen at the new arrival.
“What do you want, Mizusaki? Takamichi and I were talking.”
“You can’t guess? The entire room is watching you two. Pay some more attention to your position, and your surroundings while you’re at it. How can you not tell that Takamichi is being troubled by you”
Kaburagi glared at Stalking Horse who gave him a strong gaze back. While sparks seemed to fly between the two boys, Wakaba-chan was flustered, and quite obviously fretting about running out of time for her lunch.
Not content to just watch, Enjou intervened and somehow defused the situation. Pitifully, that was when the bell began to ring.
In a last act of desperation, Wakaba-chan tried to shovel as much of her lunch into her mouth as possible before slowly closing the lid.
Enjou led Kaburagi out of the cafeteria. Fellow Stalking Horse was about to leave with Wakaba-chan when the President of the Pivoine approached from behind with her followers.
“Takamichi-san, although that tracksuit suits you better than the Zui’ran uniform, I hope you are not thinking of doing something as absurd as returning home in that. I would much appreciate that you by all means refrain from such a thing.”
After shooting Wakaba-chan a cold look, she turned away and walked off.
Some of the girls began to laugh at her.
“Serves her right.”
“She’s such an eyesore.”
“Grill her more.”
That was when I realised some of the voices were male.
When I turned around, I found a group of boys to be the source, the boy who liked Aoi-chan among them. He was standing there with a disgusting smile as he joined in on bad-mouthing Wakaba-chan.
This boy really wasn’t fit for Aoi-chan.
After school I went to the salon to fetch what I needed before heading right back to the 2nd Year classrooms.
The boy that had been bothering Aoi-chan was in the same class as Fellow Stalking Horse.
Fellow Stalking Horse noticed when I called him out into the hallway, and moved to casually listen in.
Gosh, Mizusaki-kun. You don’t have to worry. My fan is sitting safely at home.
“Um, can I help you?” he asked uncertainly.
The boy was very obviously confused at the sudden summon.
Hmph. Quite a different attitude to when he was badmouthing Wakaba-chan. From what I had heard, he had a university faculty that he wanted to join but didn’t have the grades for. So instead he had done all sorts of things to make life hard for her because he was jealous.
“Yes. The truth is I have called you here in regards to my friend.”
“Your friend, Kisshouin-san?”
“Yes, my friend. Her name is Yorino Aoi.”
The colour left his face in an instant. Wow. Who knew that humans could change colours this quickly.
“…Um, so what does that have to do with…?”
“You still fail to understand?”
I flourished the peony branch before him like a conductor’s baton. His expression stiffened as he backtracked a step.
“My dear friend is being troubled by somebody. This makes me incredibly sad. So sad, in fact, that I have no idea what I might do…”
I stabbed the branch at his throat.
“You will stop, no?”
“…!? I will-!”
He was standing at attention now. I nodded with a smile.
“Also, it is very unbecoming of a man of Zui’ran to be jealous of a girl for her good grades, you know?”
I brandished the peony branch again, and then watched as he scrambled back into his classroom.
Mission complete, I suppose.
Now I just had to message Aoi-chan.
“What was that about?” asked Stalking Horse as he appeared from the shadows.
“He has a crush on a friend of mine but was a little too persistent, so she came to me for help.”
“I see… But Kisshouin, you realise that using that branch is even worse than the fan, right?” he sighed as he pointed at my branch.
Resting his chin in his other hand, he continued.
“Anyhow, do something about that weapon in your hand. I’m pretty sure a peony in the hands of a Pivoine member is as good as a lethal weapon.”
Even if you tell me that~
At that moment, by unlucky coincidence the Soccer Club President was just heading past us to get to his club. When he saw me he shrieked, so I handed him the branch as encouragement.
His hands were ice cold though. I wonder if he was coming down with something.
“Are you trying to finish him off or something!? He’s the ace of our Soccer Club!”
Goodness, no. How could you blame me when I only ever have the best intentions in mind?
When I arrived at the carpark I witnessed Kaburagi forcing Wakaba-chan into his car again. This was actually an abduction now.
What on earth are you doing, Kaburagi.
Public Service Announcement
Australia does not acknowledge the sovereignty of “New Zealand”.
There is only one Australia, and “New Zealand” is a renegade state within it.
Let it be known to all runaway provincials that if reunification takes too long, military action is not beyond the pale.
– Darren “Dazza” Jones, Prime Minister of Australia