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Class Rep and Iwamuro-kun asked me for advice on what White Day Presents to get Miharu-chan and Nonose-san.
Since that was the case, I immediately recommended the honey candies that I got from Imari-sama.
They were sweet and delicious, and good for your throat on top of that.
“Wow! Maybe I should go with those,” said Class Rep.
“But I guess the two of us can’t get the same thing, huh,” Iwamuro-kun commented.
“I would also like to suggest caramel candies, in that case,” I said.
I received them from Imari-sama during the summer.
“Yes. There are many different types, all bursting with flavour.”
“Then maybe I’ll go with those…”
The French marshmallows I got from Tomoe-senpai and Kasumi-sama were good too.
It had Kaburagi’s mark of approval. I decided to tell them about those too.
“Those sound good too.”
“Then what should we give them alongside the sweets? Honda-san loved the mittens she got for Valentine’s. Actually… I bought matching gloves in a different colour but I couldn’t say it… I’ve just been using them in secret.”
Class Rep was a maiden through-and-through.
Listening to a blushing Class Rep talk about how the hand-made chocolates from “Honda-san were the sweetest I’ve ever tasted” was somehow even more embarrassing to listen to than Shimazaki Touson’s First Love.
Anyway, a cute present, huh…
“From my experience, perhaps a spherical music box, or a necklace, or perhaps a sachet and herb tea set… I might also suggest boxed flowers since they would be easy to carry home.”
All of these were presents I had received from Imari-sama of the mighty Casanova Village.
“What are boxed flowers?” asked Class Rep.
“When you take off the lid of the box, inside are flowers all around.”
“That does seem cute…” admired Iwamuro-kun.
He did love cute things after all.
To be honest he seemed better suited to receiving flowers than giving them.
Anyway, there was no reason to restrict the present to items.
“Perhaps another option would be to invite them to an amusement park during the summer break, and hand them a free pass…”
“That’s such a bold idea, Master!”
“At Zui’ran, most people hand out store-made chocolates. If the four of you are close enough to be receiving hand-made chocolates, then I think they would happily accept the invitation.”
“Kisshouin-san! Please grant me strength!”
The two of them chanted “Bless us. Bless us.” as they bowed to me.
I couldn’t refuse these cute disciples of mine, so I gave them the little luck in romance I had and sent them off.
I hope things went well.
Haah… So dizzy.
Dizzy and nauseous and cold too…
Even breathing was hard.
It was a struggle to keep my eyes open…
“What’s the matter, Reika-sama? Good heavens, you’re so pale!”
“Are you okay, Reika-sama?”
It was getting so bad that I couldn’t respond.
I was feeling really sick…
“Let’s go to the infirmary, Reika-sama.”
“That’s a good idea. Can you stand?”
“Her hands are ice cold. Are you okay, Reika-sama?”
I stood from my seat but lost consciousness for a second.
This wouldn’t do.
My ears were ringing and it was hard to listen to them.
In the end they supported me on each side and I was brought half-unconscious to the nurse’s office.
“Sensei, Reika-sama is feeling ill.”
“My! Could it be anaemia? Have a lie down on the bed.”
With the help of the girls, I did just that.
I closed my eyes, but somehow the world kept spinning.
“Leave the rest to me, girls. You should get back before the next class starts.”
“Get well soon, Reika-sama.”
I managed to squeeze out a thank you before they left.
According to the nurse I was feeling giddy because of lack of sleep.
I actually spent the last three days reading this series of full-length novels, so I wasn’t getting more than 5 hours each night.
Huh. Come to think of it I didn’t sleep at all last night since the story had reached its climax…
To get some oxygen into my head I went without the pillow, and put it under my ankles instead.
“Have a little rest like this. If you’re not feeling any better later, then go home.”
I did as she said and closed my eyes, falling asleep in no time.
I got up feeling totally fine.
Sleep is pretty important, huh!
The nurse was sitting at her desk and writing something, so I called out to her as I got out of bed.
“Sensei, I seem to be feeling better now.”
“You’re feeling all right?”
“Yes. I feel good as new.”
I was still a bit sleepy, but it was like I had never felt ill to begin with.
“You’re looking better as well. Don’t stay up too late now.”
“I will not. Thank you for looking after me.”
And sorry for being so much trouble.
“The period is about to end, so you woke up just in time for the next class. Do you want to stay here until the bell?”
“No, but thank you. I would like to visit my locker.”
I said goodbye and left.
Since classes were still in session, the hallway was devoid of people.
The only sign of anyone else was the voices that I occasionally heard from inside the shut classrooms.
Besides that, all I could hear were my footsteps.
At any rate, I headed for my own locker.
I was going to need my books for the next class.
When I arrived on the second floor, I heard something being dropped, and then somebody speeding away.
Strange. Weren’t classes still going on?
I wondered if some class had gotten an early mark when I came across a felt-tipped marker on the ground.
I suppose this was what I heard then.
I picked it up and looked for whoever dropped it but there was nobody in sight.
Maybe I could just drop it off with the Student Council then.
I continued onwards to my locker only to receive quite a shock.
‘Stop coming to school!’
What the heck…
The nametag said ‘Takamichi Wakaba’.
This was Wakaba-chan’s locker.
So the person I heard earlier was the culprit and they were running away from me!
Of course that was when the bell rang.
Some of the classrooms emptied out right on the dot.
And they noticed both me and the locker.
Don’t tell me they thought I was the culprit!?
“No, this is not what it looks like! I only just got here too,” I babbled, but people gathered around and began gossiping anyway.
“What’s going on?”
“What’s happening?” came another voice. “Ehh~? What the heck!?”
Of all people, it had to be Tsuruhana-san’s class that finished first…
The girl gave a malicious smirk when she saw the locker and the pen in my hand.
“What do we have here? After all the self-righteous talk, the great Reika-sama is secretly doing the same dirty things as everybody else,” she exulted.
“It was not me!”
“I didn’t see anybody else around. What were you even doing here out of class?”
“I was just coming back from the infirmary.”
“You’re even holding a felt-tip marker and you’re still not owning up?”
“I had simply found it on the ground here.”
“How very convenient.”
“It is the truth!”
“We all know that you secretly hate her too. That’s why you’re harassing her in secret, right?”
But of course, it was undeniable that I was the most suspicious person here.
Everyone else had an alibi, being in class and all.
And while I was stuck here as a suspect, more and more people came to gather around.
What was I going to do…!?
The teachers were trying to sort out the mess but nobody was listening.
It was too interesting.
Serika-chan and the others had heard and come as well.
“What’s your problem, you lot! As if Reika-sama would ever do something like this!”
“But the proof is right here.”
“What proof!? Didn’t you lot do this to frame her!?”
“Hey! Don’t blame the uninvolved!”
“You’re the ones accusing Reika-sama!”
Then, with the worst timing possible, Kaburagi came along.
“What’s going on…?”
He had one look at Wakaba-chan’s locker before his eyes turned angry.
“The culprit is Reika-sama over there,” Tsuruhana-san declared.
Kaburagi frowned and looked over at me.
Oh no, oh no!
“It was not!”
“But you were the only one here, Reika-sama. And you were even holding the pen.”
“No, but Kisshouin…”
Kaburagi seemed undecided.
“She might pretend to be a good person but in secret she hates Takamichi-san more than anyone, right? I bet all the past bullying has been her work too.”
“But… Kisshouin is…”
“We just didn’t know about it. She’s been looking into Takamichi-san’s day-to-day life and harassing her in a way that nobody would find out. I bet that afterwards she had girls from Takamichi-san’s class report to her, where she’d gleefully listen to Takamichi-san’s reactions.”
That’s you, damnit! Only you would come up with that!
Or so I was about to say when I was attacked again from an unexpected angle.
“Come to think of it, at cram school Kisshouin-san asked me how Takamichi-san was doing in class…” muttered some boy.
Who was that!?
I turned around and it was Tagaki-kun from cram school!
Tagaki-kun, you’re picking now to say that!?
I mean I asked but I didn’t mean anything bad about it!
Maybe he was just muttering to himself, but that was the worst timing ever!
My position grew ever more precipitous.
“Kisshouin, don’t tell me you really…”
Kaburagi seemed dumbfounded.
Don’t tell me he really thought I was the culprit!?
That I was bullying Wakaba-chan, and the enemy!?
It was here!
The ruin of my family had finally come!
Our company was going to be taken over, and then we’d be out on the streets!
Aaah! I had to fix this somehow…
“It wasn’t Reika-sama!” somebody suddenly screamed.
“Reika-sama would never do something like that!” they said.
The crowd split apart to reveal Mochida-san, walking forwards with trembling legs.
She was the girl who was bullied by Tsuruhana-san back in middle school.
After it was over, we still said hello to each other sometimes, but that was about it.
She was a shy girl as always, so it was to my surprise that she even spoke up.
“What’s your problem?” glared Tsuruhana-san.
Mochida-san flinched but shakily repeated herself.
“Reika-sama would never do something like that!” she yelled. “Reika-sama would never bully someone else! She helped me… Reika-sama was the one who helped me when I was alone!”
Her eyes were teary and her face was red.
“Tsuruhana-san and her friends used to bully me. Every day was so hard that even coming to school was a struggle!”
The girls in question looked a bit awkward under everyone’s gazes.
“Nobody came to help me! I was on the verge of quitting school! But Reika-sama offered a hand to me! She said hello to me! Every day, she encouraged me! She saved me!”
Openly crying now, Mochida-san continued to scream ‘It wasn’t Reika-sama! It wasn’t Reika-sama!’
“M-Mochida-san?” I asked hesitantly.
Suddenly it seemed like something inside her snapped, because she started moaning ‘Uuuuu~!’ as her whole body convulsed and her eyes rolled back into her head!
It was like Mochida-san had been possessed!
I’m so sorry for saying this after you did your best to protect me but I’m sorry, it’s scaryyy!
“Well said, Mochida-san!”
“I’ve rethought my opinion of you, Mochida-san!”
Serika-chan and Kikuno-chan praised her bravery as they supported her on either side.
She was breathing heavily now, and her eyes were back to normal.
She came back to herself…
Thank you so much, Mochida-san.
She was so terrified that she even went mental for a moment.
It must have been so tough for a shy girl like her.
“I don’t think it was her either,” declared Wakaba-chan.
I didn’t even know when she arrived, but she had Enjou with her, and went to stand next to Kaburagi.
“Kisshouin-san isn’t the type to do these things. Absolutely not! I’m certain of it. Her only involvement was picking up that marker.”
You believe me!?
Even with all this proof against me?
“Haah? And you can just decide that? Don’t tell me you’re trying to suck up to her? Or was it like Youko-sama said, and all a farce that you set up yourself?”
“It’s my objective opinion. First of all, Kisshouin-san isn’t the type to use these kinds of underhanded means. Next, if Kisshouin-san did have a problem with me, she’s powerful enough that just muttering ‘She’s an eyesore’ would be enough to make my life hell. ”
Y-, Yeah. Am I supposed to feel happy or sad about this…
“It is true that Kisshouin is the type that crushes you head-on.”
“Yeah. And that woman goes for the jugular from the start.”
“She only needs to strike once. A killer’s instinct…”
What the-, who was saying strange things this time!?
You again, Soccer Club President!?
Stop looking away! At least have the guts to look me in the eye!
And hey! Wasn’t my image just getting worse and worse, here?
And you, please tell me you actually just meant ‘killer instinct’.
“The point is that I’m certain that it wasn’t Kisshouin-san,” declared Wakaba-chan.
Since the victim herself said so, that brought the incident to a close.
Plus, after the teachers heard about what happened, they confirmed that I had been in the infirmary until just before the bell.
Not only that, but since I was part of the Pivoine the teachers would have gone easy on me anyway.
It didn’t take long for them to judge me as innocent.
Not that people didn’t still suspect me…
“You were so unlucky, Reika-sama!”
“Seriously. As if Reika-sama would ever do something like that!”
Thank you for cheering me up, guys.
“Still. My opinion of Takamichi-san might have changed, just a little.”
Because she covered me, my group’s attitude towards Wakaba-chan was a little different now.
Speaking of which, I wanted to have a talk with her, and ask her why she believed me while I was at it.
I sent her a message asking her to meet me after school today.
I couldn’t find an equivalent joke for the below so I didn’t even try.
Okay, that’s a lie, I tried for 2 days and came up blank.
“She only needs to strike once. A killer’s instinct…”
And you, please tell me you actually just meant ‘killer instinct’.
The original, much funnier line, was,
“She has the presence of a yokozuna” which is an innocent enough phrase that means ‘the bearing of a king’ or ‘the aura of a champion’.
Of course, a yokozuna is actually the champion sumo, which is why Reika exclaims,
‘And the person who called me a yokozuna, what exactly did you mean by choosing that phrase? Depending on your answer I might track you down afterwards!’