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In order to avoid being spotted by anyone from Zui’ran, we agreed to meet up one station down from her house, in a lonely little café that none of them would ever visit.
Just being extra careful, right?
A cow bell rang as I opened the door, and I stepped into a café with a retro aesthetic.
Wakaba-chan was reading a textbook at a seat near the back.
So the smart kids made use of this time to study too!
“Sorry, did I keep you waiting?”
“Nope, not at all. I actually thought you’d be a little longer, really,” she smiled, closing her book.
On a day like this I’d normally have gone to the salon, and then to the clubroom, but I told them all that I was feeling bad.
On the way out Kaburagi seemed like he really wanted to say something, but that was scary so I power walked to the car park.
Thank goodness he hadn’t asked me to stop…
Since this place didn’t serve hot chocolate, I went with milk tea instead.
Wakaba-chan was drinking a hot coffee.
She’s so mature.
“I was surprised you would be here so early, Takamichi-san. Was there no Student Council work today?”
“There was, but I said I had some family matters to take care of so they excused me.”
Fellow Stalking Horse had also asked me what happened in his capacity as the StuCo President.
All I could tell him was that I heard somebody while on the way back from the nurse’s office. I picked up the marker and discovered the graffiti.
I wonder if he believed me.
The other members of his Student Council seemed to be suspicious of me.
“At any rate, regarding today’s incident…”
“Yeah. It must have been rough, Kisshouin-san. Was everything okay after that? You really had it tough.”
The first words that came out of her mouth were sympathies.
“Ah… So you really believe me when I say it was not I, then…”
“Of course I do!” she nodded.
Her expression told me that it wasn’t even in question.
Not even a doubt in her mind.
“Why are you so certain of that? I am quite sure that I was the most suspicious one there. I would have thought a little doubt to be natural…”
“Ehh? It’s because I’ve always considered you my closest ally, I guess.”
What the hell!?
Uuu, I’m so happy, Wakaba-chan!
That’s what you’ve thought of me!?
“On what basis? What if Tsuruhana-san was correct, and I actually despise you in secret?” I said a little contrarily.
There were people like that in the world.
I knew what kind of person Wakaba-chan was, but she didn’t know me nearly as well. Certainly not well enough to be certain that I meant well, right?
“No way,” she laughed. “In secret you’ve been helping me out too, right?”
I wasn’t sure why she could smile so confidently about that.
I was a little confused about it.
“I recall doing nothing of the sort.”
She folded her arms and hummed.
“Well if she’s that keen on keeping it a secret, maybe I shouldn’t say anything…? Ahh, but is she really keeping it a secret…? I mean, that wasn’t keeping it a secret at all, right…?” she muttered.
“Ahh~ Umm… Kisshouin-san, a while back you uh, wrote me a letter filled with what to look out for in Zui’ran, didn’t you?”
Why did she know it was me!?
“Ah… Going by the look on your face, you really were trying to hide it then?”
Wakaba-chan smiled a little helplessly at me.
“Eh? Eh!? How!?”
And I was so careful to keep it anonymous too.
So how did she realise it was me!?
“How long have you known!?”
“Well, from the start.”
“From the start!?”
“If you looked at the inside of the envelope under a light there was a little Kisshouin crest. So yeah, when I first opened it I realised it was from you.”
What the hell!? I didn’t know about that at all!
It’s true that I used our family’s letter set since the one I had was a little plain, but I thought I was in the clear since I avoided the one with our crest on the back!
But despite all that there was a watermark on the inside!?
I had no idea!
“You didn’t sign the letter, but since the envelope had your family’s crest on it I figured that you were using that instead.
“But after a while, from your attitude, I started thinking that perhaps you had been trying to keep it a secret…
“I thought about thanking you so many times, but if you were trying to hide it then I thought maybe it would be better to avoid mentioning it.
“Which is why I hadn’t mentioned it until now. I mean, you even referred to yourself in third person.”
THIS IS SO EMBARRASSINGG!!
‘Kisshouin-san’ I called myself!
I even thought I was so clever about it!
Even though she knew from the start!
This is hell! Somebody kill me!
‘Kisshouin-san’s group wields the most influence amongst the 1st Year girls of Zui’ran, so take care around them’?
Hahaha, who actually says that about themselves?
Aren’t you the one who wrote it!?
I thumped my head onto the table and began grating my head against it.
“Ah geez, Kisshouin-san, are you okay?”
I’m not okay…
I’m about to die of shame.
“Sometimes I sent you little signs though. Like when I made the seven-herb congee for you. Your letter warned me to be careful while picking wild herbs after all.”
So that really was pre-meditated!
“Plus, around the time I got your letter, the gardener told me to be careful as well. You told him to warn me too, right?”
I guess she knew it all, then.
At this point the only thing I could do was sulk.
“…I see. Well thank you very much for all your consideration… I was the one who wrote it, oh yes.”
Wakaba-chan gave another helpless smile as I sulked.
“Well anyway, that’s why I think you’re on my side.”
“And I finally get to say it now; thank you for being sincere, and always coming to help me, Kisshouin-san.”
“You are welcome…”
I was so ashamed that I couldn’t even look at her in the face──
After that I listened to her talk about the Student Council.
Apparently Fellow Stalking Horse didn’t think I did it either.
“It doesn’t fit her M.O.” he apparently said.
“Just the time you shut up those sports clubs was enough to remember you did things completely differently. Man, that fan was something else!” laughed Wakaba-chan.
Is that so?
When I got home later that day, I checked what I thought were unmarked envelopes.
Just like Wakaba-chan said, it seemed plain on the inside until you shone a light on it, and our family’s crest appeared.
Geh, it was true.
But I’m impressed that you even found this, Wakaba-chan…
I vowed never just to slack off and use my family’s stationery to send anonymous letters ever again.
Wakaba-chan might have believed me, but the problem was Kaburagi.
If he ever decided that I was Wakaba-chan’s enemy, my future was over.
I needed to find a way to make him understand, and secure the safety of my family.
If I revealed the nature of my relationship with Wakaba-chan then it would certainly solve the current issue.
But if the whole school realised it as well, it would make life a lot harder for me.
Well, whatever the case, I’d have to see how Kaburagi behaved tomorrow…
If he didn’t say a word to me, then I’d just leave it be.
Yeah, that sounded like a good idea.
But despite that, no sooner had school ended did Kaburagi call out to me.
We weren’t in the salon right now.
Instead, he had brought me to a small conference room.
I guess he asked for permission so that he’d have a place where we wouldn’t be heard.
What was I going to do if he sentenced me to death?
“Umm, so what was it you wished to speak to me about…?” I asked nervously.
“Yeah. About yesterday’s locker incident.”
I knew it!
“It was not me!”
So he hadn’t called me here because I was a suspect?
“I’ll admit that I was a little suspicious. But afterwards Iwamuro told me that you were absolutely not the kind of person to do that.”
He and Kaburagi knew each other!?
Apparently Iwamuro had once been his horse.
“Your class rep came and told me the same thing. You’re pretty popular, Kisshouin.”
Maiden’s Society――! You came through for me!
“Sorry for even doubting you.”
“No… But I see now. In that case, what was it you wished to speak about?”
“It’s a bit hard to say, but…”
Kaburagi hesitated for a moment.
“The truth is, I actually have a girl I like…”
I already know that. And?
“I’d like your help with that.”
“Both Iwamuro and Class Rep said that your hair was a god of love.”
What the hell do you mean my hair!?
“Apparently by touching it you’ll be granted luck in romance. They say it’s super effective.”
“Do you truly believe such a story?”
“Ah, I mean, not really but… honestly I just wanted a girl to talk to about these things. And you were the best suited for that.”
Choose somebody else, please.
“Please, Kisshouin. I won’t ask anything unreasonable.”
In the past you used me as a gopher, didn’t you.
And I don’t want to get involved in your romance either.
But I doubted Kaburagi would back down.
I probably couldn’t even leave until I accepted.
I didn’t even have a choice, did I!?
Hm, but if I had to do it either way, then…
I suddenly had a wonderful idea.
“…I understand. But I have a few conditions.”
“You will not at any point in the future attempt to uncover evidence of crimes committed by my family, nor will you attempt to destroy us. Please swear on this.”
“Is your family involved in crime?”
“Absolutely not! It was simply an example! Yes, an example!”
Uh oh, I might have made him suspicious for no reason.
His eyes were certainly looking suspicious.
“Any how! As long as you refuse to swear this I will not aid you in the slightest!”
“Haaah. Alright, alright. I just have to promise, right?”
“A verbal agreement is not binding.”
I took out a sheet of writing paper from my bag.
“Please print the following: ‘I, Kaburagi Masaya, swear not to engage in behaviours that will bring about the ruin of the Kisshouin family’.”
“Are you guys really doing something that shady?”
“The heavens as my witness, we are doing no such thing! Now, come! Please hurry up and write it. And sign it as well, please.”
“What a pain…”
Although he complained to himself, he did as he was told and thrust the completed declaration at me.
I retrieved a box cutter from my pencilcase.
“Please use your blood to sign with your thumb print.”
“Haah!? Blood!? What the fuck are you saying!? Scaryy! What the fuck!? Is this a pact to murder the King or some shit!?”
“A signature is simply not enough. Please show me your resolve. Now come. The blood seal please. Come. Come.”
“No fucking way! That’s fucking heavy! Your folks are definitely up to some fucked up shit, aren’t they!? Just what kind of crazy stuff are you involved in!? No fucking way am I giving you a blood seal!”
He even tucked his thumbs into his fists.
Are you a child?
“Phew, I suppose I have no choice. In that case, as a compromise just using ink will do.”
Since I didn’t have the traditional red ink on hand, I provided him a red marker instead.
“A thumb print…? Well, if that’s all…”
Kaburagi coloured in his thumb and gave me what I wanted.
Of course none of this would hold up in a court of law, but at least Kaburagi would think twice before breaking this promise.
“Thank you very much. Well then, I promise you my cooperation, Kaburagi-sama.”
“Alright! Well then, let’s… Hang on, I’m going to go wash this ink off first.”
Kaburagi left for the bathroom.
I carefully placed his oath into my bag.
A while later he burst into the room screaming,
“Oi! This ink is freaking oil-based, damnit! It won’t come off at all!”
Geez. What an excitable guy…
“Both Iwamuro and Class Rep said that your hair was a god of love.”
The original line is,
“Both Iwamuro and Class Rep called you the Hair of Luck in Romance.”
What on earth did you talk to those two about!? Who, exactly, is this God of Luck in Romance!?
The joke is that he’s used the intonation for hair(kami), but she hears it as god(kami) since it just makes more sense to her that way.