Volume 6, Chapter 9: I became a Fifth Grader, Part 3
“Yuzu-chan, so cute!”
After waiting a while, a boy emerged from the crowd, gleefully calling out my name as he found me, a relieved expression on his face.
“Ah, Ouji-kun, sorry for making you come and fetch me.”
“No, it was good to see Yuzu-chan. Ah, uhm……”
“Your dress suits you… I was surprised by how beautiful it is.”
Kouki-kun was like that too, but really, Ouji-kun could say things like that so lightly.
No, it wasn’t lightly said at all…… I was embarrassed, and it seemed that Ouji-kun was incredibly embarrassed at his own words too.
“Well, let’s go. Yes.”
As he put out his hand in the same way that he did back in kindergarten, I took his hand like normal.
Come to think of it, we’d stopped holding each other’s hands since the second grade in elementary school. Why did that happen…… was it that as he slimmed down, he didn’t feel the need to hold my hand?
“……What’s the matter?”
Is that…… did you mature as a man? I thought that I could see the shadowy profile of Ouji-kun as an adult.
“Ah, that’s right. Yuzu-chan, I will be changing my name officially.”
“Yuzu-chan has always called me Ouji, no? Recently, my family has started calling me that too, and since I’m called that even in school, the court accepted that it was in common use.”
“That’s good! …… Should I be saying that?”
“It’s alright, thank you.”
Somehow, I subtly feel that being called ‘prince’ is not really okay, though, it seems that it’s a load on his shoulders. With this, I’m going to have more trauma and stomach pain, too.
After that, we walked in silence.
“……Yuzu-chan, thank you……”
On our way toward Ouji-kun’s parents, Ouji-kun suddenly murmured such in a mostly-empty corridor. Is this some continuation of what he was saying previously?
“Hey, you remember Onzada-san who I introduced to you who’s in middle school?”
“……Ahh, Onzada-kun. Was that person helpful to you?”
“Yeah, he taught me a lot. I was also able to be at ease…… thanks to Onzada-san, or I would have been worried about Yuzu-chan.”
“Is that so……… Onzada-kun pledged that he would protect me from quite a while back, though.”
Thanks to that… I seem to have made a very weird contract….
“……Yuzu-chan seems to be quite close to Onzada-san.”
“I wonder about that, though? It’s certainly true that it’s easy to talk to him.”
“I spoke with Onzada-san and received a bit of a shock. ……That’s *different*, though.”
“……What are you talking about?”
Ouji-kun stopped at the corner of the corridor where there was no one and looked me in the eyes.
“I like you, Yuzu-chan.”
“But, as a childhood friend that I’ve known forever, I also feel like you’re family. I was so happy to hear of the engagement. I thought that I could stay with Yuzu, my favorite, forever.”
“…… But I don’t dislike it, you know?”
“I know. Yuzu-chan thought of me as family too, no? But I feel that Yuzu-chan would be better if she could stay with someone who needed her.”
“Ouji-kun, am I no longer necessary?”
“I need you, but it’s not just me, but other people *need* Yuzu-chan too.”
“From what I heard from my father, I think he wants to introduce you to everyone as my fiancée today. I’ll go speak to father about this, and is it alright for us to associate until we reach middle school?”
“To associate with you…… an engagement?”
“Yes, so. Although I thought that I was incompatible, I wanted to prevent some strange person from coming onto Yuzu with the rumors of the engagement for a while. Of course, I wished for Yuzu-chan to fall in love with me during that time…… there was that desire too.”
As he spoke, Ouji-kun laughed ruefully. …… And I don’t know what kind of face I should be making.
Ouji-kun…… he was seriously watching out for me, wasn’t he?
“Well then…… Should I become a pest repellent for Ouji-kun?”
“That’s right. But even if you weren’t here to repel pests, I won’t let myself be caught up with that funny transfer student, so feel relieved.”
“Yup. I will quit being your friend if that happens.”
“It seems that Kouki-kun is being aimed for more than I am, though. Shijiyuuin-san is also in for it.”
I replied to Ouji-kun and we exchanged gentle smiles.
This…… is it okay for me to be shaking……? Well, it can’t be helped. I think that I only ever saw Ouji-kun as a younger brother.
If I were older, my feelings might change, but then it would be rude to Ouji-kun.
But…… for Ouji-kun to be this determined, what kind of conversation did he have with Onzada-kun?
“My body itches…… what is this, this ain’t a rash. Good grief, is it because of this cheesy dress after all? Well, papa’s only good for his money, but even so, if I want to have a dress custom made, that’s a no. Really, I can’t even make use of him. ”
Matsuri prowled the venue alone, looking for Kouki and Handsome.
If it was in the original timeline, this event shouldn’t have happened while they were in elementary school, but Matsuri had talked to Kouki and Handsome many times, trying to raise her favor points with them.
Kako still hadn’t done anything to Matsuri, so she wasn’t able to raise the conviction event, but Matsuri was hoping internally that the engagement event with Handsome would happen.
“Kako you knave, I managed to avoid all of your pitiful traps, so why didn’t it advance? That steak was surely Kako’s work…… The teachers must surely have noticed.”
Matsuri had surrounded herself with mob character girls who were timid for the past few years, and hence obtained some influence in her year.
Even though she flirted with the male teachers, it was only to the extent of getting noticed by them, and she was sure that this was due to Kako.
“Given that I’m so cute, there’s no way in the world that there could be a man that wouldn’t fall in love with me……”
Matsuri chewed her nails as she thought of the event progression that wasn’t going well.
“Ouch! What the heck?”
It seems that Matsuri had accidentally bumped into someone else while thinking.
Even though there was no sense of pain at all, looking down instinctively and stepping back, she saw a ball-like girl that had fallen on her butt, looking up at Matsuri.
Was she in the junior classes? The girl stood up, and beating the dust off of her dress with a *pon pon*, she bowed her head to Matsuri.
“Onee-chan, I’m sorry for bumping into you.”
It was Matsuri who had bumped into her, but just from the things that she wore, Matsuri could tell that she had been brought up well.
Matsuri, who was in a poor mood after seeing a girl wearing a first-class tailored dress that was nicer than her own, pinched her cheeks.
“Ara? Oh, so your cheeks hurt if I pinch them.”
“Owwwww it huuuuurts……”
When the girl raised her voice and began to weep, Matsuri clicked her tongue lightly at all of the bystanders’ gazes. “Ara, she fell down and hurt herself……”
So she said, glancing at the boys nearby coquettishly, before instantly fleeing the scene.
“Wh-what, to that extent. I want to cry for the events that aren’t advancing.”
Still, it would have been terrible had either Kouki or Handsome seen it.
Matsuri moved about the place, and when she peeped quietly from the shadow of the table where the dishes were placed, her eyes went wide at the people there.
“Kouki-kun…… and Kako.”
The two of them looked like the perfect couple with their formal wear on. They didn’t look at all like grade schoolers.
The two of them comforted that little girl, with Kako on her knees gently stroking the hair of the girl with a gentle face, even as the girl cried, and with Kouki calmly fussing about Kako.
The voices of the surrounding adults reached Matsuri’s dumbfounded ears.
“Ah, that’s the young scion of the Kuon house. And that pretty young lady next to him is…”
“That’s the daughter of the Shijiyuuin house. They grow up so fast.”
“They’re fiancées, no.”
“Well, for such a beautiful couple, they’re certainly like eye candy.”
“A distinguished young man, and an honorable maiden in love.”
“They’re not just beautiful, but also kind to the children.”
“After the retirement of Lord Kuon, the current household head has been hard at work restoring the family’s power, but it seems that the house is in safe hands.”
While she listened to the adults’ gossip, Matsuri ground her molars together at the appearance of the two of them in good spirits.
What was going on? How did this happen? How did the relationship between the two of them develop this far?
“……I am…… the heroine of this world…… but then”
It felt like she had her feelings played by some monster that she couldn’t touch.
“No…… Still, there’s the event in junior high school…… there’s still Handsome-kun.”
At that time……
Matsuri heard a noise from the corner of the hall even as she walked while muttering her grievances under her breath.
“Did something happen?”
“Oh, it seems that the scion of Nikuno has his fiancée standing with him.”
“I saw her. It was a pretty child.”
“Did she reveal herself for the 70th anniversary? It gives a sense of security for the next generation.”
Matsuri panicked at the rumors that she heard and turned to look at the commotion.
The fiancée event should still have been far away. Even if the event came early, Matsuri was supposed to be chosen as the fiancée, and such a thing couldn’t be happening.
As Matsuri looked towards the center of the commotion from the gaps between the adults, she saw that between the presidents and his wife and Handsome, there was a girl holding his hand.
That girl, who Matsuri had watched when she came to Takamine School, was a child who had an adult-like appearance, who looked very beautiful despite being a dullard, and because she didn’t ever act against Matsuri, she had been one of the mob characters that Matsuri intended to use as her crony to capture her targets.
“W-what’s that girl’s name!?”
Matsuri asked as she clung onto a man next to her.
The man, thinking that she was the daughter of someone involved, grimaced at Matsuri’s attitude, but answered her.
“She…… is the daughter of Director Toukaki, Yuzu, wasn’t it?”
Although she didn’t appear in the game, Matsuri remembered that in the setting materials for “Nikuno Handsome”, that was the name of his first love.
Was Yuzu lying to Matsuri all this while…?
But from her foolish attitude with regard to Matsuri, it seemed more likely that Kako was behind it instead of her, and she thought that Kako had gotten them together to get in Matsuri’s way.
However, she wasn’t intending to forgive Yuzu either.
“……I won’t forgive you. Both of you.”
Matsuri ran out of the hotel venue and walked through the city at night.
In her chest, she embraced the boiling anger and hatred that was like a smelter furnace burning within her……
Even if she had the memories of her previous life, it was no good for a fifth-grade girl, who was powerless, to walk alone.
Towards the pretty-looking Matsuri, a malicious adult crept closer.
“Yes, that’s right! Ahahahahaha!”
Matsuri who recalled a certain sentence in the setting laughed out suddenly.
The biggest reason for Handsome to believe that he was cursed was because his childhood first love had fallen sick when he had entered junior high.
“Yes, Yuzu should get sick as soon as possible, in fact, even sooner! Heeheehehe”
“O, oi, ojou-chan”
Matsuri, who had been interrupted, hit the neck of the man who had been behind her, and he crumpled down, staggering to the floor as he stopped moving.
Why could Matsuri do such a thing?
The bones of the fingers that Matsuri had used to hit him were also broken, but Matsuri kept laughing without minding it……
“I’ll kill you, Yuzu.”
Her eyes were stained with desire and madness, as if possessed by the same thing as the attackers who had tried to attack Yuzu.
It’s feeling serious now.
The story starts to move.
Next time, what exactly influenced Matsuri?
For the grand statement up there of “…Mob-girl…” I like to picture Matsuri taking a deep breath beforehand, squinting her eyes, and half-hissing the statement like any good overdramatic pro/antagonist should.
Side-note: I maintain my everlasting love of Matsuri in this series.
Side-side-note: Thanks again to Aberdeus for giving the idea for the better translation of Mobuko.
This has been the busiest time of the year for me and I am suffering for it.