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Chapter 25 – The Third Wheel and the Knight and the Princess (2)
The second Sunday of March. Accompanying Mitsuki who wanted to do some final adjustments before the practice match begins, we came to Izumino Gakuen’s indoor pool in the morning.
But because Mitsuki asserted that it’s embarrassing to be watched during practice so you can’t see!, I quietly hid in the shadows and looked at her. Like a hentai. Well it’s my fault for coming against her will.
With her body wrapped in a black competitive swimsuit with pink lines, Mitsuki dived into the glistening water. Cutting open the water surface, she who gracefully and smoothly advanced was just like a doll.
So it wasn’t a lie that she had an interest in swimming. Even someone like me who’s not familiar with swimming can tell that her swimming is beautiful.
“Sakurai-san’s swimming is by no means fast, but it’s pretty isn’t it.”
Takayanagi who apparently emerged from the males’ changing room, folded his arms and gently watched over the swimming Mitsuki.
He too was wearing a black knee-length competitive swimsuit with blue lines. A beautiful supple body with taut muscles.
Not expecting in her wildest dreams that we are watching her, Mitsuki rose from the pool after swimming 50 metres, catching her breath. I wonder how so much power is derived from such a small and slender body.
“It causes one to think Mitsuki sure likes swimming. See, even now she’s grinning so much.”
“You’re right. She swam very freely. It won’t do if swimming isn’t like that.”
Once again, Mitsuki dived into the pool.
Submerging into the water surface with a beautiful form, she twisted her body and single-mindedly, simply single-mindedly bisected the water.
Takayanagi vacantly watched that figure of Mitsuki’s. That vacant blue eyes, as though longing for that freely-swimming Mitsuki, seemed to be looking at something beyond her.
“I want to see Takayanagi-senpai swim too. I heard from Mitsuki but, you’ve won prizes on various occasions. I bet you’re fast.”
Will he, like Mitsuki, glide through the glistening water with his supple muscles? Or will he, in discord with his outer appearance, swim vigorously like he’s cutting through water?
Kyu, Takayanagi clenched his fist tightly, and made a face as though he’s laughing, as though he’s about to crying.
“That’s right. I’m fast.”
“Ah, saying that yourself.”
As though the face just now was a lie, to Takayanagi who spoke confidently with a nonchalant face, I returned words like I’m teasing him.
“Truthfully I am fast……But, very soon I’ll quit swimming……This, is already the last.”
“‘This is already the last’, but, isn’t there still the interhigh preliminaries? Senpai’s the Swimming Club’s ace you know.”
From hereon we’ll face summer and its corresponding matches, for such a practice match to be the last is too wasteful.
Takayanagi is sufficiently competent. There’s no way it’s okay for his swimming life to end in such a place.
Moreover this expression of Takayanagi, it’s obvious with a single look that he doesn’t really want to quit the Swimming Club.
“Even if my swimming is fast, even if I’m the ace, there’s times when one has no choice but to quit.”
I think he said something similar before, regarding the marriage with Madoka.
It’s not like I plan to say “If you give up now, the match ends there you know?” something like that, and if Takayanagi intends to give his life up to Madoka I don’t really care.
However. Choosing the result of giving up like this, how is it to Madoka? Rather, I think Madoka is pitiful.
Nonetheless if he chooses Madoka, does he really think that’s fine?
Reacting to Takayanagi’s words, I chased his line of sight.
The destination of his sight was the, fair-skinned, beauty with a hair colour like honey and translucent eyes like glass balls, Yukinoshita Madoka, and the small-animal-like lovely girl, owner of large black eyes and small red lips, Sakurai Mitsuki who’s standing by the poolside.
It’s within my expectations that if her beloved Takayanagi participates in this match, Madoka’ll be here like it’s completely natural. Though I didn’t think she’ll appear at such an early timing.
Since by no means can I suddenly step in, I decided to watch over the two’s situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, they shouldn’t be able to see us from over there.
“You seem to be, having a lot of fun huh.”
Abruptly opening with a villain’s line and clearly picking a fight, I feel slightly touched at the template villainess.
Since long before, I’ve been the type who feels like supporting rival characters or villain characters in shoujo manga, so I don’t think that badly of Madoka. Neither do I really want to think badly of her.
But if it seems like she’s going to do anything cruel to Mitsuki, I can’t overlook it.
Astonished, Mitsuki tilted her head as she stared at Madoka’s face.
“I, loathe impertinent women like you who shower your charms on anyone, and think that they’ll listen to anything you say as long as you make a slightly cute face.”
Nice to meet you I’m the villain, with an absolute zero smile like she’s looking down on Mitsuki, she spit out those words.
I thought I would be more angry, but when she plays the role of a villain to this extent, on the contrary I feel refreshed. After all there aren’t many 3-dimensional villains who play their role to this extent.
Mitsuki faltered with a troubled expression. Her eyebrows became like the ハ character and she stirred restlessly.
Looking at her face, she doesn’t seem that hurt but if it comes to that I will have to put a stop to it.
“On no account, ever approach Yasuchika and Junya. Do quit the Swimming Club too. It’s unsettling when someone like you is around.”
“I can’t do that. I didn’t enter the Swimming Club to get along well with Takayanagi-senpai or Kaichou-san. I entered because I love swimming and I want to swim. That’s why it’s not something that I can quit when Madoka-san tells me to.”
My heart throbbed seeing the side of Mitsuki’s face which holds a strong will different from usual. And before I realised, with the colour of her face clearly changed, Madoka drew a step closer to Mitsuki.
“If you don’t quit, Yasuchika will have to quit! Are you saying that’s okay?!”
Before I could even think what she’s going to do, Madoka pushed Mitsuki’s shoulder with all her strength. It seems Mitsuki couldn’t resist the sudden movement.
Having lost her balance, Mitsuki plunged back first into the pool. There weren’t even time to let out a ah voice.
When Mitsuki fell into the pool with a splash sound, I was finally able to let out my voice.
Forgetting that I was hiding, I ran towards the poolside and jumped without hesitation.
Grabbing the arm of Mitsuki who sunk into the water without even preparing for the fall, I pulled her towards my chest, hugging her as I led her towards the water surface. Mitsuki’s face emerged from the water and after coughing violently goho goho, she took a deep breath.
Having scrutinised till there, I finally felt relieved and the tension left my shoulders.
“Mako, chan…… tha, nk…… you.”
In the interval between Mitsuki’s coughing fits, with a feeble breath she thanked me, making my heart tighten.
Despite having such a thing done to her, with neither fear nor anger, Mitsuki smiled sweetly. Only a ridiculous maso or a ridiculous softhearted person would be able to smile at a time like this.
“Are you hurt?”
“Ehehe, my foot might have been twisted a little. It’s hurts, I don’t think I can stand if not for Mako-chan’s support.”
Mitsuki laughed frivolously, but perhaps her twisted foot is painful, she frowned once in a while.
Settling her down by the pool side, looking at her right ankle there’s a red swelling. With her foot like this, not even mentioning today’s practice match, she likely can’t swim for the next few weeks.
Mitsuki who swam so beautifully and smoothly, Mitsuki who enjoyed swimming so much, because of Madoka who pushed her with an irrational reason, it became that she can’t swim.
I can’t get angry here. Losing to my feelings here, shouting and brandishing violence, is what an idiot would do. Yes, what an idiot would do. I know that but I was unable to disperse the welling anger.
Just when I lifted my head, smack!, the clear sound resounded in the indoor pool.
What first entered my sight was Madoka holding her reddening left cheek, looking in shock at Takayanagi. Before her was Takayanagi, biting his lips in an attempt to suppress his anger.
“What are you doing! You, do you know who you just hit?!”
“I know. Madoka, apologise. Apologise to Sakurai-san.”
Towards Madoka who screamed hysterically, Takayanagi addressed her with a quiet low voice, like he’s warning her.
But Madoka’s lips trembled as though she was about to cry, and she grabbed Takayanagi’s arm strongly.
“I’m not in the wrong. Because, Yasuchika……”
“I swore to you that I would quit the Swimming Club, didn’t I. With that you should have been convinced too. And yet, what is this about? Because you pushed her, Sakurai-kun got injured, and now she can’t participate in the match. How do you plan to take responsibility for this?”
“Yasuchika’s an idiot! Why is it only me you don’t look at? Even though the only important people I have are you and Junya! Even though we promised that 3 of us will always be together.”
Madoka looked at Yasuchika once again. But Yasuchika’s anger did not subside.
This was probably the first time Madoka was scolded by Yasuchika. Her shoulders shook with a start, and she took several steps back. But she was by nature a headstrong woman. Without being outdone, she glared back.
“I don’t need someone like Yasuchika anymore.”
Running, Madoka left the indoor pool.
I was unable to follow this flow of events and vacantly watched the two’s exchange while still submerged in the pool, but as Takayanagi unexpectedly said what I wanted to, the anger I held towards Madoka had already calmed down.
More importantly, didn’t this turn into quite a dire situation? What action will Madoka who lost the support of her heart, Takayanagi, take? I can imagine the point of her anger being directed at Mitsuki again.
But I don’t think it will help even if Takayanagi goes after her.
“…… Sakurai-kun, will you go after Madoka? It’s embarrassing when I’m the one who said all that to her, but I don’t know what she will do when blood rushes to her head. Of course I’m not forcing you but……”
“Understood. Senpai, please take care of Mitsuki.”
“Of course. Please leave Sakurai-san to me.”
Nodding just once to Takayanagi’s words, I chased after Madoka in a half-run.
I’ve no idea where she ran off to, but she originally has a weak constitution and shouldn’t have much stamina, so she’s likely not too far away.
What should I say to Madoka when I catch up to her? As the anger from her pushing Mitsuki was all conveyed by Takayanagi’s words, the rage has largely calmed down, so I should be able to speak with composure.
Well I have no choice but to do it.
Somehow or other, I have to say something skillful, and obtain a promise from her to not do cruel things to Mitsuki anymore.
It’s just my gut speaking, but I have a feeling Madoka isn’t that disagreeable a person. What, perhaps I’m also softhearted to the extent I have no right to call Mitsuki softhearted.
Ukemi 受け身: Receiving shocks without getting injured, defensive posture, etc. In this case Mako’s referring to falling safely.
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