Chapter 34 – The Quarrel and the Dog and the Wolf (1)
It’s been 3 months since I became a high school boy. It’s already July.
I was once a maiden, but now I’m without a doubt a high school boy. It’s something praiseworthy.
It’s about time I manage to bring out the so-called man in me. In spite of that, “Ack, a guy?!”, even now I get a fright if I look into the mirror when I’m half-asleep. It feels as though it’s not my body even though it is my body. So much so that I unknowingly burst into laughter at times like that.
There’s times when the feeling that I’m male really sinks in.
They’re when I stand beside girls, when I talk to Soutarou and company or when I happen to see boys in the toilet.
My height grew by about 20cm, my voice is low and there’s no chest. No, well, my chest was already almost nonexistent originally though.
But there aren’t many opportunities to turn into a high school boy these days, so I started thinking I should just try and become a cool high school boy. I’ll become a high school boy like the ones I thought I’d like to date when I was a girl, yo.
Even as I started to adapt this way and that, as expected I made neither progress nor regress regarding returning back to the real world. Naught.
“Oi, Souta, are you ignoring me!”
“Ehh, I’m the mother?”
“This development, I reckon it happened too before.”
I retorted while eating the mango cake, a newly-released summer product.
The 3-person rowdy group of Soutarou, Kaname and I, went to the usual family restaurant. It was in order for us to study there, but the only one seriously studying was Soutarou alone.
Kaname has his head propped on the opened textbooks as he idle and lounge around, and I’m eating cake.
Truth be told, I wanted to eat the giant parfait, another newly-released summer product, but Soutarou stopped me. It seems that the payment will be waived if you finish the giant parfait within 30 minutes, and furthermore you will receive a 5000 yen food voucher. It’s a matter that has to be tackled seriously.
“Noiーsy, Mako-chan. I don’t want to be told by someone who’s eating cake.”
“You’re the noisy one. This cake is a new product, y’know.”
There’s 10 more days till the end-of-term test. I think the first day is Mathematics II・B, Biology I and Music. Well, to begin with, casting aside Music which I’m poor at, I’m demoralised due to the array of science subjects I’m poor at.
Modern Japanese, Traditional Japanese, Chinese Literature, World History and Japanese History were originally my forte, so I think I can do even without studying too much for those, but the sciences are a complete no-no. Still, it’s much better than ballgames.
If I’m not wrong, Mitsuki should also be better at humanities. Additionally, the arts should also be her forte. That’s why, all the more I have to study the sciences so I can teach her.
It’s all for the sake of raising Mitsuki’s specs. I must work hard at studying.
Let’s first finish eating this cake, then study for dear life.
“Oh right, Mako-chan went to observe the Karate Club, huh?”
“Ahh, un, just a bit the other day. I’m not joining the club though.”
Speaking of a cool guy it’s strength, and speaking of strength I thought of tile-breaking, so I went to observe the Karate Club the other day.
However, when I heard about it in more details, even women can do things like tile-breaking as long as you get the knack. And in the first place, the only time they do tile-breaking is during the performance for the freshmen welcome party, so or I heard.
Nevertheless, it’s definitely cool and impactful. I was introduced to a bit of the basics, the standard stance and thrust, and was also taught how to kick. It was interesting.
There are of course people who pursue Karate even though they’re girls, but I didn’t hold such an interest when I was a girl. It was a precious experience.
“Isーthat so? Karate’s interesting, you knowー. Besides, you can get a black belt if you do it for 2 to 3 years. And the forms and stuff are SUPER cool!”
The high-specs Kaname can do even Karate.
I understand very well that Karate is cool, but I still hesitate to enter the Karate Club. It’s unwished-for to use up my time there.
As I chewed the few remaining pieces of the cake, a familiar voice came from above my head. It’s Ikuto who’s wearing the school uniform of Private Atlas Academy.
As usual, Ikuto had eyes like those of a dead fish.
“AH! It’s Ikkun. You’re Ikkun from Atlas right? Do you remember me? Kaname! Fujisaki Kaname!”
The companionable Kaname smoothly suspended the talk about Karate, and started talking to Ikuto who was leaning over.
Ikuto had an expression like he was slightly taken aback by Kaname’s enthusiasm, but he quickly smiled and lowered his head.
“Yes, of course I do. You participated in the basketball match at Touka, right?”
“Un, yup yup! I know! Have a meal with us, Ikkun.”
“Eh, is it okay?”
Ikuto gave me a bewildered look.
I stopped eating the cake and nodded at him.
“That’s right. Come sit here. Let’s study together if you’re fine with it. We made a promise before, right?”
“Is that okay? Thank you very much.”
Ikuto took a seat next to me, and behaved awkwardly as though he was shy.
The Ikuto who said “Excuse me” as he looked at me again, is bewitching to the point of being an eye-opener. They sure are siblings. He resembles Madoka.
He resembles the queen of ice who has a beautiful, sublime ephemerality and was somewhere erotic.
Only the shadow reflected in their eyes are different. The sculpting of their faces are like two peas in a pod.
“Is there something on my face?”
Did he noticed my scrutinising stare? Ikuto gave a wry smile.
I hastily shook my head from left to right.
“No, I was thinking that you really do look like Madoka.”
Marble-like large eyes on a fair and smooth oval face, thin lips. A slim and delicate body.
Ikuto who smiled abruptly differed from that serious look of his, and was erotic to the point of giving me the shivers. This also differs from Madoka. Madoka smiles in a purer way.
“I’m, …… different from nee-san. Because nee-san is white.”
Madoka is white. Dirty things and contaminated things, living beyond the bounds of all and sundry fetters. There may also be times it appears black, but the truth is, it’s probably pure white.
What colour would this Ikuto be, then?
Reacting to Soutarou’s voice, I raised my head with a startle.
It seems like I was staring fixedly into Ikuto’s eyes while I was ruminating. I wonder what is reflected of me on the other side of those eyes.
He’s a mysterious person. Even though he’s serious, I also have a feeling he’s not.
“Mako, what’s wrong? For you to be zoning out, are you feeling unwell?”
Soutarou who happened to be sitting right opposite me, worriedly peeked at my face.
“Ah, nah, there’s no such thing. I’m peppy.”
“If that’s the case, then all’s good……”
Soutarou seems to be in low spirits somehow.
The dog ears growing from his head were hanging down, and the tail that’s usually wagging busily was drooping.
Soutarou hasn’t spoken much since Ikuto came, and he seems much more unwell rather than me.
“Are you okay, Soutarou? You’re somewhat strange, y’know.”
Soutarou was listlessly shrinking his large body that’s like that of a big dog’s, but his body straightened with a spring when I spoke to him.
“Eh, you’re wrong! You’ve got it wrong!”
“….. what have I gotten wrong?”
What in the world, is up with Soutarou?
In one moment he’s listless and in low spirits, then he gets all worked up in the next. Strange. Without a doubt, strange.
Kaname who sat next to Soutarou seemed to know the reason for Soutarou’s weird behaviour; he was snickering away. Please tell me if you know something.
It’s at times like this that Kaname can’t read the atmosphere, huh.
Having finished the cake, I barely managed to raise my heavy back as I opened the textbook. It’s the Mathematics II・B textbook. Calculus, vectors, and so forth, I don’t get them. Though I don’t get them, I’ve no choice but to understand them.
Adjacent to me whose head began hurting immediately, Ikuto was going to open his World History textbook.
However, that hand of Ikuto’s knocked into a cup that contained coffee. The cup slowly tipped over. He’s out of luck because the one who laid ahead of that was a person you can expect the worst from.
He’s a red-haired high school boy who has his bangs slicked back, and some hair jutting out at the sides like the legs of a crab. He has well-defined facial features like a Greek sculpture’s, sharp sanpaku eyes, a height that exceeds even Soutarou’s, and a sturdy build.
He feels like the template delinquent high school student. Someone I’ll normally never want to get involved with.
To think that, of all things, coffee was splashed onto this high school boy.
Ikuto turned ghastly pale and stood up in a hurry, lowering his head deeply. However, there is no way he will pardon Ikuto so easily. The delinquent high school student furrowed his brows as he glared at Ikuto.
Without thinking, I stood up too.
The scrawny Ikuto will be helpless if such a robust guy does something to him. I’m also pretty scrawny, but it’s definitely much better compared to him.
The delinquent high school student threw me a fleeting glance. His expression then changed into a surprised one, and he suddenly turned away.
I wonder if there’s something on my face.
“…… not really.”
Leaving only these words in a barely audible voice, he quickly left the family restaurant.
It was Ikuto who panicked. Ikuto probably thought that he can’t leave him be, having splashed coffee on him.
Stuffing the scattered textbooks and whatnot into his bag, he chased after the delinquent high school student.
“I apologise, everyone! I’ll be excusing myself first.”
“Ah, wait, Ikuto-kun! It’s dangerous alone. I’ll go witーー…… he left.”
He ran off without listening to the end of my words, leaving behind only the money for the coffee.
I promptly stood up too, and stuffed the textbooks into my bag. Taking out the money for the cake and coffee from my wallet, I prepared to chase after Ikuto.
“Hang on, Mako? Are you planning to go after them?”
“That’s right. That’s the normal reaction, right. I can’t leave Ikuto in the lurch.”
I gave a distinct and decisive reply to Soutarou who made a dubious face.
There’s no way I can send him off with a “Okay, goodbye” and let the weedy Ikuto confront such a stern-looking high school boy. If I continue pretending that I didn’t see a thing, there’s no way I can nonchalantly smile at Ikuto again.
I’ll of course also be too ashamed to face Madoka.
“Mako-chan’s so coolー！ But y’knowー, for the time being, calm down, now.”
“Don’t push the matter forward on your own, Kana.”
Soutarou issued those words in a surprisingly low voice.
Kaname stopped speaking and glanced at Soutarou, then shrugged.
“Mako, I’m worried about you, you know. Certainly, Mako is cool. You’re kind and forthright to anyone, as though you’re a hero. But Mako isn’t something like a hero. You’re just a high school student, right. You may get hurt to a certain degree if you go too far, and may also end up in hot water.”
“What are you trying to say, Soutarou? Are you asking me to leave Ikuto-kun in the lurch? Are you saying, I should leave him in the lurch and pretend to have seen nothing, even if he gets hurt or if something happens to him?”
“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying it’s not the best course of action to chase after Ikuto-kun this way and pick a fight with that high school student. Calm down, Mako.”
It’s not the time to be talking about such a thing. It’s not the time to be arguing here.
At this very moment, something might be happening to Ikuto.
I am calm. If you want to talk about calming down and so on, then Soutarou who had been in a daze until a while ago is much more inapt.
Squeeze, I held my bag tightly.
“I won’t bring any trouble to Soutarou.”
Having said that, I left the family restaurant.
I think I heard something like my name being called from behind, but I ignored it. Of course, I understand that Soutarou and Kaname are truly worried about me.
Nevertheless, I simply want to save the person before my eyes. That’s my sole focus.
 三白眼 Sanpaku gan