Chapter 36 – The Quarrel and the Dog and the Wolf (3)
The next day. As expected, my worries hit the mark.
Soutarou’s responses have been cold throughout the morning. He’s clearly holding a grudge regarding yesterday’s matter. Even though he speaks normally to Kaname, he doesn’t even look at me when we talk.
What I did yesterday ――chasing after Ikuto and trying to cross swords with Kaburagi―― oh, he’s definitely still angry, huh. But even now, I still don’t think that my choice at that time was wrong.
Back then, Kaburagi just happened to not really be a scary person. That’s why everything ended safely. But if it weren’t so, Ikuto might not be in one piece.
That’s why I can proudly say that my decision is not wrong.
Getting angry over something of that level, it’s Soutarou who’s weird.
“Why do you think Souta is so angry, Mako-chan?”
“It’s probably because I chased after Ikuto-kun and picked a fight with Kaburagi.”
“That’s correct, but that’s not the point. Both Souta and Mako-chan are strangely off-track.”
Kaname point at the tip of my nose as he gobble snacks up.
The same animal cookies Prince had been eating before are placed on the table between Kaname and I. Are animal cookies popular in Izumino Gakuen? Well, they are somewhat tasty. Their simplistic taste is addictive, or so to speak.
“What is the point then?”
“Wellll, what’ll you do if Souta dives into a yakuza base?”
“Huh? A normal person will stop him, right?”
Soutarou’s athleticism is certainly top-notch and he’s also tall, so he’s definitely strong in fights. But if it’s up to me, I’ll definitely stop him.
“Then, what if I’m held captive in that base?”
The yakuza, Kaname and Soutarou.
It’s just hypothetical, but what will I do if the situation Kaname mentioned actually occurs?
Although I’m worried about Kaname, I can’t possibly let Soutarou go to such a place and neither will I be able to best the opponent.
“Th-that’s… I’ll call the police, maybe. Regardless, I’ll never let Soutarou go alone.”
“Exactly. At the very least, you won’t send Souta in. This example was quite exaggerated, but this is why Souta stopped Mako-chan back then. He was worried, you know? Really.”
“Aah, yeah… I see.”
Click, there was the sound of a puzzle piece fitting in.
I understood clearly that Soutarou stopped me because he was worried from the bottom of his heart.
And yet, I only considered my own perspective till the very end. It doesn’t matter what happens to me. I’m very cool for going to save Ikuto. I was probably thinking that in some corner of my mind.
After all, I’d have definitely stopped Soutarou if he was the one who went to save Ikuto.
“… I’m sorry.”
Kaname push a cookie against my lips when I suddenly hang my head.
It’s dog-shaped. I accept the cookie and chew it. It has the plain and simple taste traditional cookies have.
Before I knew it, I began overestimating my strength.
Due to the transport to this world, I became a tall boy, many people gathered around me, my brute strength and physical power grew stronger than when I was a girl. It was also as though I gained a more powerful fresh start as a person. Perhaps that was how I felt.
No matter what kind of appearance I come to have, I am me. That is something I said numerous times. Be it the male me or the female me, they are both “Makoto”. Nothing has changed. Even if my gender changes, it’s still me at the very root.
“Still, honestly, I fell for Mako-chan’s manly presence~. Seriously cool. I would have really fallen in love if Mako-chan was a girl.”
I was originally a girl though. However, I think that a guy as sparkly as Kaname will definitely not come to like a plain girl like me.
“I think Kaname’s the truly cool one. How you work to help Soutarou and I reconcile and how you’re able to do things like this so easily, as though they’re nothing much. It’s really cool. I like that part of you.”
Kaname’s perfectly round eyes became even rounder and he was stunned for several seconds.
“‘Like’, you say… is this a confession? I’ve a feeling guys are feasible if it’s Mako-chan. Hold me.”
“What are you saying with a straight face.”
Kaname gripped my hand tightly so I brushed him off strenuously.
“‘Cos Mako-chan’s slender and delicate, ya? ‘nd has a feminine face too, ya? Yet is manly, ya? Hence Mako-chan’s cute! It’s feasible! I end up thinking like that, ya?”
“I’m straight, alright. It’s impossible, alright. Even if it’s feasible for you, it’s not for me.”
Kaname cackled at my reply.
Aah, Kaname’s really a good guy. I can clearly tell he’s trying to cheer me up.
At that moment, I receive a notification on my smartphone. Its vibration makes rattling sounds on the table because I have it on silent mode.
The caller is the high and mighty Subaru-sama. I can’t possibly ignore it if it’s Her Majesty Yurino Subaru’s call.
“Sorry, may I step out for a while?”
Normally, Subaru isn’t someone who will call at this time of the day.
Subaru is typically nocturnal, so I occasionally receive calls in the middle of the night, but it’s still 4pm now y’know.
“Ahh, Subaru? What-”
“Sorry Mako, come and pick me up! Can you act as my boyfriend, just for the period after school?!”
“… Wha? Ah, wait, ‘boyfriend’?”
My eardrums rang because she shouted in a loud voice. It’s on the phone so I can hear you well enough even if you don’’t speak so loudly.
“Oi, Subaru? Like I said, what-”
What happened, the call ended with a beep before I could finish those words.
Although I can’t tell what happened from the call just now, today is right on the heels of yesterday. This is definitely related to Kaburagi Kazutoki.
This Kaburagi, he appears to be serious and bullish, but don’t tell me he went all the way to Private Atlas Academy to meet Subaru?
Claiming he fell in love several seconds after meeting and even going to her school the very next day to meet her. It causes me to question if he has a bit of a stalker’s disposition. While I doubt that an otome game character will cause harm to a girl, I do feel slightly worried.
“Was it Suba-chan on the phone?”
“Yeah. She seems troubled.”
“Should I come with?”
Somehow or the other, I’ll certainly feel reassured if Kaname’s around.
His communication skills are crazily high; won’t he be able to hook even that unsociable Kaburagi?
Still, it’s not quite right to get Kaname, who’s not related to this, involved.
Also, judging from our short exchange that time, I can’t see him as such a rampant person. Besides, I believe it’ll be fine if I pretend to be her boyfriend for a bit. I suppose there’s no need for Kaname to take the trouble and come.
“It’s okay. I doubt it’s dangerous and if anything happens, I’ll inform you immediately.”
After eating an animal cookie, I began stuffing textbooks into my sling bag. Or so I say, but I’m typically part of the ‘Leave-Things-At-School Faction’. Hence, I only bring back my pencil box, homework and a couple of the necessary textbooks.
“‘kay, understood. Be sure to take care, ya.”
I turned my back to Kaname who waved his hand left and right, and left the classroom.
Private Atlas Academy is an illustrious, mission girl’s school founded in the latter half of the Meiji era, during the English studies boom. But it became co-educational during the Heisei period and about 30% of the entire student population today is male.
Apparently, Atlas, the origin of the school’s name, embodies the meaning of ‘someone who supports’ and ‘someone who endures’.
And this Atlas Academy is 5 minutes away on foot from Izumino Gakuen.
In front of the school gate, I take out my smartphone from the pocket of my slacks in an attempt to call Subaru. Just as I open my phone contacts, a shadow is cast on my phone. Finding it strange, I lift my face. Goodness, a mere couple of centimeters before my eyes is Kaburagi. I took a few steps back from the shock.
“What, wha, Ichigo-chan…”
“Don’t call me ‘Ichigo-chan’. Rather, are you, Subaru-san…”
“Aah, I came to pick Subaru up. More importantly, Ichigo-chan, that head…”
Kaburagi Kazutoki was such a redhead before, but now he has black hair. Moreover, it’s the short hairstyle that baseball players have.
Perhaps he didn’t dye it properly; there are still some red streaks. However, the black portions are as black as a crow.
Don’t tell me he was induced by Subaru’s declaration of liking black hair, and changed to this hairstyle in a single night? Isn’t that kind of cute? I unconsciously burst into laughter.
“What’s wrong with ya. Aah? Don’t laugh!”
“‘cause, because, Ichigo-chan, super cute.”
“Huh? Are you making a fool outta me?”
The glaring Kaburagi ――or Ichigo-chan, doesn’t feel as scary anymore.
He’s certainly stern-looking, huge and is full of muscles, but there’s no use already. Because it’s already inputted in me that he’s an incredibly honest and cute person.
“I’m not doing that so don’t glare so much.”
The phone in my hand vibrated.
Lowering my gaze, I see an incoming mail from Subaru. Casually opening it, ‘Keep it up, invite Ichigo-san to a date and fall him!’ a ridiculous message is received.
It’s only a single sentence but there’s too many points to retort. First of all, what do you mean by ‘date’. Also, what do you mean by ‘fall’.
However, if I reject her, she’ll probably say something like I’ll never cooperate with you again, okay. She should be watching my conversation with Ichigo-chan from somewhere right now, so I’ll be immediately ‘disqualified’ if I make any suspicious move.
Why do I attract troublesome things like this, I wonder. Is it because I’m Mitsuki’s older brother? Is it because I’m the heroine’s older brother?
“Ahh… yeah, um Ichigo-chan, wanna go for tea?”
“Huh? I’m waitin’ for Subaru-san tho.”
“Yeah, I’m sayin’ let’s talk about that very Subaru.”
Perhaps he was coerced by my emphasizing voice; he nodded with apparent reluctance.
I’ve no intention to invite him to a date and fall him the way Subaru’s mail stated, but it should be fine as long as I placate him and make him give up on Subaru. That’s the difficult part though.
“Well then, let’s grab some cake, Ichigo-chan. Cake.”
“Huh? Cake? Two dudes alone?”
“Do you hate cakes, Ichigo-chan? Aren’t they tasty? Cakes.”
There’s a fancy cake shop in front of Tachibana train station. It’s the cake shop Subaru told me about the other day.
According to Subaru’s information, it seems that Ichigo-chan is rather fond of sweet things and lives in an apartment near Tachibana train station.
“I don’t really hate them.”
I tugged at Ichigo-chan’s shirt sleeve.
“Leggo then. Y’know, my recommendation is the shortcake. The fresh cream on it is super delish. It’s rich, you know. It’s kind of heavy so I can only eat 3 pieces each time though.”
“Isn’t 3 more than enough? Your mouth will be full of sugar.”
“Three isn’t enough. I can go for 6 or 7 if it’s not shortcake. But I still have to eat the dinner Mitsuki… my little sister made.”
Mitsuki has no club activities today so she definitely prepared a delicious meal and is waiting for me.
It was tonkatsu yesterday so it might be fish cuisine today. We had meat and potato stew in the morning so we might be having the leftovers, huh. Whatever it is, Mitsuki’s homemade cooking is the best. Let’s limit myself to 2 pieces of cake so I can still eat Mitsuki’s food.
Make Ichigo-chan give up on Subaru. Reconcile with Soutarou. These two issues squeezed my heart tightly.
One problem after another. Why is the position of the heroine-chan’s older brother so full of ups and downs like this, I wonder.
 a.k.a. Widened eyes became even wider.
 God in Greek mythology. He was condemned to support the heavens on his shoulders.