The full chapter 7. Here’s a comparison of the poll results as of this post if you’re curious. Btw, I’m part of the ‘Aoi and Kii might make good friends’ group! Also, it was brought to attention that some of the options you guys had in mind wasn’t in the poll but feel free to discuss in the comments!
Kōryaku Taishō-sha na Watashi wa Gyarugē Shujinkō kara Nigetai wake de! (Chūhen)
Chapter 7 – The True Heart [Full]
When I open the front door, the slightly damp air brushes against my skin.
The sky is cloudy today.
I think the weather forecast yesterday did mention it’d rain from noon onwards.
Maybe I should bring an umbrella.
While it isn’t a『refreshing morning』, it isn’t blindingly bright either, and fits my current mood perfectly.
The soft curls that I should have curled properly are limp, as though they’re reflecting my listlessness.
I was unable to sleep well last night.
Because I repeatedly slept and woke, my head hurts.
This is all Kagurazaka Aoi’s fault.
… Anyhow, he’s probably here today too.
With these thoughts in my mind, I turn the door knob.
See, I knew it.
He has his usual gentle smile on.
What did I mean by『Thank goodness』?
I reflexively make a comeback at myself.
It’s no good; my head may have turned strange because I didn’t get proper sleep.
I’ve to get myself together.
Just as I’m thinking that, my gaze stops at his foot and I recall.
His foot was sprained yesterday but…
“Senpai, your foot…”
“Un, it’s fine. Thanks for the concern.”
“Is that so. I wasn’t concerned at all, but… thank goodness.”
I purposely speak in a disinterested manner and walk pass him.
I start walking in a quick pace that simply shouts『I want to walk alone』, but for some reason, he wears a happy-looking expression as he walks beside me.
My anger bubbles at both how my intention wasn’t transmitted and at that grin on his face.
I don’t like this『naturally, we’ll head to school together』feeling.
I unknowingly let out a sigh.
“I’ve a favour to ask you, Kii.”
“Do allow me to reject it.”
“There isn’t an issue when I walk, but I doubt I’m able to chase you if you escape. That’s why, can you give escaping a rest today? Besides, today’s the Friday that I tend to spend with you. I want to be together with you.”
I want to say, ‘First of all, listen to what people have to say’.
It’s tiring to retort every single time so I won’t say it though.
『Friday』, he says.
Because it feels like I’ll unconsciously respond with『Isn’t it because it’s the day the favourability rating raises easily?』, I swallow those words.
I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want my mood to turn even gloomier than this.
It will rain.
“Shall we go somewhere after school?”
“I am not going.”
“I’ll pick you up when class is over.”
“Like I said… can you hear me? Are your ears working properly? I am not going!”
“I’ll come and pick you up.”
He shoots me a smile the same moment his words are fired. This smile that charms a large number of girls is nothing but a threat to me now.
My classroom has completely transformed into the opposing team’s turf.
If I ignore this guy when he comes to pick me up, the favourability rating people have of me will be reduced again.
Ah… but, I wonder if the guys will cheer for me.
Nah, even so, female friends are more important to me than male ones.
Moreover, if I continue ignoring him as he pursues me throughout the day, it feels like I’ll get stabbed by the girls at some point.
“If you stay quiet during the other break times, I’ll accompany you if it’s just after school…”
“Kii! Yes, I promise!”
“… It’s just for today.”
Let’s treat it as thanks for shielding me from my fall off the stairs yesterday and endure it.
We’ll probably go out of school when school ends so let’s take it that I’ve managed to protect the peace of the school… yep.
The weather forecast is still off its mark at this point; it hasn’t rained.
I stretch and loosen my body as I gaze at the cloudy sky beyond the window.
The morning classes are over and it is now the long break time:『lunch break』.
As that guy promised, he’s yet to appear today.
It’s been a while since I can spend my time in school undisturbed… at the instant I’m thinking so.
The moment I relax, I encounter that guy in a totally unexpected place.
Perhaps it’s due to the lack of sleep; my head’s a blank. Hence I decided to take a nap and went to the backyard.
An iron bench sits there, its coat of paint peeling off slightly.
The bench isn’t exactly pretty, but it’s perfect when you want to lay down horizontally.
Moreover, there’s a large tree by the bench. On top of the shade provided by the tree, it’s a little-known place people rarely drop by.
I thought that there won’t be anyone here with the weather being so unpredictable today, but someone beat me to it.
It’s that guy.
What’s he doing in a place like this?
I hide myself and stealthily peek out. He’s engrossed in reading a book.
I’m curious about the book he’s reading so I strain my eyes but I still can’t see it clearly.
I think it’s some kind of magazine…
“『Understanding her preferences』will give you a high evaluation. Your choice of the shop and your choice of the present is key…”
He’s scanning the page pensively while muttering about something.
Does that magazine contains such complicated content?
“Present… nuh huh, what I’ve to take note is that depending on her mood when she receives it, it may feel oppressive or shallow… so the timing is important too. If it’s the previous Kii-tan, she’d like cute…-ish and girlish things, but the current Kii-tan seems like she prefers pretty and fashionable things, huh.”
I hear something about me from his mutterings?
Or rather… is it me or it sounds like he’s thinking about what to give me for a present?
Watcha doin’, to the extent of hiding in such a place!?
For some reason, I grow embarrassed; my face turns hot.
No, this isn’t due to bashfulness nor happiness.
It’s because I was called『Kii-tan』again, such an embarrassing way of calling my name…!
“Moreover, she seems to admire Shiori… should I ask Shiori for suggestions? I wonder if she doesn’t like accessories anymore… I didn’t manage to get her to accept it after all. Also, where should we go today? It’s so hard… ahhh, egaddd, what should I do!”
Eh… is he actually ‘a grandpa who reincarnated’ on the inside, or something!?
I wonder if he’s going all brouhaha because his body became young.
If so… I think it’s forgivable.
If I treat it like daycare, I’m not too unwilling to go for just a 1-day date y’know.
… Wait, it’s not the time for that.
It’s the same when he was murmuring by himself previously too, but this gives a different impression from the normal Kagurazaka Aoi.
Is this the『true Kagurazaka Aoi』?
I realize the moment that came to my mind.
Maybe I wasn’t looking at senpai either.
Just as how he wasn’t looking at my true self, I, too, wasn’t looking at the true Kagurazaka Aoi?
“Isn’t this harder than the bar exams…!?”
… Even though I was reflecting on myself seriously.
I hear a line that completely cuts the tension.
Let’s give up on napping and go back.
“To think it’ll be so tough without the capturing data… I really had it easy so far, huh.”
He’s still muttering away, but I bet it’s something foolish.
I think I’m starting to want to escape after school…
I remained in a somewhat melancholic, somewhat edgy, restless state as school ended.
True to his words, he came all the way to class to fetch me, and then brought me out of school.
“Is there anywhere you’d like to go?”
Maybe he wasn’t searching for a place to go when he looked through the magazine in the afternoon?
Even though before my ‘awakening’, he always brought me to places I liked even without me telling him about them.
“Does senpai not have any?”
From his panicky expression, it appears he doesn’t have a place in mind.
If so, there’s hope.
“Please bring me to a place you like, senpai.”
Chances are, in order to conform to the capturable characters, Kagurazaka Aoi masked himself in a facade.
My preference was a ‘reliable and mature man’.
That was why he pretended to be like that in front of me.
Even I thought he was such a person.
What came to mind when I witnessed him reading the magazine during the day――.
Sure enough, I haven’t been ‘looking’ at Kagurazaka Aoi.
Therefore… just for a bit, I thought of wanting to know the true Kagurazaka Aoi.
“Please bring me somewhere senpai feels is『truly fun』and somewhere you『honestly like』.
“… If so, Kii will definitely not have fun, you know?”
“I do not mind.”
‘Somewhere I won’t have fun’, I’ve no idea where that is, but I wonder what kind of place is it?
He appears hesitant, but when I nod as he asserts again that『It won’t be fun, you know?』, he starts walking with heavy footsteps.
I smack away his hand that tries to hold mine, and follow behind him.
“This is… an internet cafe?”
“Technically, it’s the most stylish one I know but… I’m sorry.”
The place we arrive at is an internet cafe within the arcade in front of the train station.
Certainly, the interior is more stylish than the impression an ‘internet cafe’ gives.
It’s simple, Westernised and its color scheme has a calming tone.
So there’s a place like this, huh. It’s kind of exciting.
“Fufu. I have wanted to visit at least once.”
I’ve wanted to visit at least once, but I probably don’t have friends who do.
Courage is needed to come alone.
Being brought here, I feel happier than expected.
“Amazing, isn’t it! To think the drinks are free-flow! They also have soft serve ice cream and regular ice cream! Do you come often?”
The service is also better than expected.
Although there aren’t many customers, I do see women around, so it’s unexpectedly not too uncomfortable.
Oh man, my enthusiasm is rising!
“Once in a while… nah, I come quite often.”
Didn’t he almost tell a lie for a second just now?
Why, even though I can’t care less how often he lies.
“May I know what you do here?”
“I play online games, read manga and watch DVDs. What shall we do?”
“Do not mind me and do what you want, senpai.”
I’ve no idea what to do, plus the objective today isn’t for me to enjoy myself.
“… Let’s watch a DVD. Is there anything you want to watch?”
“… Senpai, are you bad with things like this?”
I wanted to let him choose the DVD, but it landed in my field of vision.
The zombie action horror movie I’d been curious about.
The protagonist is rapidly defeating zombies on the screen.
“I-I’m not scared! You know how it’s surprising to have a bat appear all of a sudden? I just wasn’t able to stand that.”
I halfheartedly respond to his excuse that I’ve no interest in.
I want to focus on the showing.
So please don’t distract me with your voice.
The room we are watching the DVD in is a narrow private room.
I suppose the width is only about one tatami?
The amenities are pretty much just a television, a sofa and a small table against the wall that drinks can be placed on.
The two of us are sitting on the sofa, side by side.
… It really is squeezy; our shoulders make contact no matter what.
At first, I was conscious about how close we were and it was unpleasant.
The movie progressed and I think I started to stop caring though.
Currently, it’s the scene where: the moment the protagonist is feeling relieved after defeating all the zombies, a surprise attack comes from behind.
The guy beside me, his shoulders jump in shock.
When I reflexively laugh, he averts his eyes in a sullen manner.
It’s the first time I see him make a face like that, huh.
… It may be kind of cute.
When I return my line of sight to the front, the protagonist kicks the zombie’s head after showering it with bullets from his gun.
“He should have kicked from the start if he was going to do so. Don’t you think the bullets he shot were a waste?”
There’s no reply even though I talk to him.
When I look beside me once again, his eyes are closed.
Well now, is he using the strategy of ‘not seeing’?
“If you’re so scared, shall we stop watching?”
“You are not watching, though.”
“… I’m watching.”
I draw nearer in order to make sure, and certainly, they are faintly open.
Still, you can barely watch like that, right.
Even though you don’t have to force yourself so hard to watch.
At that moment, my mischievous side surfaces.
Let’s give him a scare.
I firmly grab his shoulder and at the same time, let out a loud sound by his ears.
After which, he gets so shocked that it almost shocked me; he fell from the sofa.
Stupefied, he looks at me with wide eyes.
His appearance after his fall from the sofa: his clothes are out of sorts and his expression has broken down. He looks silly.
As I stare at the pretty face that remains stiff even now, I didn’t manage to stop myself and break out in laughter.
“… Kii. I thought I was going to die.”
“Senpai can just turn into a zombie if you die. You can join them, you know.”
“… Goodness, I’m really no match for Kii, huh.”
Hanging his head, he returns to the sofa as I point at the screen and laugh.
His nervousness may have dissolved after receiving a shock; he has this strangely lax expression.
What makes him so happy?
“I won’t be scared if Kii is willing to hold my hand, though.”
“Be scared for the rest of your life then.”
He’s even getting so spirited.
Let’s leave him alone and watch the movie.
“… It was fun!”
“… It’s finally over.”
Even though it took about 2 hours, it went by in the blink of an eye.
It wasn’t too bad watching a DVD in a place like this.
I must thank the low-spirited guy beside me.
“Thank you very much. You’ve introduced me to a good place.”
I think I’d like to come back again.
Let’s sign up to be a member before leaving.
As I give thanks while returning the remote control to where it originally was, he corrects his posture from his previously tired-looking one, looking towards me with an exceedingly serious expression.
I don’t like it because our legs touch when he turns his body this way on the squeezy sofa.
But I’ll endure since he looks so serious.
“A-actually… to be honest, I wanted to play online games.”
I involuntarily scowl.
Thinking that I don’t have to endure anymore, I stand up.
I hate people who says things like this afterwards!
If so, you should’ve said it at the start!
Perhaps he notices that my mood is worsening because he starts speaking in a fluster.
He pulls my hand in an attempt to get me to return to the sofa but I slap it away and turn the tables on him.
“B-but…! Rather than playing games, I think it’s absolutely better to be alone with Kii in a narrow space like this… the motive is crooked though.”
Certainly, at first, I was conscious of how close we were and how our shoulders touched.
It’s embarrassing and awkward being told this anew.
“Kii, I was incredibly happy when you said that you wanted to go to a place I like. I was truly glad that you held an interest in me. Still, I really didn’t think that I’d go on a date like this. It was lame, right… were you disappointed?”
“Well… that’s right.”
If you ask whether it was cool or lame, the answer is probably『lame』.
It’s still an internet cafe, albeit a slightly stylish one. Besides, he was doing nothing but being terrified at the horror movie.
“It was far from being『wonderful』but I think it was the most memorable one so far. It was fun.”
I was able to see an expression I didn’t know he had. Moreover, instead of a perfect date where he equivocates a facade, I believe we had a much more meaningful time.
That’s why I can honestly say that I really had fun.
Is it my imagination? He seems teary-eyed.
He’s smiling with a smile that appears both forlorn and relieved.
… This expression, too. It may be my first time seeing it.
“A lame date like this, it was a failure no matter how I look at it, but… It was also the most enjoyable one I had so far… I’d always been facing『dates』enthusiastically because I believed that the other party would definitely enjoy them. But I was uneasy today, not knowing whether I could bring Kii enjoyment.”
Bit by bit, his words spill in a manner which I can’t tell if he’s speaking to me or himself.
Thinking it uncouth to interrupt, I silently prick up my ears.
“Anyhow, this emotion is important, isn’t it. Taking the other party’s feelings into consideration… being worried at times… This is how people get to know each other, isn’t it.”
Having mumbled that, he shuts his mouth.
Quietening, he looks down, appearing to be thinking about something,
I keep quiet too, watching over him.
“Thank you for looking at the true me. From now on, I will look at Kii properly too.”
Just as I discern that he’s raising his head, he looks at me with firm eyes.
They’re the most dignified and clear eyes amongst all that I’ve ever seen.
I hastily avert my gaze from that dazzling appearance.
“D-do what you want.”
“… Thank you.”
When I mumble『It doesn’t particularly matter even if you don’t look, though』, he gives me a carefree smile this time.
“So Kii is a tsundere, huh.”
Somehow, y’know… I didn’t intend for the two of us to spend time like this.
I feel like opposing the me who think that the time isn’t badly spent.
“Ah, that’s right. This is also… lame, but.”
What he presents as he speaks is a PET bottle containing milk tea that’s in a nylon bag from the convenience store.
“I am not feeling particularly thirsty though?”
“No, well… that may be true but, how do I say this…”
He mutters something awkwardly and unintelligibly.
What, did he put some drug in it?
“… What is it? I do not need it if it is something dodgy.”
“It’s not dodgy! It’s just normal milk tea.”
“What is the matter then?”
I hate this wishy-washiness; it’s irritating.
When I throw him a glare, he turns his gaze towards the wall and speaks without looking in my direction.
“I wanted to give you something that you like, Kii, but… I pondered over it so much to the point that I didn’t know what to do. When I thought about the things you like that I know of, I remembered that you drink this very often… and by the time I realised, I’d already bought it.”
Certainly, it’s the milk tea I always drink.
Even now, I’ve the same thing in my bag of which contents I’ve finished drinking.
“It’s ridiculous for a drink to be a present. Let’s leave that aside for now. I’ll take a shot again so…!”
“That is unnecessary. This is enough… thank you very much.”
For the results of reading that magazine to be milk tea, how lame.
It was so lame that… I’ve even forgotten to take an opposing stance.
Kagurazaka Aoi might have fallen into a bout of self-derision for he hangs his head in a resigned manner.
I find it pretty much to my liking though?
After going home, I take the milk tea out from the bag so that I can drink it, only to find something inside.
In a deep blue small pouch with a light blue ribbon, lays a familiar-looking pendant.
It’s the pendant which I had caused to drop from Kagurazaka Aoi’s hands.
There is also a tiny piece of paper in the pouch.
『Because, I still think it suits Kii. Throw it away if you don’t want it.』
That’s what’s written there.
“How persistent. … Fufu.”
Sure enough, the blue gem is the same colour as my eyes.
I can’t bring myself to throw it away once I notice that.
I pick up the pendant and gaze at it as it sways.
“I’m sorry for dropping you previously.”
It sways like a swing when I hold the portion with the charm.
I wait for the swaying to stop before placing it on the accessory stand on my table.
That day, student-teacher Akari stood at the teaching platform.
At first, she directed a strangely stern gaze at me.
Rather than a glare, it was more like she was brooding about something.
But as the lesson went on, the shadow dimmed…
She gradually grew lively as she waved the teacher’s pointer.
That was fine but… for some reason, I received a series of concentrated strikes.
I was appointed to solve the problems at every turn.
… What’s the matter?
As I tidy up my desk after class, Akari calls out to me.
“I apologise for appointing you the whole time. It’s a… paltry harassment on my part. I’m convinced thanks to this.”
My gaze is fixed on the red notebook that’s on the topmost of the things like textbooks that she carries for her return to the staff room.
Within its transparent front cover is a single photograph.
It’s the remembrance photograph of her and the teacher she respects.
“He’s the teacher I respect, an existence I admire.”
Akari appears to have noticed my gaze.
“I slot it in my notebook so that I’ll see it every day and recall my original resolution.”
The gaze she casts upon the photograph is clear.
Can it be…
“He seems to have moved forward too. It’s no good if I forget about what’s important and come to a standstill.”
I’m not able to catch the words she lets out as she hangs her head, but she has a calm expression on.
Hope rises in me as I look at that refreshing smile as though weights are lifted off her.
Akari’s eyes have been opened, I think.
“Be sure to properly revise the areas you weren’t able to answer today!”
With the countenance of a『Teacher』, Akari leaves with a light gait.
And during break time.
“Come here for a moment!”
Without knowing the reason, I was dragged and the place I was brought to is the empty toilet at the practice building.
The kidnapper is Midori.
Being called to the toilet by an upperclassman!?
Wh-what should I do… I’m going to get strangled!
“You are seriously an unpleasant woman! Shrewdly stealing the march!”
What is she talking about?
She drives me towards the wall and slams her hand with a don.
What’s this, it’s kabedon!
My heart didn’t throb at all though!
“Are you listening!?”
“Sheesh, which part of this girl is good…”
I may not know what’s going on, but I frown because I can tell she’s speaking ill about me.
“『I want to face her properly』, is it?”
Midori’s eyebrows are raised but after quietly mumbling something, she exhales as she looks at me.
And then, the stagnant aura Midori has suddenly dissipates…
Taking some distance from me, she places her hand on her hips like a model and smiles.
“It can’t be helped, can it… it’s my loss! He fell for you to the extent of saying something like that after all… I, too, remembered that there’s something I cannot avert my eyes from.”
It was the same with Akari, but Midori appears like she has accepted something.
“I can’t run away, huh. I already knew it all. What I must do… and also the matter about Aoi. I honestly wanted to slap you though.”
Did she say ‘slap’?
Eh, I… as expected, am I in a pinch!
“Let’s have tea together next time! Teach me the move you used to ‘fall’ Aoi, alright?”
“May I know what you are talking about?”
Midori took her leave with the conversation still misaligned.
I don’t quite get it but since we promised to have tea, have we became friends…?
As I’ve said, what’s going on!?
I don’t quite understand but… I can see that Midori had broken through some fetters.
She may have opened her eyes too.
Breaking out from the toilet, I head towards the classroom, only to be stopped by the goddess Shiori this time.
This, is this some event!?
“You’ve really done it. So that was deliberate? … Just kidding.”
“I was somehow able to feel that what you said before were your true feelings. That’s why I was convinced. Rather, if that was deliberate, even as an enemy I’ve to admit it’s praiseworthy. But you aren’t the astute type, correct?”
Her appearance as she chuckles while hiding her mouth is elegant and beautiful no matter which angle one looks at her but… am I, being laughed at now?
“… It probably meant that that was our fate. I shall do what I must do. Together with my important people.”
It was a continuous stream of things I didn’t quite get, but there’s no doubt that good signs have appeared for Shiori-senpai.
Her pendant appears brighter than it had been when we met previously.
Moreover, Shiori is indeed beautiful.
Spellbound, I watch as she leaves.
… Still, what’s going on?
For the capturable characters to call out to me one by one like this…
I wonder if Kagurazaka Aoi is responsible for this?
I found the answer after school that day.()
As I make preparations in the empty classroom to return home, the backdoor opens.
Somehow or the other, I’d an inkling he’ll appear today.
Well, even though I say『today』, he ends up appearing everyday.
It’s just, I feel that『something』is different from usual.
Hearing Kagurazaka Aoi’s voice that’s more driven than usual, I turn around and…
“Wh-what’s up with that!”
Both sides of his well-chiselled and pretty face have turned red.
What faintly seem like handprints are on them.
“Huh, it’s still red? W-well, pay it no mind.”
Even if you ask me to pay it no mind, it’ll enter my field of vision when we talk so I will pay it mind!
I wonder if it’s related to the capturable characters taking turns to turn up and leaving mysterious remarks before departing.
“The only girl I want to get along well with is Kii alone. That’s why… I came to do it properly.”
“Please listen to me, Kii.”
Just as the thought that he sure is looking this way with strangely solemn eyes crosses my mind, he catches hold of both my hands.
Eh? Like I said, what is it?
“The real me is a plain, from the sticks, bad at getting the point, unskillful and lame guy. That’s why… I got on my high horse. Not looking at my surroundings, not thinking of people’s feelings and only prioritising my own enjoyment… But after being rejected by Kii, I noticed. The foolish me and the real me.”
Perhaps『the real me』he’s talking about refers to his previous life.
As far as I know, the current Kagurazaka Aoi isn’t from the sticks and he doesn’t appear lame outwardly.
Neither does he give the impression of being bad at getting the point.
His mien as he frantically attempts to speak while looking down repeatedly, may come across as one of repentance.
“I became able to face myself, and also came to think deeply about Kii. Sure enough, I was happy when Kii smiled. I grew to want more; it was totally not enough. Yet… you stopped smiling at me. Even though your showed your smile to other guys. I couldn’t bear that. I want to monopolise Kii’s smile.”
He puts strength in the two hands that hold mine. They’re hot.
He may be nervous; I can feel some slight trembling.
“… I like Kii. I’d like Kii to look at me. That’s why… ple-please go out with me!”
… This is, the thing known as a『confession』, isn’t it?
The request for companionship between men and women,that『confession』…
It’s the『confession』that I once tried to give Kagurazaka Aoi, right?
Even though I said such cold words.
I should’ve been completely uncute…
Not understanding the reason, I look at him in a daze. He’s looking at me with a face clearly redder than before.
He doesn’t appear to be joking.
He’s seriously, confessing to me?
Could it be that he told the other capturable characters he was going to confess to me?
And thus they came over to me?
For him to do that… was that how serious he was?
Did it meant that he’d thrown away his harem and chose me?
The instant I think that, I feel my body temperature increasing at once.
My face is hot and something hot is also filling my heart.
Don’t tell me… I’m, happy?
Even as I come to a standstill, his serious gaze remains directed at me.
Honestly, I want to escape.
I’m unable to comprehend how this development came about.
I shouldn’t escape.
Kagurazaka Aoi, came all this way.
Nah, it’s possible that he has some hidden intention, my current thoughts may just the product of me muddling my eyes with wishful thinking, but…
『I can believe him this time』I think.
There’s a possibility that my judgment is erroneous but since I feel that I can believe him… I should face him too.
And convey them, my feelings, properly.
… I’m nervous.
More so than the time when my hair was in twin tails and I tried to confess.
Taking a deep breath, I adjust my breathing and open my mouth.
“I am sorry.”
This time, it’s senpai’s turn to stiffen.
His eyes are wider than before.
Were my words unexpected?
I continue speaking while looking at those eyes.
I must state it clearly.
“I have, yet to trust you.”
I speak while untwining my hands that are gripped.
As I try to take a step back in order to distance myself too, he firmly catches hold of my arms.
“I know Kii noticed how I purposely behaved in a way that gave girls expectations. That’s why… because I like Kii, I’m saying that I’ll stop such behaviour so…!”
A jittery and panicky facial expression projects before me.
I know what he’s trying to get at, I know that.
The response I gave was because I knew.
“What I cannot trust, is not that. Of course that is important too, but…”
Perhaps he didn’t hear a single word I spoke; the strength he holds my arms with increases and I feel that the distance between us has reduced.
“In the first place, I do not really know the true senpai. I am unable to date someone like that. Therefore… please teach me about yourself. Please learn about me too. This discussion comes after that.”
Honestly speaking, there isn’t much hatred left anymore.
Smouldering anger still remains but I now hold a favourable impression that can suppress that.
However… even so, I’m unable to immediately give myself up.
That is definitely『obstinacy』.
The obstinacy of the obstinate me.
As if I’d let myself get captured immediately.
It’s revenge in a way.
“When we are able to ‘see’ each other a little more, if you think that you still like me… then please let me hear the words from just now once again. Of course, I do not know how I will reply but… If you are able, try and capture me.”
『Do it if you dare.』
Instead of voicing it out, I pack it into my grin.
Senpai stiffens as he looks at me.
He’s seemingly speechless for time blankly flows on.
“… I got it. I’ll raise my levels until then.”
I wonder if my intention was transmitted?
Kagurazaka Aoi also resolutely gives a broad smile.
He seems slightly forlorn though.
I think that’s fine.
From that day the feather fell, we’ve started over from the beginning.
Warm sunlight and a gentle breeze flow into the serene classroom from the open window.
There’s no one around. I’m alone.
‘If this is the game, it’s the day my favourability rating raises’… I often thought such the year before.
I’m now a second-year and can be termed『senpai』.
The people I call『senpai』will graduate and be gone a year later.
… Aoi-senpai will graduate too, huh.
“Fu~aa. He’s late.”
We promised to watch a movie at the internet cafe today.
I want to quickly watch the horror movie I’ve been looking forward to, so what is he doing.
“… I’ll scare you again, hmpf.”
Laughter wells up when I imagine his pathetic appearance as he jumps up.
Still, the weather’s good.
One can even say it’s the perfect weather for afternoon naps.
Aa, it’s really comfortable… I’ll fall asleep.
It’s already too late by the time that thought crosses my mind.
… I fell asleep.
It doesn’t feel like much time has passed, but my eyelids are heavy.
What, there’s a comfortable feeling. My hair is being brushed?
Is it senpai?
I’m wide awake, but for one reason or the other I continue pretending to be asleep.
My hair is being combed.
It’s separated in the middle and each side is being tied… hold on.
“… Senpai, what you are doing, hm?”
“!? Kii, you were awake? … T-this is…”
With both hands and in one go, I undo the twin tails that were skilfully put together.
I can’t even let my guard down for a moment.
It’s been a year since senpai confessed to me and I rejected him.
There’s no change in our relationship.
Howbeit, senpai’s ‘sheep clothing’ came off a little and he’s currently about done transforming into a stalker-like pervert who tries to make me tie twin tails.
“Kii, I’ve a request.”
“What is it?”
“Just once is fine, twin tails again…”
“Absolutely no way.”
Do you like twin tails so much?
Is anyone fine as long as they have twin tails!
Am I not cute if I don’t tie twin tails!
What a rude person, I’ll definitely not tie twin tails.
“… It’s about time though, isn’t it.”
“It is nothing, let’s go.”
I won’t say what I’m referring to, but a part of me slightly regrets my words.
I may be obstinate but I’ve forgotten that I’m hasty too.
Let’s tease him more than usual today.
“The movie today is horror and is said to have splatters so it will be thrilling.”
“Splatters!? Kii, there’s something I want to tell you today… can we leave that till next time?”
“It won’t work even if you say that now and negate it a while later, you know.”
“That’s not it, I really have something to say! As expected, watching splatter while talking is… the mood will disappear, or so to speak…”
Is it a result of the『system』if the protagonist and the capturable character ties a knot?
What is the『system』?
Is it destiny?
Is it inevitability?
“Things like that don’t matter. As long as I feel happy.”
Perhaps the『Feather of Destiny』descends upon every lovebird without their knowing.
The classroom which is noisy during break time, changes to a different type of commotion when the door opens.
The one who opens the door is this school’s number one ikemen, the subject of the girls’ adoration and the enemy of the dudes, the second-year Kagurazaka Aoi.
The unpleasant commotion that enters my ears stems from the shrill voices of the girls.
“… Sigh. It looks like Kii-chan and Kagurazaka-senpai reconciled.”
“It sure was a short dream.”
At the end of my gaze lays a blue-eyed beauty whose golden hair is softly curled.
My heart hurts as I look at the adorable figure toddling off when Kagurazaka-senpai beckons her.
The ambiance is different only around her.
Even when encircled, she gives off a radiance that won’t be buried.
The other girls may beat me up and say『I don’t want to be told that by you』if I tell them this but… her surroundings are filled with background characters.
Without a doubt, she is the heroine.
Indeed, a heroine is one attached to a hero.
“You’re a background character after all. A background character won’t ‘goal in’ with a heroine. Occurrences like『I, the background character, together with she, the heroine!?』is just the protagonist donning the mask of a background character. But you are merely a background character. A honest-to-goodness background character. That’s why the outcome is a given.”
“You are also a mere glasses background character right!”
The one who boorishly pulls my leg when I’m feeling sentimental is my long-time good friend.
This guy is the same type of human as me.
We are existences with transparent atmospheres, who aren’t perceived even when we enter people’s fields of vision.
“Oi oi, I ask that you don’t lump me, a glasses background character, together with you, a mere unlabelled background character.”
“They’re the same, right.”
I don’t know what his speech and actions are acclaiming about, but each and everyone of them are so shameless that it’s provoking.
“What are you saying. You can express my entire identity just by adding the pillow word『glasses』. You don’t know who it’s referring to if you hear『background character』, but if you say『glasses background character』, in this class, you know it’s referring to me. This is the distinct difference.”
“‘Glasses’ isn’t a pillow word and besides, is the glasses your entire existence! Then, will your identity disappear if everyone in class wears glasses?”
“Hahha! There’s no way a class like that exists, right. If there is, it’s something I’d like to pay homage to!”
“Sure enough, talking to you is irritating.”
I don’t want anymore unnecessary stress.
Looking away from my bespectacled friend of whose everything is pitiful, I collapse on the table.
Someone calls my name so I turn my head towards the side.
I can see a skirt from my collapsed view.
After directing only my gaze, I find that it’s my classmate Kanagi-san, the girl who serves as our class representative.
Wearing a pair of silver-rimmed glasses, she exudes a seemingly intellectual aura.
That’s the case in actuality; she has the highest grades in class.
Appearance-wise, she wears glasses, and with her long black hair split into two and tied into braids, she gives an impression of being plain.
“Teacher passed this to me.”
Hastily lifting my upper body, I receive a printout as I give my thanks.
Looks like there’s an error in the printout I submitted; a sticky note is stuck at the part that requires correction.
As I fold the printout with the intention of correcting it later, a scene of the protagonist and heroine going somewhere together enters a corner of my vision.
God-sama is cruel.
Just as you think you’re being shown a dream, it changes into despair in the blink of an eye.
To think it’s become the worst scenario where Kagurazaka Aoi, who had been so broadly acquainted with girls, narrows down to only Kii…
There’s no way a background character can beat an insistent protagonist.
“As expected, Itou-kun, do you like cute girls like Torida-san?”
“… She takes no notice of me though.”
It appears that the cry in my heart reached Kanagi-san.
Even if my true motive gushes out, I don’t feel embarrassed at all.
I can only laugh dryly.
“But, you two chatted often, right?”
“It was only for a while though.”
The day I saved her when she was running from Aoi.
On the spur, I tried to confess to her but having been disregarded, it wasn’t brought to a conclusion.
Although she apologised the next day, we haven’t properly spoken ever since.
It’s only to the extent of exchanging greetings.
The only salvation is that she still calls me『Ei-kun』.
The other guys don’t even get called by their first names by her so they’re considerably jealous of me.
It’s my sole gratification.
Nonetheless… in the end, that’s it.
There ain’t no chance to be something like a『special existence』to her.
“Besides, it’s like she doesn’t suit a person like me, who doesn’t have any redeeming qualities.”
Dear God, please teach me a way to evolve from a background character into a protagonist.
It doesn’t have to be『everyone’s protagonist』, I won’t ask for such extravagance.
As long as I can become the protagonist to a single girl, that’s fine.
“There’s no such thing!”
Kanagi-san suddenly speaks in a loud voice, causing my good friend and I, the two of us, to be astonished.
I wonder what’s up.
When our eyes meet, she averts her gaze awkwardly.
“I think that Itou-kun also has a lot of good points. Even before, you did the cleaning in place of me who couldn’t turn it down.”
When I stare fixedly at her, she hesitatingly tells me the reason for her words just now.
Nothing comes to mind straightaway, so I dig through my memories.
Ahh…『cleaning』she says? There was something like that.
I think it was… the day Kanagi-san was on cleaning duty.
Just at the moment I tidied up my desk and stood up to go home, I saw that there was some dissonance in front of the storage for cleaning tools.
As I didn’t have the intention to get involved in the dispute, I pricked up my ears in the stance of a curious onlooker as I passed by, and was able to hear their conversation.
『Hey, please! We want to leave early today!』
『Still, as expected, doing it alone is…』
It was a conversation in front of the storage for cleaning tools so I was able to deduce quickly.
That the other three girls who were on cleaning duty pushed their job onto Kanagi-san and planned to go off enjoying themselves.
『Isn’t that going overboard?』
Even though I didn’t intend to get involved, I unconsciously stopped walking and spoke.
It’s something that will be completed quickly if four people do it, but it’s too much to leave it to one person when you go off and have fun.
However, bathed in the cold gazes of the three girls, I regretted speaking out.
Surrounded by the three in an instant, they grumbled that I shouldn’t act cool… and I was quickly defeated.
There was no way I could put up a fight in face of the intimidating mouths of the girls.
“All three left to enjoy themselves in the end though.”
“Your consistency in being disappointed, brilliant.”
Your ability to irritate people is also unbeatable.
When I protest with my eyes, he actually returns a smile that further stirs up irritation.
Imma punch you anytime now y’know, your glasses are gonna break, y’know.
“But you helped out after that, didn’t you?”
I wasn’t much help, so thinking to at least lend a hand, I did the cleaning with her.
That is to say, that was the only thing I could do.
… I’m, such a disappointment.
“I was extremely happy. Itou-kun’s kind, and guys like that are… wonderful, I think.”
Leaving those words, Kanagi-san returns to her own seat.
I silently watch over that figure.
Looking at her side profile as she sits while facing downwards, the ear that can be seen from the gap between her tied hair is red.
The moment I realise that, I also realise that my own ears are hot.
“… Despite being an unlabelled background character, how impudent.”
I steal another glance at Kanagi-san’s side profile.
Her skin is fair and clear.
If those silver-rimmed glasses are taken off, contact lenses are worn and her hair unravelled, she seems like she’ll be extremely cute.
Huh, was Kanagi-san such a cute person…?
By the time I realise, I don’t feel anything now even though I was so depressed before.
I didn’t even notice that Kii-chan had returned to the classroom.
For me to not notice the heroine, have I become weird?
I wonder what’s a Heroine.
An attractive and good-looking girl?
A girl who takes actions that can become anecdotes and lives an enlivening daily life?
I look at Kanagi-san again.
I can’t say for sure but… I feel like I’ve comprehended and gotten hold of something.
“Sure enough, I’m a protagonist too. And you aren’t just a glasses background character.”
“What, to think that you were suddenly enlightened. Do you think you became a sage just because you were praised a little? Don’t get carried away. Sheesh, this is why background characters are…”
Dear God, let me take back my wish『I want to be a protagonist』just now.
It appears that it’s unnecessary.
The daily life of the background-character-cum-protagonist me, is enlivening and amusing in my own way.
 She’s talking about her hair.
 As in visit an internet cafe in general, not visit that particular place.
 The weapon, not the creature.
 In the sense of escaping or shirking from her duties. She should be referring to the matter of her childhood friend who got injured.
T/N: Hi guys, this is Nakimushi. Thank you all so much for reading this novel translation! I really love this series so I hope you enjoyed it. It’s really nice to read the differing opinions in the comments hehe.
On another note, please consider supporting NakimushiTL if you like my work and translations. Every contribution is highly appreciated.