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I was furious. Kaburagi had called Bea-tan, the crystallisation of my efforts all these months, some guard dog of Hell.
The Cerberus!? Was he trying to imply that I was committing the deadly sin of gluttony or something!? Was Bea-tan guarding the third circle of Hell or something!? In the Divine Comedy, Beatrice was Dante’s love you know! How could you call her the Cerberus!? Apologise to Mr. Dante Umewaka! Pape Satàn, Pape Satàn aleppe! Damn you, Kaburagi! Go to Hell!
I picked up the bag as I cursed him internally and fled from the Salon. I needed somebody to vent to!
When I arrived at the Handicrafts Club, I began telling them all about my Bea-tan project, and the photos, and the three heads and everything. Whether or not it actually looked like Bea-tan, it was still so cute, so how dare he!
My club members gave me vaguely worded sympathies.
“Three might have been a bad number…” said one of them.
She might have been right, but look! Look at how cute! How could you call it the Cerberus just because it had the right number of heads!
“There there, Reika-sama,” my former club president gently consoled me, “You should just make a doll adorable enough to surprise him. I’ll help out too. You want the face to look like the dog in this picture, right?”
That was it! This wasn’t the time to be feeling indignant about that athletics carnival-loving idiot. What I needed to be focusing on was getting this Bea-tan doll looking as close to the real thing as possible! First I needed to choose which of the three heads to use!
“Reika-sama, it might be better if you don’t pace around with animal heads in your hand…”
I took the former Club President’s advice and instead started to fix up the heads.
“By the way, Reika-sama, tomorrow the club presidents are all meeting to discuss the School Festival.”
Speaking of which, there was something like that going on, wasn’t there. Was it some meeting to decide what each club would be doing? I’d never gone before so I wasn’t sure.
“Is there anything that I should know?” I asked.
“No, not particularly. The agenda is mostly which rooms we’ll be using, but usually it’s the same as the year before. The budget is already decided as well. I think you should be fine just going along with it.”
So it was just a formality then. Still, you could say that this was my first battle as the President of the Handicrafts Club. I wouldn’t be much of a club president if I didn’t take this seriously. Everything was for the club!
“I will apply everything I have in order to protect this club from harm.”
I flashed her a cheerful smile.
After school the next day, the lot of us met up. Every club president was in attendance, and officiating the meeting was the Student Council.
It was actually my first time learning who the presidents were for a lot of the clubs, you know? I hadn’t ever had that much interest in clubs. I had no idea that Class Rep was the president for the Literature Club.
The presidents of the culture clubs were sitting quietly in their designated spots. On the other hand, a lot of the delegates from the sports clubs were being pretty noisy. It was rather irritating, but they were from famous clubs that did well in competitions, so I supposed it was to be expected.
The meeting progressed as expected until it was time to discuss the room allocations. The former Club President was right; they were planning on handing out pretty much the same rooms as last year. I hummed to myself as I looked down at the handouts for the meeting.
But suddenly, a number of the sports clubs assigned areas outside began to complain.
“Yanno, if we’re stuck outside we’re at the mercy of the weather. Don’t you think it’s time for us to get a room inside?”
“Yeah, what he said. Don’t you have any free classrooms anywhere? A big one, obviously. I mean, that’s fair, right? Our club is doing well every year.”
“Our club has done quite a bit of the school, so I think we deserve a bit of flexibility.”
“Aren’t there a bunch of clubs that nobody visits anyway? Why don’t we just put them all in the same room so that other people have some space too?”
“Oh, good idea! There’s Photography Club, the Literature Club… Oh, and the Biology Club too.”
“Don’t we have like Go and Shougi Clubs too? What do those guys even do for the School Festival?”
“Beats me. Like an exhibit or something?”
Each president went rigid as their club was named. Fellow Stalking Horse tried to warn them with an “Oi,” but they were already too carried away and continued like nothing. Honestly…
I opened my bag and began to unseal my weapon.
“Hardly anybody visits them anyway, so you should just make them place their exhibits in the same room. If we had those rooms, wouldn’t our clubs more than make up for the popularity?”
“What other clubs were presenting exhibits. The Art Club, the Calligraphy Club…”
“Yeah, and there’s also the Handicrafts Club!”
I used his words as the cue to stand up and audibly slap my fan onto my palm.
“What was that about the Handicrafts Club?”
Suddenly, the room froze over. There was no sign of the clamour about taking the rooms of the clubs with exhibits any more.
With a smile, I looked at the faces of the offending presidents, one by one.
“Just a moment ago I had the strange feeling that somebody mentioned the Handicrafts Club. Did somebody need anything with it? Ah, my apologies. I forgot to mention. I am the President of the Handicrafts Club. Pleased to be here.”
Apparently none of the noisy ones had been aware that I was the club president for the Handicrafts Club. They looked awfully startled behind those stiff expressions. I guess they let their guard down since Pivoine girls usually joined the Flower Arrangement or Tea Ceremony Clubs. I notice that they never saw fit to mention the Flower Arrangement Club despite it doing an exhibit for the festival as well. The fools!
The main perpetrators were the presidents of the Soccer Club, Baseball Club, and Basketball Club. Every one of them was a prided club of the school that performed well in inter-school competitions. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the reason for their arrogance today.
But no matter how well their clubs were doing, none of that mattered at all. What did matter was that today they had made an enemy of my Handicrafts Club.
I leisurely made my way to them. The sound of each slap of the fan was clear in the silence of the room.
Slap. Slap. Slap.
I began by standing behind the president of the Soccer Club. He tried to turn around, but I restrained him by placing my fan on his right shoulder. He had no choice but to face forward as he sat there stock still, with my fan now tapping his shoulder.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“The Soccer Club is doing well, I hear.”
“Ye-… Not really..”
“Now, now, no need to be humble. Even I have heard about your splendid results in the inter-school championships.”
“I wonder, though…”
I stopped tapping my fan and instead stopped it right on his carotid artery.
“It is all well and good to reserve a shop for your celebration party, but as minors should you not be respecting the law? Say, Club President, how was it anyhow? Getting drunk on the taste of ‘victory’?”
Next, I made my way over to the president of the Baseball Club and placed my fan on his shoulder.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“The training in the Baseball Club is incredibly tough, I hear. I wonder, though… Could the rumours I hear about beating members for mistakes be true? Society does not look kindly on corporal punishment these days, does it. Some schools would even ban offenders from playing, you know?” I said, tapping his carotid artery and holding the fan there in time with the last line.
Last was the Basketball Club.
Oh my, no need to look so scared. I only have one line for you.
“You laid your hands on your senpai’s girlfriend, did you not?”
After verifying that the three statues were subdued, I leisurely made my way back to my seat. When I sat down, I smacked my closed fan onto the desk.
“Now then,” I said before giving the Presidents of the Soccer Club, Baseball Club, and then Basketball Club in turn, “Going back to the previous conversation, I believe you were saying something about room allocations? You must forgive me, I seem to have forgotten. Could you kindly say it once more for me?”
“…The Soccer Club is fine with their booth being outside.”
“…The Baseball Club too.”
“Same for us…”
Not one of them looked me in the eyes as they replied.
“Truly? But I seem to have heard the names of other clubs such as the Literature Club, though…?”
“No! The Soccer Club is fine being outside!”
“Actually, the Baseball Club prefers being outside!”
“We want the outside even if it rains!”
“Goodness! What gentlemen! What kindness and magnanimity to turn over the rooms to our pitiful culture clubs! Why, the gallantry that you have demonstrated has me positively quaking in emotion.”
I covered my mouth with my fan as I gave an ‘Ohoho’ of victory.
Fellow Stalking Horse sighed, whilst Wakaba-chan watched blankly with her mouth hanging.