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A belated Happy New Year, everybody!

I was aiming for a mass-release for Christmas, but I guess it never happened.

It’s one of those things where the length of the chapter exponentially decreases your motivation to do more than a paragraph at a time.

Taira no Masakado (平 将門, died March 25, 940) was a samurai in the Heian period of Japan, who led one of the largest insurgent forces in the period against the central government of Kyoto.

The Jouhei-Tengyou War, also known as the Tairno-Masakado Rebellion, lasted 59 days before his defeat, and was beheaded on 25 March 940 CE during the Battle of Kojima.

In modern times, he is linked to a number of ghost stories and curses, and supposedly a number of people have died trying to demolish his monument, particularly foolish post-WWII Americans.

“Tirol Choco, individually wrapped chocolates with endless flavor variations, are created and distributed by Tirol Choco Co.Ltd. With the catchy, colorful wrappers, reasonable price and over 300 flavors to choose from, Tirol choco was an instant success. Over the years it became a solid staple for chocolate lovers of all ages in Japan.”

They’re like ten Yen each or something.

Also ‘maki(巻き)’ means ‘curl’.

I’m pretty comfortable around strangers, and I’m not picky about who I interact with either.

That said, when I entered the high school section and my homeroom teacher told me that the Kisshouin Reika was going to be class rep with me, I’ll be honest:

‘Uwaah, are you kidding me!?’ was my first thought.

Kisshouin Reika──

A member of the privileged Pivoine group, and the Big Boss of all the girls.

Rumour had it that if you crossed her, her subordinates would have you disappear into the abyss…

Well, jokes aside, the point was that a ‘class representative’ was just a glorified odd jobs position.

Nobody would believe that a member of the Pivoine would willingly clean up after their class. Not only that, but I wasn’t looking forward to bending backwards to avoid hurting her pride and feelings.

While I was feeling rather gloomy, Akizawa suddenly called out to me.

“Satomi, apparently you’re going to be class rep with Kisshouin-san?”

“Uh, yeah. Hey, speaking of which, aren’t you supposed to be pretty close with her?”

I vaguely recalled them speaking from time to time in middle school.

“I guess? It’s more like my childhood friend that she’s close to.”

“That girl that came to the festival? Uh, Fukioksan…?”

“Yup.”

Akizawa’s childhood friend was a prim and proper, gentle yamato nadeshiko.

And he kept calling her a childhood friend, but she was probably his girlfriend.

“Kisshouin-san and I went to cram school together in primary. We became friends, but after that she got to know Sakurako too, and now the two are best friends.”

“Ohhh~?”

He just called Kisshouin Reika his friend without batting an eyelid.

This guy was kind of amazing.

“Oh right. Giving her some sweets when she’s tired will cheer her right up.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Since we were kids her mood has always soured a little when she’s hungry. If you give her something sweet though, her mood shoots right back up. Even Sakurako says that as long as you give her food, that girl… Ah, nevermind that,” he corrected himself quickly. “Anyhow, try talking to her without being biased. She’s easy to misunderstand, but she’s actually pretty earnest, and a good girl.”

With that said, he left the classroom.

An earnest and good girl, huh?

I considered withholding my judgement for the moment.

…But as if a member of the Pivoine, and Kisshouin Reika no less, would be the type to cheer up just by eating some dessert.

Anyway, after that I began my tenure as class representative with Kisshouin-san.

I have to admit that my expectations were overturned.

Sitting there as her followers carried out her will with nothing more than a glance.

That was the image I had of ‘Kisshouin Reika’ but when we began working she proactively gathered the forms from everybody, and would head off to hand them in at the Student Council like it was a matter of course.

She even replaced the classroom supplies before I noticed that they were lacking.

Being honest she was actually doing a better job of it than I was.

Akizawa was right; I really shouldn’t have judged by appearances.

Another happy surprise was that having her around made form collections abnormally efficient.

Even the newly enrolled Externals knew that going against her was a bad idea, to say nothing of the Internals.

Compared to other classes, everything went crazy smooth for us.

Thank you, Kisshouin-san.

Of course I couldn’t just leave everything to her. But when I told her that I’d take the forms to the StuCo room, she just snatched them out of my hands.

Uh, hey, you don’t have to panic like that. I’m not trying to steal your job or anything.

Ah. She just tripped over empty floor.

But she was still clutching onto the forms.

I watched her go.

Did this count as being earnest…?

I had the feeling that she had some sort of ulterior motive though…

Going back to those Externals, it was clear from the onset that there was a huge wall between the Internals and them. It’s the same with any elevator school though.

Still, with Zui’ran’s unique traditions, maybe it was harder to assimilate here.

As the class representatives it was our job to reach out to them, so Kisshouin-san suggested having a class lunch together.

I liked the idea, but was it even possible to guarantee that many seats together in the cafeteria? I was also worried that the upperclassmen wouldn’t look kindly on some newcomers monopolising their own corner of the cafeteria.

When I voiced my concerns, Kisshouin-san just proudly flashed the red peony badge on her chest, and everything was resolved.

Ooh, as expected of a Pivoine!

When I clapped my hands, the corners of her mouth lifted into a smile.

Huh. Was this girl actually pretty weak to flattery?

*

That same day we stayed back after school to tally up the print-outs.

Kisshouin was tapping away at her flashily decorated calculator when she let out a tired sigh.

“Are you feeling unwell?” I asked.

“Eh…? Ah, no, I am fine.”

It didn’t look like it though.

Her trademark curls were even looking a little flat.

I suddenly recalled what Akizawa said about giving her sweets.

After fishing through my bag for a while I pulled out a cheap Tirolian chocolate.

Would she even eat this?

I decided to test it anyway.

“Kisshouin-san, would you like some chocolate?”

“My! This is a Tirolian chocolate!” she said as a sparkle returned to her eyes. “Oh? Have I seen this flavour before…?”

So she knew what they were.

“Apparently it’s region-limited. I got it off someone as a souvenir.”

“Region-limited!? Heavens! To think that I had forgotten those existed… What a grievous oversight…!”

Eh? What was?

I watched her clench her fist in regret for a while before she accepted the chocolate from me and popped it in her mouth.

Her expression instantly changed into a blissful smile.

“As expected of a limited edition. Yummy…!”

“I see. Good for you.”

The chocolates were pretty small, so they didn’t take long to finish.

She looked a little forlorn that it was over, so I asked her if she wanted another one.

“I am fine. One was plenty. Thank you for the treat.”

“Are you sure? I still have a bunch left, so you don’t have to hold back.”

“…Truly? Well, if you say as much, could I trouble you for just one more?”

And that was how Kisshouin-san happily ate another region-limited chocolate.

It was surprising how happily she’d eat cheap chocolate.

She was part of the Pivoine so I would have expected her to be more picky. Maybe only eating from companies with royal warrants to European royalty or something.

“Thank you very much, Satomi-kun. I know just how valuable that was. You have a generous heart.”

“Huh? Oh, nah, you’re exaggerating. It was just a bit of chocolate.”

“My, I have heard that a bit of chocolate has saved someone stranded in the mountains before. You must not forget its worth.”

We’re smack bang in the middle of Tokyo, Kisshouin-san.

Anyway, having finished her 10 yen chocolate, Kisshouin-san produced a rather flashy-looking thimblette from her pencil case and began working again with renewed vigour.

Just what the hell was in that chocolate.

Akizawa hadn’t been exaggerating.

A few days later, Kisshouin-san approached me while looking left and right for witnesses.

Sidling up to me, she slipped a small package into my hand.

“Quickly! Hide it before we are spotted! Now! DEWIT!”

Eh… Kisshouin-san was an illegal goods dealer?

It was against my principles to get involved with that…

I snuck a look into the package and saw Tirolian chocolates decorated with cute mascots.

Mmn. These goods were undoubtedly legal.

“What’s this about?”

“Shh! Be silent! Think of this as a sign of my appreciation, just between the two of us, all right? It was something I obtained through special channels.”

“…The black market?” I tried.

“The internet.”

That’s just mail delivery, Kisshouin-san.

“If you need more, just let me know,” she whispered before slinking away.

For a moment I saw a future criminal being led away in cuffs.

Be careful you don’t get stopped by the police, Kisshouin-san~

As we continued working together as class representatives, I gradually began to realise that despite her lofty position and social power, the girl herself was fun to talk to, and a little bit air-headed.

I began to see how far I could push her before she got angry, but the answer was ‘pretty far’.

Even if she did get a little mad, in the end an apology and a dessert would be all it took for her to say,

“Honestly, Satomi-kun~ Just this once, all right?”

The Queen of the Pivoine was weak to bribery.

One day I caught her staring at my hair.

“Is that your natural hair colour? It looks like you have used a little dye.”

“Ah, you realised?”

“That is against the rules,” she grinned at me.

“Well what about your curls, Kisshouin-san? Isn’t that a perm?”

“These are natural,” she insisted.

Liar.

Closer to the root it wasn’t curly at all. Geez, no choice.

“Please find it in your heart to overlook me, just this once.”

I pushed the bite-sized donuts I bought this morning towards her.

“You are quite the sinful one,” she said, grinning wickedly like some corrupt magistrate.

The Queen of the Pivoine could be bought over with 100 yen sweets.

I continued poking fun of her after that.

One day I was making my way down an empty hallway when suddenly I was grabbed by each arm.

Holding me on the left and right were the Pivoine Queen’s closest aides, Kazami Serika and Imamura Kikuno.

“You. The way you have been behaving towards Reiksama has been becoming unacceptable.”

“You had better not forget your place.”

…Was I going to disappear into the abyss!?

Could it be that most of Kisshouin-san’s scary image was because of these two?

One day Kisshouin-san asked me a difficult question.

“Satomi-kun, did you know that people have been nicknaming me?” she frowned.

Geeehhhh! Why did she know that!?

I pretended to be calm as I asked her where she heard that.

Apparently it had been Mizusaki that had told her.

Why would you tell the person herself, Mizusaki!?

Was that guy an idiot!?

Kisshouin-san had quite a few nicknames.

Most of them were related to her appearance, including “Maki Maki Makkie” and “D(olly Gi)rll”, but the one we used the most was “Goddess Kali” after the Indian goddess of slaughter and destruction.

It was originally because of her curled hair, and how scary she was supposed to be when she got angry, but obviously I couldn’t tell that to Kisshouin-san herself!

But then after the name became popular, we wondered that if she was Kali, who was the Shiva she was supposed to be dancing on!?

Could it be one of those two…!?

Everyone wondered, but nobody had the guts to comment. After all, nobody was stupid enough to want to make an enemy out of the three greatest powers in the Pivoine.

All of us wanted to graduate safely…

“You okay, Satomi?” Mizusaki suddenly asked from behind.

At the moment our two classes were having P.E. together.

“Why are you asking?”

“You’re class representative with that Kisshouin Reika girl, right? Have you been having a lot of problems?”

“None at all.”

It seemed like he didn’t have such a good impression of her.

Not that I could blame him, given her image.

I used to be the same way after all.

Still…

“She’s probably not the kind of girl you think she is. Kisshouin-san takes being a class representative more seriously than I do. You know she brings her own thimblette for sorting handouts? She even gave me one. It’s this flashy thing with hearts and glitter on it.”

I basically regurgitated what Akizawa told me.

“…Huh.”

“Ah! That reminds me! Why the hell did you tell her about her nicknames!? You’re shortening my lifespan here!”

“Yeah, my bad. I realised that I shouldn’t have right after I said it.”

What the hell! Be more careful, damn it!

I’m seriously going to disappear into the abyss at this rate!

For the athletics carnival she dressed up as a mouse, and then for the school festival she dressed up as a sheep butler without complaint.

It was nice how happily she went along with things.

By this point I didn’t find her scary at all.

But unlike the girl herself, her followers flooded us with complaints.

“What’s the meaning of this!? Reiksama is being dressed up as a mouse!”

Even after she persuaded her friends, when they saw the mascot costume she was going to wear they blew up again.

“A grey mascot costume!? She’ll look like a dirtied youkai of poverty!”

“She can’t wear a mascot costume! Are you trying to turn her into a giant rat!?”

“A giant rat…? They’re going to turn Reiksama into a coypu!”

“At least try and aim for a cute hamster!”

But Kisshouin-san didn’t seem too unhappy when she had stood in front of the mirror and waved her butt around to move the tail~

In the end we compromised and went with a grey dress and mouse ears.

It wasn’t much of a costume but the event was a success in the end, so all went well.

I made a number of enemies amongst the girls, though…

When she put on the sheep ears for the school festival, we got a lot of customers who came to see something scary, as well as a number of VIPs thanks to Her Majesty’s connections.

With the three great powers of the Pivoine there, the hallway became packed with students.

Thanks to that, Café Sheep Dolly had incredible sales. As the class rep, I couldn’t be happier.

The death glares from her followers were a bit scary though…

Ah, something else of note was that at some point Iwamuro became acquainted with her too. It was a completely unexpected combo.

When we switched classes going into 3rd year I ended up with Kisshouin-san again. Not only that, the two of us were the class representatives again.

What was dangerous was that Kazami and Imamura were in the same class too, but luckily there was nobody else troublesome.

More importantly, with Kisshouin-san here, nobody was reckless enough to voluntarily start trouble.

I had thought the year was going to be smooth sailing, but there was one person who was acting suspiciously.

The dude seemed to be trying his hardest to curl into a ball.

“What’s wrong, Tagaki?”

If I was remembering right, Tagaki was an External Student that had joined in high school.

“If something’s up, you can tell me. I mean, I am the class rep and that.”

Tagaki turned his head here and there to make sure of something, before nervously answering me.

“The truth is…” he began his story.

Huh. Come to think of it, the guy who accidentally ran his mouth during that incident was this guy.

It was something that happened near the end of our 2nd year.

Takamichi Wakaba was an External Student on a scholarship.

Somebody had graffitied her locker, and somebody claimed that it was Kisshouin-san’s bullying.

In the end it turned out that Kisshouin-san had been resting in the infirmary, and was heading back to class when she noticed the locker.

Coincidentally, classes had just ended, so other students had spotted her standing by the locker as they left their classrooms, but it wasn’t like they had caught her actually doing the vandalism…

Speaking of Takamichi Wakaba, her position at Zui’ran was a little awkward.

While Zui’ran was a school filled with the children of Japan’s most wealthy, Takamichi was just a girl from an average household who won a scholarship through outstanding grades.

Not to say that alone was enough to make things awkward, but her grades happened to be good enough to threaten the position of Zui’ran’s poster boy, our flawless Emperor.

It wasn’t a pleasant matter for a lot of Internals.

The finisher was that that same Emperor, who had never before shown any interest in the girls that approached him, had now taken an interest in her.

Apparently Takamichi had been harassed by jealous girls, and that hero of justice Mizusaki began standing up for her too.

Of course this just made her all the more detestable to the girls.

Not that I could blame them…

The Emperor is one thing, but you should think things through a little more, Mizusaki.

So to conclude, she had great grades, and the three most popular guys were paying attention to her.

These weren’t anything to fault her for, but jealousy knows no reason. Girls began slandering her as sucking up to men, and frustrated guys who were beaten by her joined in as well.

Even the previous president of the Pivoine had begun targeting her, but Kisshouin-san stayed neutral like it was none of her business.

I wasn’t that well-informed about girl drama, but apparently Kisshouin-san leaned towards sympathy for her.

Well, that was the background for the locker incident. Tsuruhana’s group took the opportunity to blame it on Kisshouin-san.

Naturally she denied it, but it was a little sketchy because she was actually holding the marker.

Honestly, what were you thinking, Kisshouin-san…?

Things were looking pretty bad for her but the victim herself outright shot down the accusation, so in the end it didn’t go beyond suspicions.

I myself made sure to have a word with Mizusaki.

“Kisshouin-san might be a bit of an oddball, but she’s not the type to do things like this.”

Back in 1st year he hadn’t had a great impression of her, but contrary to my worries he nodded.

“…Yeah, you’re right.”

In our boys hierarchy, the Emperor was sitting firmly at the top, so things were pretty peaceful. In contrast, Tsuruhana would occasionally start trouble to try and topple Kisshouin-san, so incidents popped up from time to time.

She had been the leader of a failed revolt back in middle school as well.

We named it the ‘Tsuruhana Rebellion’, but after the locker incident it was renamed to the ‘Tsuruhana Spring Rebellion’.

After all, the locker incident had turned into the ‘Tsuruhana Winter Rebellion’.

The Tsuruhana Winter Rebellion was a revolt in the second year of high school led by Tsuruhana’s group, who had been defeated in a previous Rebellion. It culminated in a massive three-way battle in the cafeteria between Kisshouin-san’s forces, Tsuruhana’s forces, and members of the Student Council.

A few guys had been sent crazy glares when they said “Girls are damned scary…”.

Were these supposed to be the same girls that people knew as ojousama?

The one who stopped it in the end was Zui’ran’s absolute monarch, the Emperor.

In the days that followed, I wondered whether this would finally put an end to the trouble started by Tsuruhana’s group.

That was when I happened to chance across Enjou-kun calling Tsuruhana herself out into an empty hallway. I could faintly hear his voice while I was passing by.

“I usually don’t get involved in arguments between girls, but you’ve gone a little overboard this time. Just letting you know, but if you continue slandering Kisshouin-san then I’ll be taking her side, so what do you intend on doing?”

So that was how the ‘Tsuruhana Winter Rebellion’ came to a close.

And because of her two revolts, she ended up with the nickname the Tairno-Masakado of Zui’ran. Incidentally one of the three most powerful wraiths in all of Japan…

Why did the girls in our grade all have such terrifying nicknames…?

Anyway, bringing the topic back to Tagaki, he was afraid of retribution because of his involvement in it.

To be fair his careless remark really did cause a lot of people to suspect her, but I didn’t think Kisshouin-san was the type to cling onto grudges like that.

“Have you apologised to her properly?”

“Y-Yeah… We both went to a Spring cram course together, so I apologised there. And on the advice of one of her friends, I also gave her some pudding as an apology…”

“Did she forgive you?”

“She said that she didn’t mind at all…”

“Isn’t that fine then? She accepted your pudding, right?”

“Well… yeah…”

In my experience, an apology and a dessert was enough for her to forgive you for most things.

“It’ll be fine,” I said with a clap on the back. “Why are you so damned scared anyway? You’re as white as a sheet. C’mon, it’s lunch soon. Try eating something sweet and cheer up, yeah?”

“Yeah… You’re right. Maybe I’ll go for some pudding myself.”

“Right? Just relax.”

Tagaki did as I suggested and ordered a custard pudding.

That was when Kisshouin-san’s group entered the cafeteria.

“Reiksama, what are you having today?”

“Crema catalana was recently added to the menu, so I was thinking of enjoying some today.”

Crema Catalana is very similar to a Crème Brûlée, the chief differences being that in a crema catalana the custard uses only milk and no cream, and that in a crema catalana the custard is not baked in a bain-marie water bath.

“Ahh! Come to think of it, it’s been your favourite recently.”

“It has. I was looking forward to having it again,” she smiled happily.

Unfortunately she was struck by cold reality.

“I’m sorry. Somebody ordered the last one just a moment ago.”

Immediately she became unsteady on her feet.

“Reiksama! Please hang in there!”

“Who was it that obstructed Reiksama from enjoying her lunch!?”

Fuujin and Raijin glared into the crowd in search of the culprit who had taken the last one.

It was Tagaki…

The pudding that Tagaki had ordered was the crema catalana that Kisshouin-san had been looking forward to.

Tagaki… You really have the worst timing… And you even started eating the pudding before you touched your actual lunch…

Were you that worn out?

The guy himself was pale, frozen with his spoon in his mouth. I mentally made the sign of the cross.

Stay strong, Tagaki.

The president of the Soccer Club was a guy named Azumi.

The Soccer Club at Zui’ran was one of our most famous clubs, and Azumi was its ace.

He wasn’t on the same level as the Emperor, but he still enjoyed popularity amongst the girls. You could say that he was pretty well-known here.

Unfortunately for him, ever since Kisshouin-san had christened him ‘Dainagon’, that popularity was in danger.

“Dainagon? As in the fat azuki beans?”

“Ahh, because his name is Azumi!”

“‘Sup, Beans?”

And that was how he was nicknamed Beans.

The man himself protested, “No! She’s not talking about the beans!” but it was too late for him, and the nickname settled. Poor guy…

Out of curiosity I asked the culprit about the origins of the name, but she responded with a look of surprise.

“My! I would never give a pet name based on a pun like that. It is a dignified name with noble origins, named after the Kemari Dainagon who lived during the Heian Period, known for his prowess in kemari football.

“To think that you all thought it was a pun… Ah, speaking of azuki red beans though, how do you prefer your ohagi? Koshian or tsubuan? Incidentally, I prefer koshian.”

Ohagi are sticky rice balls covered in sweet red bean paste. The paste is fine and smooth in koshian ohagi, and rough and coarse in tsubuan ohagi.

“Eh? Ahh… If I had to say, I guess tsubuan?”

“My. Then how do you prefer your sakuramochi? Choumeiji style or Doumyouji style? Incidentally, I prefer Choumeiji.”

Sakuramochi is a Japanese sweet consisting of sweet pink-colored rice cake (mochi) with a red bean paste center, and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf. Eaten during the spring, especially on hinamatsuri, or at flower viewing parties. The ball-style Doumyouji is endemic to the Kansai region, while the wrap style Choumeiji is the traditional style for the Kantou region, including Tokyo.

“Ahh… I suppose I prefer the one with the skin folded around the red bean.”

“The same as myself, it seems. Then when it comes to the leaf, are you the type who eats it, or…?”

Even though we were supposed to be talking about Dainagon Azumi’s name, somehow it turned into a conversation about sakuramochi leaves…!?

And then ‘speaking of leaf-wrapped desserts’, whether I preferred sakuramochi or kashiwamochi?

The topic of Azumi was kicked aside just like a soccer ball.

Farewell, Azumi.

“You’re kind of a weird aren’t you, Kisshouin-san?” I couldn’t help but mutter.

“Huuh!?” Her eyes shot wide. “What do you mean weird!? Even though I’m so normal!? Even though I’ve never been called weird before!?”

“Ah, my bad! You’re right.”

“Of course I am!”

Sometimes you get people who say stuff like “I’m a bit weird, after all~” but they’re basically just boring people who wished they were weird. The real weirdos have no idea that they’re weird.

Nobody was allowed to use the word “weird” around the real weirdo, Kisshouin-san.

But just look behind her. Her friends were all sneaking worried glances at her.

We had our class trip in early May. There were some odd jobs to do as the class rep on the trip, but the two of us didn’t have any trouble.

Apparently our class was the exception in that respect.

I heard about it from Mizusaki when we bumped into each other during the trip.

“Have you been having any problems with people breaking curfew, or anybody going overboard? The other classes are having huge problems with it.”

“Huh~ Come to think of it, I’ve been hearing that too. But nah, the one who takes the night roll is Kisshouin-san~ Nobody would be stupid enough to break curfew.”

To begin with, most of the girls in the class were already happy to cooperate with Kisshouin-san, so they wouldn’t do anything to bother her. As for the guys, nobody was gutsy enough to make an enemy of all the girls by angering her.

Besides, if there was anyone who went overboard because they were having too much fun, it wouldn’t take long for somebody to rat them out. It was on par with a country with secret police.

“Is this the Reign of Terror or something?”

Curfew-breaking will be purged. May the Kisshouin Reika dictatorship reign supreme.

*

Kisshouin-san seemed to be angry at me after I brought up the ghost story of the Tower of London.

I rather liked ghost stories, but the opposite seemed true for her.

And for some reason she was clenching both hands unnaturally.

Eh, don’t tell me she was hiding her thumbs?

Wasn’t that what primary schoolers did when they saw a hearse!?

But since her reaction was so funny, I continued messing around with her.

I guess that made me a primary schooler too.

When we were at the Vatican I brought up the catacombs, since that seemed like something she’d be weak with.

As expected I was rewarded with a glare before she began stalking off.

As she was leaving I realised that the hair swaying against her back kind of looked like the number 6.

“Hmm? Kisshouin-san, together some of the curls on the back of your head turn into the number of the beast, you know?”

She turned around with a startled look.

“Where on earth do you think we are! This is the headquarters of Christianity, you know! Show some restraint!” she scolded.

Sorry.

From that moment until when we left the Vatican, Kisshouin-san would occasionally hold her hair down, looking left and right like a suspicious person.

I think she was worried inquisitors would come for her.

To disguise the 6’s in her hair, Kisshouin-san would make little micro-shakes of her head, but in the end she got dizzy and needed her girls to support her.

Ah geez…

After sightseeing Rome, it was time for dinner.

I turned in surprise as I felt something strike my back out of the blue.

It was Kisshouin-san, who was for some reason standing in a pitching position.

Apparently she had thrown something at me. I rubbed the place where I had been hit and- eh, uwah! What were these weird grains?

White… powder…?

Are you serious? Some even got in my hair! It looked like I had dandruff now!

Come on, give me a break…!

But after dinner, Kisshouin-san’s girls finally called me out for a chat.

“How dare you show Reiksama such disrespect!”

“Unforgiveable!”

“It’s because of you that Reiksama has been behaving strangely!”

After a lengthy session of being chewed out by them, they all began to smile darkly.

Scary…!

“Satomi Yukinari. From what I heard, it seems you have a girlfriend in Second Year.”

“Eh-!? How’d you know that!?” I blurted.

“Do not make light of our information network,” I was warned.

“It seems that you intend on buy her a souvenir in Paris,” somebody else continued.

“Matching accessories, was it?” another mused.

So this was why people feared the secret police…!

The ring of girls around me tightened.

My back was to the wall, with nowhere to run.

“You have a lovely girlfriend,” I was told neutrally.

“Ah, well…”

“I trust you have not forgotten that Reiksama’s cousin Ririnsan is in Second Year.”

“And that Ririnsan adores Reiksama.”

“It wouldn’t take much to break you up.”

They were taking her hostage…

“If you understand, then have a good think about your attitude towards Reiksama.”

“If you want to enjoy the rest of your high school days, that is.”

“Your abuse has greatly saddened Reiksama!”

“I understand,” I said. “I am reflecting. I’m very sorry.”

It was never a good idea to go against a group of girls, so I obediently lowered my head.

“By the way, what was that white stuff that Kisshouin-san threw at me?”

Even with my friends helping me, I had a lot of trouble getting it off.

I could actually still feel some, so I wanted to take a shower already.

“…It was salt.”

“Hah? Salt!? Where did you get so much salt?”

She couldn’t have brought it with her from Japan, right? It was a huge fist full, after all.

Even Kisshouin-san wouldn’t.

But then where did she get it?

“W-, Who cares about that!” one of them changed the subject.

“More importantly, you had better start paying Reiksama the respect that she deserves!”

“Just who do you think Reiksama is!?”

“Eh…?”

Well, she was obviously…

“My friend.”

Kisshouin Reika, that soft-hearted, earnest weirdo with a weakness to praise, was my friend.

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