Hi guys! Looking for experienced cleaners or type-setters to help with the .
So, to everybody I pinged on Discord Friday night, you may have noticed that this was delayed by two days. I have a very good reason for that, so good that it absolves me of all wrong, but I’m afraid I’m not allowed to tell you. Ever. Instead have a double release I guess.
Oh, and if anybody hasn’t read it yet, I’d like to recommend which is a ‘more wilful personality is dumped into a trash girl’s body in (sometimes faux) Ancient China’ story.
I’d prefer not to spoil things since the author (shockingly) understands that dumping information on people will not necessarily make them care, but it’s a fun and surprisingly refreshing read.
Right after the School Festival finished, two rumours were the talk of Suiran; ‘The Emperor ate Takamichi Wakaba’s hand-made biscuits two days in a row’ and ‘Enjou-sama has a mystery woman’.
When the School Festival was over, all anybody could talk about was how the Emperor ate Takamichi Wakaba’s hand-made biscuits two days in a row, and how Enjou’s mysterious girlfriend had appeared.
Thanks to that, things were noisier for me too.
“What do you think about all this, Reika-sama? How could Kaburagi-sama of all people eat home-made sweets? And he even went there two days in a row, and even bought extra to bring home with him!”
“Bring home? As I recall, those biscuits were just extras for the tea. They were not for sale, unless I am mistaken…”
“Well, it’s Kaburagi-sama, so who would refuse… But it’s not even that he really liked the biscuits. They were made by a number of people, but he only wanted the ones made by Takamichi-san.”
You’re being way too blunt, Kaburagi…
“Apparently on the second day all of the girls involved with baking the biscuits tried to give him theirs. The only ones he touched were Takamichi-san’s though.”
“Goodness… The biscuits Takamichi-san baked must have truly matched his palate.”
“Why are you being so carefree, Reika-sama. Come on, you need to get your act together!” sulked Kikuno.
There wasn’t much I could do though…
“This morning Kaburagi-sama greeted Takamichi-san in the hallway again…” mumbled Ayame-chan.
“I heard from girls in her class that whenever he comes to greet Enjou-sama he always greets her as well.”
“It couldn’t be that Kaburagi-sama truly…”
“Hey-! Don’t say something so extreme!” Serika-chan said before covering her ears.
“Reika-sama? Have you heard anything from Kaburagi-sama?”
“What do you mean by ‘anything’?”
“Like we were saying, something about Takamichi-san. …Has it ever come up in the conversations in the Pivoine?”
“Not so far as I can remember.”
The girls all sighed. Sorry for being useless, everyone.
“Should Kaburagi-sama not be free to love whomever he wants, though…?”
“Reika-sama! How could you say that! I don’t like it! How could somebody just monopolise Kaburagi-sama like that! All of the girls in Suiran agree with me!”
“You must be exaggerating…”
“No, it’s true!” declared Kikuno-chan without a shred of hesitation.
Everybody nodded along like it was natural.
I guess since Kaburagi was like an idol, it wasn’t strange that his fans acted the way idol fans did.
“Even if Kaburagi-sama did find a girlfriend, she would have to be somebody we could all accept. If it was Yurie-sama then all of us would have felt that it was inevitable, but I don’t think anybody would accept Takamichi-san.”
“Right? Her background is unsuitable for him, and aren’t her looks just normal? She’s basically only good at studying, right?”
“Oh no. What if Takamichi-san only came to Suiran to look for a rich man? That’s horrible!”
Whoa, whoa, please don’t just randomly decide that Wakaba-chan’s a gold digger.
“Does Takamichi-san seem so ill-natured?”
“Goodness, are you taking Takamichi Wakaba’s side over ours, Reika-sama?”
“That was not my intention…”
Oh boy. I could even make things worse if I wasn’t careful. Worse for both Wakaba-chan and me.
“By the way, who was that woman with Enjou-sama…” Ayame-chan changed the subject, with an expression that I couldn’t quite place.
Everybody exchanged glances.
“They seemed rather close…”
“She linked arms with Enjou-sama.”
“And she even called Enjou-sama ‘Shuu’…”
“Enjou-sama called her ‘Yuiko’ too.”
“It can’t be…”
Everyone seemed to be bitterly thinking the same thing. ‘Was that his girlfriend?’
“What do you think, Reika-sama?”
“I have no idea either…”
Katsuragi Boy called her ‘Enjou-san’s lover’ didn’t he. Not that it meant that it was true…
What I did know was why Bird Brain had picked so many fights with me now. The adulation in his eyes when he looked at her was something else. Not that I couldn’t understand it.
We only met for a short while, but Yuiko-san had a special atmosphere. It was transient and ephemeral like the moon rippling on the water.
I think my friends realised it too. They had none of the energy, unlike when it came to Wakaba-chan.
Yeah. That girl was scary. I don’t think I could win.
“By the way, Reika-sama, who on earth were those boys taking photographs of you?”
“I think one of them had a lisp. When he said ‘Reika-san, come over here~’ it sounded like he was saying ‘Reika-tan, come over here~’…”
Please don’t bring that up…
Thanks to the stupid Kaburagi’s thoughtlessness, girls were getting more and more jealous of Wakaba-chan. Not a few times I saw them muttered ‘ugly’ or ‘don’t get ahead of yourself’ as they passed her. I guess it was a relief that Wakaba-chan didn’t seem fazed though.
One morning I came to school earlier than usual, and came across Wakaba-chan in the shoe hallway. I thought that I should at least greet her. When I walked over though, I noticed that she seemed troubled.
“Gokigen’yoh, Takamichi-san. Is something the matter?”
When she turned to face me, in her hands were a pair of in-door shoes stained with ink.
“Aaah… Yeah, uh, for some reason these turned pitch black…”
Obviously somebody did this. So mean.
“How about borrowing some slippers for now? I do not see you wearing those again. Once the school store opens you can buy yourself another pair.”
“Hmmm… I guess even washing these wouldn’t work, huh.”
“…No, I suspect it would not. That does not look like watercolour ink. Perhaps it is brush ink…”
“Who knows. But I really need it to wash off. It’s really going to hurt my wallet otherwise…”
Oh right. The rest of us would have bought a new pair without another thought, but I guess it would be quite a burden on a commoner’s budget. The stuff that Suiran used was pretty expensive after all.
“I don’t mind insults and stuff but this kind of bullying is really a problem. Hmmm… Would bleach really not work though? I’d be okay with it for now if I could just get it to a light grey.”
Suddenly, I remembered. I actually had bought a new pair without a thought before.
“Umm, I actually have a pair that are a little dirty, if you are fine with that.”
For now we had Wakaba-chan put on some slippers, and then we headed to the locker room. I opened my own locker, and brought out a bag from the very back of it. Inside were a pair of indoor shoes.
“Eh!? These don’t look dirty at all.”
“They are dirty at the bottom.”
She turned them over but still couldn’t seem to find anything.
“They look clean, though?”
“…Actually, I stepped in pigeon droppings with these.”
“Indeed,” I nodded gravely.
It was a nice early afternoon. I had been on a stroll with my friends after lunch, happily thinking about how full I was, and what great weather it was.
That was when I stepped right into the bird poop. Fresh bird poop, still warm even, which was why I slipped a little.
“Aahh! Reika-sama stepped in poop!”
“Reika-sama! Let’s wash it off for now!”
I was led by the girls to the taps, still in shock and feeling a little dazed. We used a brush somewhere to clean it off, and it wasn’t hard since the soles were rubber. When we were done we even used disinfectant.
It was still gross to me though, and I didn’t want others to think I was wearing bird poop shoes, so I ended up just buying a new pair.
“I have washed and disinfected it, but…”
“…Is it really okay for me to take this from you? It looks brand new, you know?”
“True. But it has still been in pigeon droppings. Even you mind, surely?”
“No, not at all,” she declared.
She hadn’t hesitated at all.
“These look brand new. Actually I’m really thankful for them. Ah, but would the size fit? I’ve got pretty big feet. I’m a size 23.5.”
“…I am a size 24.”
“Eh? Then isn’t that just perfect? Ehehe,” she laughed.
Thank goodness. If I managed to help Wakaba-chan then that there was a meaning in stepping in that bird poop!
“Did they do this to your shoes yesterday…?”
Or had they come to school earlier? Maybe they were still watching…
“Hard to say. Ah! It looks like it fits perfectly! Thank you very much!”
“No, they had pigeon dropping on them so pay it no mind… Still, thank goodness I happened to come early today.”
I was actually here to prepare for one of my weaker subjects in the library.
“Yeah. Thanks to that I came away with shoes that were even cleaner than my own ones. What luck!”
God, she was such an optimist.
“You seem quite early yourself, Takamichi-san. Was there some reason to it today?”
“Oh, I always come early just to make sure I’m not late. Since I catch the train here there are accidents and delays sometimes, you know~ Can’t let that perfect attendance award go!” she clenched a fist.
Aah~ So she was worried about the train. Thinking back, that incident with the bike was because of a cancelled train too, wasn’t it. And wow, was she eager for perfect attendance. Going after the money bonus, huh.
“But if that is the only issue, then could you not simply apply for proof of lateness?”
“Well yeah, but that feels like running away to me. And I’d miss out on class too.”
Wow! You’re amazing, Wakaba-chan! As expected of one of our grade’s top 3 talents.
Anyway, since people were going to come soon, I said goodbye to Wakaba-chan and headed for my own room.