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Kaishi (懐紙, lit. pocket paper) is white paper used for miscellaneous purposes. It is usually in the form of a pad of paper folded in half. The name indicates that it is paper kept handy in the bosom overlap of the kimono.
According to the email from Aira-sama, Kaburagi had shown interest in a certain girl. It was without a doubt Wakaba-chan.
Since I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, I put it on the backburner for now. Instead, I decided to message Aoi-chan about Naru-kun’s name first.
Next to me, Naru-kun was still engrossed in his studies, oblivious to what I was doing. I never got the chance to see the real Naru-kun do so, but there must have been times when he looked like this too.
Aoi-chan hadn’t replied yet so I began seriously looking through my own book. Sitting juust a little closer to Naru-kun.
I replied to Aira-sama’s message when I got home. I decided to avoid going out of my way to spread more rumours about Wakaba-chan, so instead I just replied,
‘Oh? Truly? Who might the girl be?’
Not long afterwards she called me.
“Long time no see, Reika-chan. Have you been well?”
“It has been a while, Aira-sama!”
It had been a long time since we had spoken like this, what with how busy she was with university. It was really nice to talk to her again.
Both Yurie-sama and Aira-sama had something on this year so they hadn’t come to the School Festival. I spent a while chatting with her about what attractions we had this year, and what I did with the Handicrafts Club.
“Anyway, about that girl I mentioned in my email.”
Apparently Yurie-sama was the first to realise. It was because Kaburagi had been acting strangely since the summer break.
“The other day Masaya went to Yurie’s house to visit. The thing is, the gift he brought were some really plain looking desserts that he’d never touch. As it turns out, it was made by the family of a girl from Suiran.
“He even boasted that he had tried all the cakes from their shop, and that this was the best one. The problem was that it didn’t seem like he was just fond of the cakes.
“‘She’s a pretty interesting one.’
“‘She’s a weirdo.’
“She tried to put this strange sticker on her bike.’
“Yurie said that all he could talk about was this girl.”
Kaburagi went to Wakaba-chan’s house!? His stalking tendencies were still healthy and well, it seemed.
And more importantly, he had already conquered all of the cakes in her family store!? That sneak! How dare he get a march on me! I wanted to eat them too! There was that éclair I still wanted to try!
“When I think about it, it might have been this budding new love that helped him get over Yurie. She was really glad to see how happy he was.”
“Although to be honest I was secretly hoping for you two to get together, Reika-chan.”
“What on earth are you saying, Aira-sama.”
I really wish she wouldn’t say such ominous things. Getting involved with Kaburagi was as good as plunging into a Bad End.
“Do you have anyone you like, Reika-chan?”
Somebody I like? Ummmm. I suppose right now I was most interested in Naru-kun from the library but…
“Not in particular.”
“Oh my~ Why isn’t that lonely.”
“Do you, Aira-sama?”
Ngn, I really wanted to know. What would I do if my respected Aira-sama ended up falling for some weirdo?
After that I listened to Aira-sama talk about the Suiran girls in uni, and what they planned to do after graduating. Aira-sama was planning on looking for a job, but quite a few people were planning on just getting married or staying at home to learn how to be a bride.
And apparently basically nobody was planning on becoming a civil servant…
Thanks to Kaburagi, Wakaba-chan’s bullying was worse than ever.
These days it was often to see Fellow Stalking Horse escorting Wakaba-chan like a bodyguard. This just worsened the opinion of Wakaba-chan amongst the girls.
Speaking of Wakaba-chan, in Suiran’s high school section, once a week it was necessary to attend one special elective class from flower arrangement, tea ceremony, calligraphy, kendo, or kyudo.
The main reason this system was in place was for the sake of the External Students joining our high school section from normal households.
Most girls picked flower arrangement or tea ceremony. I for one had been doing the latter since 1st Year. The reason I didn’t pick flower arrangement was because the school of flower arrangement that I attended followed a different style to Suiran’s. Don’t let anybody tell you it was because I had no confidence in my sense of flower arrangement aesthetics. Because that’s not true, okay?
It was an artistic decision on my part that I would only ever use warabi-grip shears. That’s why I couldn’t participate in Suiran’s flower arrangement classes. I wasn’t running away. Don’t doubt me, okay?
I’m the sort of girl who can do anything she puts her mind to.
Wakaba-chan was probably trying to experience everything Suiran had to offer. Unlike last year when she did flower arrangement, this year she changed to tea ceremony.
The problem was that she really should have done it the other way around… Unlike flower arrangement, the content for tea ceremony changed a little bit each year.
Last year we were practising the basis like how to use the fukusa cloth, up to making usucha with the Bonryaku Temae procedure. That would have been easier. The Bonryaku Temae didn’t use many tools so it was harder to fail.
But this year we were moving onto the Furo Temae. Just the fact that it had more steps to remember made it more difficult. It wasn’t something you could succeed in after skipping the basics. Even if you could memorise all the steps from a book, actually performing it right was a different story.
Honestly, tea ceremony was just a pain. There were so many things to remember. Even the number of steps you walked mattered. Basically it wasn’t something you could learn overnight.
Based on that point alone, it would have been easier to start flower arrangement in the second year instead. As long as you remembered the basics, the rest was up to your sense of aesthetics.
Plus, you were allowed to bring home the flowers you used. It was a pretty good deal.
Suiran being Suiran, the flowers available for use were both plentiful and gorgeous. Worlds apart from the gloomy arrangements you might find for funeral altars.
Anyhow, the point was that today was Wakaba-chan’s turn as the host of the tea ceremony. I prayed that she wouldn’t mess up.
But contrary to my wishes…
The ladle that she left on the kettle fell onto the ground!
I could already hear snickers.
Red-faced, Wakaba-chan bowed and apologised as the sensei made her clean it.
Aaah! I know how you feel, Wakaba-chan! God, do I know how you feel!
One time during a tea ceremony, the confection I had in my kaishi paper fell out and rolled right across the room! It was amazing just how far it rolled, honestly. I think it was because of the shape. By the time I had reached out with my hand it was too late. If I didn’t know better I would have thought it’d never stop.
That was a horrible day. At the time I had wished that I could just become an amnesiac and never have to remember it. I was even seriously considering pretending to pass out from anaemia to save myself the shame.
Uugh…! My stomach hurt just remembering it!
Since then my heart would begin to thump whenever the confections for the day were round.
To begin with, why was it necessary to balance them on kaishi just to eat them. Bring me a plate, damnit!
“Well, with her upbringing…”
The girls in the room weren’t letting go of the opportunity to badmouth her either. Aah, what was I supposed to do…
“Ah, umm, might this confection be a sasanqua?” I tried to change the subject.
Thankfully the teacher was all about it.
“Goodness, Kisshouin-san. Well done. You are quite right. Although it is easy to mistake it for the camellia japonica, the confection today was indeed modelled off the camellia sasanqua.”
Everyone was focused on the confection! Now, Wakaba-chan! Now’s your chance to move onto the next step!
Oh no! She was nodded along with interest too! Now’s not the time for that, Wakaba-chan!
In the end, although she messed up a number of times and the teacher had to correct her, Wakaba-chan eventually managed to finish her temae procedure.
I was worried that she would be upset after being laughed at so many times, so I checked up on her. Instead, I found her having fun sneakily packing away the leftover confections that sensei gave her for trying hard.
Mn. That was Wakaba-chan for you…
It was my first session in a while with Mihara-san at the Imperial Palace. I had my hair in a ponytail and was ready to go!
I think I was doing quite a lot better than when I first started during the summer, even if I did say so myself. My stamina was better too.
Huu huu, haa haa.
I was still running when the flying lady of a white Rolls Royce stopped beside me.
While I was wondering what was happening, Mihara-san had already stepped in front of me protectively. Thinking about it, he was actually hired as my bodyguard, wasn’t he.
Don’t tell me I was about to have an encounter with the underworld? I hoped it was just somebody who wanted to cheer me on.
While I was thinking, the rear window wound down and out popped Kaburagi’s face.
“So it really was you.”
So the owner of this ostentatious car was Emperor Kaburagi.
Don’t tell me this was the car he used to run down Wakaba-chan? If it was then I was impressed she got off with just some bruises.
Still, if she was run down by this imposing beast of a car then it was little wonder that her family turned down the compensation money. This did not look like the car of somebody in a respectable occupation…
“What are you doing here?”
“What, you ask? Why, I was jogging, as you can see.”
If you understand then don’t make me talk so much, dimwit. Isn’t it obvious what I was doing?
I was still out of breath from it, actually.
“Jogging? All I saw was somebody running on the spot. People were walking faster than you were. It was weird so I stopped to see what was going on when it turned out to be you.”
What the heeell!?
What do you mean ‘running on the spot’!? I was making progress, damnit! Damn you! Damn you! Damn you!
You don’t have a shred of courtesy or consideration or delicacy at all!
“Even though you’ve got that Jamaican hairdo going on, you kind of put their runners to shame, huh. Ah well, do your best I guess. Cya.”
After running his mouth off, he got back into his mobile Parthenon and drove off as I trembled in anger.
“…Ojousama, there’s nothing wrong with going at your own pace, okay?”
Get dumped, Kaburagi. Get dumped by Wakaba-chan, damn you! You should just get dumped and go on a journey again!
I began cursing at the long-gone car.
“If I didn’t know better I would have thought it’d never stop.”
was more along the lines of,
“It rolled like the rice ball in The Rolling Riceball.”
Watch the story in the link below. It’s pretty cute, haha!