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The day after the birthday party, Enjou thanked me again in the salon.
“Thanks for yesterday,” Enjou said, “Yukino had a lot of fun thanks to you. He immediately started using your present in his room, you know. When he plugged it in and the lights came on he was surprised by how much it resembled the sea.”
“That makes me very happy to hear. He seemed to really enjoy himself in Okinawa so I thought he liked marine animals.”
“Apparently he does. He keeps talking about how he wants to buy some tropical fish.”
“Is that so.”
“Afterwards when my dad came home we had another celebration with our family, you see. He asked my grandfather for some.”
A family gathering, huh…
So that was why I saw Yuiko-san.
Yuiko-san, a candidate for Enjou’s fiancée.
She still had the same otherworldly impression that I saw during the School Festival.
“Speaking of which, Masaya’s still trying to figure out that puzzle ring. He’s gotten really worked up about it. In the end he stayed over, you know. Apparently he stayed up almost until sunrise trying to work it out. That’s why his eyes are all bloodshot and scary today.”
“I… That sounds rough. Did Kaburagi-sama manage to solve it in the end?”
“Apparently he did. He came up to me with this bright smile and showed me the separated pieces. His eyes were still bloodshot though.”
Kaburagi… I don’t even have words.
It was just so pathetic.
“Is that why Kaburagi-sama is absent today? He seems like he could use some sleep after all.”
“Nah, the reason he’s not here has nothing to do with that. He’ll be fine even missing a bit of sleep. He’s got stupid amounts of stamina after all.”
“Oh my, ohohoho…”
I couldn’t publicly comment.
“Ah, and my mother wanted me to tell you to come over again.”
“Thank you. Perhaps if circumstances permit…”
Oh my, it’s about time for me to go to the Handicrafts Club.
I picked up my bag, said goodbye to everybody, and then left my seat.
Valentine’s Day was all the girls were talking about.
It was the right season for chocolate companies to be releasing limited-time products, so everyone was exchanging information about that.
I was excited too.
I had plans to visit Wakaba-chan again, since I still had to learn to make the fondant au chocolat.
The members of my club had been chatting to each other about knitting.
Mn. Not me though.
Still, they seemed to have been having fun.
“Who are you giving yours to this year, Reika-sama?”
At lunch I was heading to the faculty room for some class rep stuff so Serika-chan and Kikuno-chan had come along with me.
I was feeling quite grateful since the two of them weren’t even in my class.
“The same as usual. Just my family and the like.”
“My, only them? Why do you never give any to Kaburagi-sama and Enjou-sama?”
Because I had no reason to.
“What about you two, Serika-san, Kikuno-san?”
“I’m, probably going to go with the Emperor,” said Serika-chan.
“Right? We have to be careful about which chocolate to choose. We can’t pick the wrong one,” agreed Kikuno-chan.
“You have to say chocolat in front of Kaburagi-sama.”
“Oh, that’s right.”
“It was very valuable advice from Reika-sama.”
“I’m happy just to have him accept something from me.”
“I’m the same. But handing it to him personally is important. I’d hate to just leave it in the special bag that he prepares, or on his desk.”
“That sounds a bit like a shrine offering,” I noted.
“Gosh, don’t put it like that, Reika-sama,” complained Serika-chan.
“You should give him something together with us, Reika-sama. It’ll be fun,” Kikuno-chan said. “And if you get to brush against his hands at the time…”
“Kyaah! Gosh, what are you saying, Kikuno-san!”
“My, my, weren’t planning the same thing, Serika-san?”
“Wha-! You promised to keep that a secret!”
While the three of us walked down the hallway, we suddenly noticed Tsusuhana-san’s group coming from the other side.
Without skipping a beat, Serika-chan and Kikuno-chan moved to each of my sides.
We might have been smiling, but neither of them reached our eyes.
One of her lackeys was holding a Valentine’s special magazine.
Tsuruhana-san noticed my eyes drifting to it.
“What are you plans for Valentine’s, Reika-sama?”
“Nothing in particular,” I replied.
“My! To think that of all people, Reika-sama, you would be spending a lonely Valentine’s!” she said particularly loudly.
“Aren’t you being a bit rude here, Tsuruhana-san?” glared Serika-chan.
“Oh dear, I’m sorry. People have told me I’m too honest sometimes.”
She and her lackeys were snickering audibly.
But suddenly her expression turned serious.
“It’s because you’re always wearing that nonchalant expression of yours that you had your prize stolen from under your nose, you know.”
“What did you just say!?”
Prize stolen from under my nose… Wakaba-chan and Kaburagi?
“The day that a lowly External steals away your throne as the queen isn’t far away, wouldn’t you agree? After all, she’s already won over the hearts of the two most influential people here, hasn’t she?”
“Tsuruhana-san! Watch the way you speak to her!”
“Perhaps the age of a certain someone is already over…”
“Tsuruhana-san! You had better not get ahead of yourself!”
“Unacceptable! How dare you speak to Reika-sama like that!”
Serika-chan and Kikuno-chan looked just about ready to brawl.
It was going to be chaos at this rate.
“Ohohoho,” I laughed. “People do often say that empty vessels make the most sound. I can hear you loud and clear, Tsuruhana-san.”
I smiled in amusement.
“If you want a fight, shall I give you one?”
Youko-sama hadn’t graduated yet, so I could totally do it!
At least I hoped so.
I’d make use of Youko-sama’s power as much as I could!
For a while it seemed like sparks flew between us.
Even if it’s scary, don’t avert your eyes, Reika!
“Hmph. Let’s go, everyone.”
Serika-chan and Kikuno-san were still fuming after they walked past and left.
“What the was that!? Absolutely unforgivable!”
“Ever since the year started she’s been acting more and more out of hand! She’s asking for war!”
The two of them were boiling with rage.
You’re kind of scary, you two.
Since there were a lot of onlookers, I quickly left.
As I was doing so, I overheard a boy’s comment.
“The three Gorgon sisters are freaking scary…”
Three Gorgon sisters!?
The three of us turned in sync to glare at the source who squealed a little before running away.
Even if you run, you won’t escape us.
I already have your face.
How about I turn you to stone as well!
“Reika-sama! We will make sure to punish that insolent boy properly!”
“When I’m through, he won’t have a place in Suiran!”
“Enough, you two. It was just a bit of nonsense. Still, hmm, I think I know what to do with him.”
I sent out a notice to all girls.
Until graduation, nobody was to give that boy a single Valentine’s chocolate; absolutely no courtesy chocolates, to say nothing of romantic chocolates.
He would be part of the village, whether he liked it or not.