Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Sorry for the late update.
Only one week left until the sports festival.
As the time entered the deadline for the submission of participation forms, the tension increased throughout the school.
However, the two of us were living our normal lives without being particularly conscious of that.
As usual, our class didn’t seem to be organized, but I wasn’t interested at all.
I was less motivated than I thought. Even the thought of participating itself had become dull and I was seriously considering just losing all events by default.
In the end, I understood that I had fun in this school life thanks to Arisu-chan.
The exam that Arisu-chan couldn’t participate in… was worthless. That was why I did nothing.
Therefore, we were free today as well.
Since it had been a while since we talked to Honami-san, we went to Class A’s classroom.
“…Err, this is amazing.”
“Uwah, it really is. I’m surprised.”
Even Arisu-chan was slightly taken aback by the sight that gave me a headache.
Before I knew it, posters of Honami-san were pasted on the wall of the classroom. Moreover, it wasn’t just one, but five of them. I was sure they weren’t there during the first trimester, so it was safe to assume that someone in the class made it during the summer vacation. Leaving aside whether it’s right or wrong, they used photographs with different compositions and the workmanship itself was pretty good. I did hear one could buy anything with points, but this was…
“Kanzaki, what do you think about this?”
He didn’t answer my question and chose to remain silent with a wry smile on his face.
Kanzaki was the only one in Class A who wasn’t “stained” by Honami-san. He was also fully aware of how abnormal his class had become.
This kind of existence who wasn’t too close despite being an ally was precious. If the most important person in class A was Honami-san, he was without a doubt the number two.
“I’m a ‘moderate faction’ after all. Don’t you think so, Shiranami?”
“…That’s a bad way of putting it. Don’t say it as if you mean me as part of an extremist faction.”
Shiranami puffed her cheeks at Kanzaki’s teasing words.
Hey, what else to refer to you with if it wasn’t an extremist? You were definitely the culprit who was responsible for those posters.
There were two people who could be considered number two in Class A. The other one was Shiranami Chihiro.
The power structure of the group was easy to understand. With Honami-san at the top, Kanzaki and Shiranami were positioned below him. Then the rest of the students were moving according to the instructions of this pyramid.
…It felt more and more cult-like, but I would leave that aside for now.
Kanzaki was in charge of the boys, while Shiranami was in charge of the girls.
Partly because of the difference in policy between the two, girls tend to have a deeper and heavier faith in Honami-san. Rather than cult believers, boys felt more like fans who tried to support their favorite idol.
“Haa, Ichinose-san. I want to drown in Ichinose-san all the time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I want to dedicate my everything. I want my everything to be taken away by her. I want her to trample this vulgar self…”
Without warning, Shiranami suddenly began to speak rapidly and had a strange delusion. It was her habit, but it was really scary so I wanted her to stop. She was a really good girl when it didn’t involve Honami-san, though…
The fact she wasn’t the only girl who acted like this should have made people understand how scary it was. Although Shiranami’s danger level was especially high, the girls of Class A were practically a group of fanatics.
“Sakayanagi-san, Takashiro-kun, thank you as always.”
“…Ouh, I don’t remember doing something that was worth thanks, though. Especially me.”
“No. You are someone who supports Ichinose-san’s smile from the shadows, so I have to be grateful.”
The difference between these two students to other students of Class A was the fact they were aware that Arisu-chan was helping them from the shadows to some extent. Of course, they didn’t know everything, but the fact that Arisu-chan also contributed to this class was something they understood to some extent.
It all started during the exam on the ship. At the end of the summer vacation, Shiranami asked us whether we had done something back then when she met us. Considering how abnormal the victory of Class A on that exam was and the fact she knew that we were meeting Honami-san in secret, I guess it was only natural.
Since she already felt something was off, it was difficult to keep it hidden. So Arisu-chan changed her policy and revealed to just these two that she helped Honami-san whenever we met in secret.
Their reactions were contrasting. Kanzaki reacted as if he had already expected it, while Shiranami seemed very surprised by it.
However, that didn’t change their loyalty to Honami-san. I couldn’t say for other students, but while Kanzaki and Shiranami have different policies, both of them were people who truly care for Honami-san. They were different from business-minded subordinates who just followed for the sake of victory.
Since then, Shiranami seemed to feel indebted to Arisu-chan and me, and wouldn’t forget to say her thanks whenever she met us. Apparently, she also knew that Honami-san would have a hard time coming out victorious in a class point battle alone. Even though she admired Honami-san that much, the fact she could still make a proper evaluation showed how competent she was.
…It was just that she seemed to misunderstand our motives. Arisu-chan and I weren’t believers of the Honami cult, but she looked at us like we were their best comrades.
“Sorry, sorry! I was just away talking about the participation table earlier.”
While we were chatting, the boss appeared.
Honami-san scratched her head and came over with an apologetic expression.
“No, we were talking to Shiranami and others earlier, so there’s no problem at all. We’re just coming here to kill time in the first place after all.”
“It makes me happy. You actually came to visit even if you don’t have any business.”
Honami-san’s expression suddenly brightened as if she was truly happy.
Shiranami that stood next to her stared at it and blushed.
Then an indescribable expression where her muddy emotions mixed up appeared. This was also characteristic of Shiranami. Combined with her sharp gaze, it was especially scary to people around.
“Chihiro-chan, your face is getting scary again, you know?”
“…Hah, I’m sorry. It just slipped out.”
“Ahaha… by the way, Arisu-chan. There’s something I want to talk to you about, but is it okay if I visit your room after school today?”
“I don’t mind.”
I wondered what she wanted to talk about?
If I thought normally, it should be about the sports festival, but I could see fatigue on Honami-san’s face.
We left the classroom as I was thinking about what she might talk about.
As soon as she entered our room, Honami-san began to cry quietly.
Even though I was puzzled by the sudden change, I somehow sensed what was in her mind.
“Arisu-chan, sorry… Can I stay like this for a while?”
She buried her face on Arisu-chan’s chest and sobbed.
She couldn’t show her weak side to everyone in the class. She seemed to really think so.
“I’m not as strong as people think I am, and I’m not a perfect person either… I want to see you more. I want you to listen to me. Nobody seems to understand the real me.”
“…The real Honami-san, is it?”
“Yes. I… am not a good person, more than Arisu-chan thought I was, you know?”
Then Honami-san… started talking about her past.
She said how in order to give a present to her beloved little sister, she shoplifted in a department store. How she went to apologize to her mother later. Then how she was absent from the school for a long period of time as she was shutting herself in her room…
She continued to speak slowly with a dark expression she would never have outside. The listener, Arisu-chan, would occasionally nod, but she seemed a little perplexed.
“So I thought I could start over at this school. I thought I could get back on my feet again.”
I already knew about it to some extent due to the knowledge of my previous life, but I never thought I would actually hear of it from the person herself.
I have no idea why she chose to reveal her past here. I think Arisu-chan also thought the same. It was honestly an incomprehensible behavior of revealing one’s own weakness without any context.
“…I see, I understand. What do you think, Haruto-kun?”
She pushed the topic to me. I think she had a hard time commenting about it. U~hn…
“I don’t think that episode mattered much. I might be scared if you got convicted because of that, though. Since it’s an undeniable fact that the current Honami-san is a kind person, I don’t think there’s a need to worry about what happened in the past. You came to this school and did your best, I think that’s plenty.”
Since I could understand how serious she was, I tried my best to answer honestly.
“Am I worthy enough to be worshiped like I am now?”
“Isn’t the current situation proof that you are? Who else is as cute and gentle as you are?”
When I answered like that, Honami-san laughed happily. When Arisu-chan saw that… Although her expression didn’t change, her atmosphere seemed to say “How troublesome.” She was quite cold.
“Honami-san. Perhaps do you want to be like Kikyou-san?”
She said what she wanted to say. I think my thoughts synched well with Arisu-chan today.
“…I do think I want to get along with the two of you even more.”
With that sentence, I was able to grasp the true meaning of her actions.
Honami-san seemed to consider our relationship with Arisu-chan as an ideal form.
However, she only spoke of what she saw on the surface. Honami-san didn’t realize how much resolve Kikyou-chan had and how Kikyou-chan ended up deeply related to us. I guess that was what made Arisu-chan irritated.
“Honami-san, let me give you an example.”
“What is it?”
Emotion disappeared from Arisu-chan’s face.
“If Haruto-kun asked you to destroy Class A… your own class, would you be able to do it?”
Honami-san stiffened as she didn’t understand the meaning of the question for a moment.
Eventually, she realized the terrifying context and began to panic.
“You can’t, right? I understand that, that’s how Honami-san is after all. However, if Kikyou-chan is asked to do the same, she will definitely do it.”
“As long as you don’t have the resolve to abandon everything else for his sake, it will be hard to build a relationship beyond friendship. He is an absolute existence for me, so I need to prioritize his will above all else.”
She wasn’t saying that to turn her into her enemy. However, she clearly drew the line there.
I could see part of Arisu-chan’s opinion toward Honami-san. Although the way she acted toward them was mostly the same, I realized that there was an overwhelming difference in how she evaluated them.
“Do I have to abandon everyone in my class?”
“That’s just an example, but in terms of value, that’s exactly it.”
After Arisu-chan declared that, Honami-san cast her eyes down.
I became a little worried at how she got pushed too hard.
After that, time passed in a dark atmosphere.
It was 6 pm. Honami-san stood up and headed toward the entrance with unsteady steps.
She put on her shoes with vacant eyes which made me wonder where her usual smile had gone.
Somehow, it made me think it was dangerous to leave her alone. I never expected it to be this bad. I thought she was merely burdened by the responsibility as the class leader.
I finally realized that things might have gone terribly. It seemed Honami-san kept concealing how much she was broken mentally until now. Be it how she complained back on the exam on the ship, her behavior that asked to be spoiled which was unthinkable from the usual her, all of it… were red flags.
She didn’t have a place to vent her stress. That was her big difference from Kikyou-chan.
Ever since she got escorted by the students of her class, it became hard for her to have casual chats with just the three of us. Just like Arisu-chan, she must have no other student she could speak to as an equal. Having that salvation taken away from her caused more damage than I expected.
And today, when she finally got the chance, she was kicked out… aah, this was dangerous.
Honami-san opened the door with a heavy touch and left the room.
“Fufu, I guess even Haruto-kun panicked in this situation. But it’s okay, it’s within my expectations.”
Arisu-chan, who didn’t break her relaxed smile, took a sip of her tea.
After letting out a sigh, she took my hand and stood up.
“…So we’re chasing after her?”
“Yes, let’s do that. It might be interesting to do nothing here… but in the unlikely chance she ends up jumping off from a high place, it would be a problem. Above all, you won’t allow that, will you?”
“Of course. Just because she’s different from Kikyou-chan, it doesn’t mean I’m abandoning her. She’s my friend after all.”
Indeed, she was my friend. Kikyou-chan was an exception among exceptions, but Honami-san was still an important friend. I couldn’t be like Arisu-chan and treat her coldly.
I have forgotten how scary Arisu-chan could be.
Kikyou-chan, I, and Kiyotaka were part of her inner circle. The kindness she showed to me wasn’t something she would show to everyone. It made me realize once again that some things couldn’t be seen exactly because the relationship was too close.
We ran out of the room.
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