Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
The day I first met Arisu-chan, my father said to me.
[“That child will be the support that helps Haruto to maintain your humanity. That’s why, you must support her first.”]
Because of the memory of my previous life, I couldn’t become a normal child. On top of that, my psyche was gradually corroded by the “sensation of death” in the form of nightmares almost every night.
In kindergarten, days passed as I couldn’t fit in with other children, and I couldn’t even sleep properly at night. By the time I reached the age of three, I was in a state of depression.
At that time, it was Arisu-chan who was brought to our house.
The moment I saw her, I felt like I had to protect her.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Sakayanagi Arisu.”
In my early childhood days, she was the only one other than my parents who would talk to me properly. Although I was annoyed by her aggressive personality, I was certainly saved by her interactions.
It was mid-December, and the students who had finished their exams had entered their winter break mode. Perhaps the matter regarding Paper Shuffle was already forgotten in their minds as the atmosphere was filled with laziness.
“Hey hey, where are you going for Christmas?”
“I have leeway in points, so I want to eat something delicious, you see~”
I could hear the girls’ conversation.
It was a scene that made people want to reconsider the meaning of the word meritocracy, but in a sense, perhaps they were among the people who enjoyed this school the most.
Their food, clothing, and shelter were guaranteed, tuition was unnecessary, and pocket money was transferred every month. As long as they gave up on graduating as Class A, the Advanced Nurturing High School seemed to transform into a convenient paradise for students.
Suddenly, Nagumo’s face came to my mind. Most of the things he hated were present in these students. They only thought that all they needed to do was overcome the extremely low hurdle of a failing grade, a group without aspiration to improve. Could that man make these guys feel a sense of danger?
After school, Arisu-chan and I were called by Mashima-sensei.
It seemed that somebody was summoning us. Although I wasn’t very enthusiastic about that, I still complied.
“…That’s how it is, so please come over here.”
We walked inside the school building. Since the teacher gave an instruction, I had no choice but to obey it as long as I was in this school. While feeling awkward about the silence, we followed Sensei from some distance away.
The destination was surprisingly close and it didn’t take long for us to arrive.
The door of the room was closed, creating an atmosphere as if a really important person was waiting beyond.
“…It’s right here. The chairman is in here.”
After saying that, Mashima-sensei left in a hurry. Surprisingly, he might be the type of a person who didn’t want to meet his boss outside work. I could understand how that felt.
Just in case, I opened the door only after knocking three times. The one who waited beyond was Arisu-chan’s father… Chairman Sakayanagi. I didn’t expect to meet him at this point in time, but he was someone I wanted to talk to at least once for personal matters.
“It’s been a while. For now, both of you may sit there.”
After being prompted, we sat down on a black luxurious-looking sofa.
When I looked next to me, Arisu-chan seemed a little happy. She was someone who loved her parents since she was a child, so I found that understanding.
“…Did the two of you decide to become lovers?”
“That’s right. Since it began at the time of the deserted island exam, it means it’s already been five months.”
“I’m glad then. You are the only person I can entrust her to. Please take care of her from now on as well.”
The chairman was the one who started the topic.
…I think he also said the same back in the hospital that day. It felt kind of nostalgic.
“If you’re fine with me, please leave it to me.”
“Hahah, you’re still the same. Your humble side makes you completely different from your father.”
“There’s no doubt about that. That person is always full of confidence after all.”
As I remembered my father whom I hadn’t seen since enrolling in this school, I took a sip of tea.
Was he well? It made me wonder if he drank too much liquor.
“Um, father… about him.”
“…Of course I know about it.”1
Immediately after the topic was cut off, Arisu-chan spoke to the chairman with a restless look.
I didn’t understand what their exchange meant. Perhaps it was something that could only be understood between the parent and child.
While feeling slightly awkward, I listened intently to the two’s conversation for a while.
After being asked about our current situation, the chairman looked at my face with a formal attitude.
“Well then, let’s proceed to the main topic. There’s only one thing I’d like to ask Haruto-kun. I want both of you… to keep an eye on the movements of your grade’s Class A and report if you find anything suspicious.”
The chairman leaned forward as he interlaced his fingers as if admonishing me.
To be honest, it was a request I didn’t quite understand. I could understand he would be curious about Class A, but his request was too vague and it was hard to understand what he wanted in the end. Without hesitation, I asked back.
“What do you mean specifically about anything suspicious?”
“To put it simply, it would be something like threat and destruction activities done by the group.”
After listening to the two given examples, I understood the chairman’s intention.
For example, what would happen if Honami said “Let’s start a revolution”?
…It wasn’t hard to imagine. Worst case scenario, the school could even be forced to close down.2
“I think you already know, but people that gather under the student named Ichinose Honami have grown into something similar to a cult. There’s no precedent for this phenomenon before.”
“Well, I guess so.”
“As long as it was something that students did within the boundary of the rules, we wouldn’t do anything to stop it. However… since things have progressed in a direction outside our expectations, there’s no way I could decide to do nothing about it as the chairman of this school.”
The chairman had a wry smile. The fact he directly made the request to me on purpose meant he had a certain degree of understanding of my relationship with Honami.
“I understand. I’ll cooperate within my means. However, I think you are already aware of this, but most of our actions are supportive of Class A. Please understand that.”
“Understood. There’s no problem with just putting a stance on cooperating with the school investigation.”
I thought about it a little, but I decided to accept.
It was an action I did not as a common student but as Arisu-chan’s boyfriend. If the one who requested that wasn’t her father, I would definitely refuse the request.
Since it was almost certain that we would have a long-term relationship in the future, it would be to my benefit to sell favors now.
“Finally, if there’s something you want to talk about… I’ll listen to it.”
The chairman asked me. I understood that this was, in a way, his way of rewarding my cooperation.
It was a right to ask anything to the person who could change the rules of the school as much as he wanted. That right was something that a student would want to have no matter how many points they had to pay.
I decided to tell him what I had been thinking about for a long time.
“Then please let me know. Chairman, would you be meeting my father in the near future?”
Hearing my words, he made a surprised expression. Perhaps he didn’t expect that question.
After thinking for a few seconds, the chairman met my eyes again.
“It will be just next week when I will come to report on a certain matter. Do you want to send a message to him?”
“It’s as you say. I want to send a message to my father… Please tell him that ‘Ayanokouji Kiyotaka is my friend’.”
“If that’s all you want to ask, there’s no problem at all. I accept it.”
He readily accepted my request. This was the “harassment” I had been thinking about.
As people were aware, this school was directly run by the Japanese government. Therefore, a large amount of tax money was invested in its operating funds, so no matter how much influence a person had in this school, they would have to be considerate to my father in the end. It was a very dirty method that made use of blood ties, but considering who the opponent was, there was no reason to hold back.
“Even if I don’t explain, I’m sure he’ll understand my intention.”
“Hush it up. So that’s what you mean.”
As expected of Arisu-chan’s father. He was quick on the uptake.
Rather than directly helping Kiyotaka, I just made it easier for him to move.
The rest is up to you. Good luck.
What kind of expression would Kiyotaka make once he won true freedom with his own hand? Would he smile, or would he maintain his usual expressionless face? I was really curious about that.
I sent my heartfelt encouragement to my cool best friend.
…However, I still had a reluctance to accept the man in front of me as my future father-in-law.
While trying not to reveal my complicated expression, I left the room with Arisu-chan.
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