Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Time flew by so quickly that there was only one day left until the trimester closing ceremony.
After school, I was killing time at the usual café with Arisu-chan.
“I guess this year is almost over.”
“You’re right. It felt like a blink of an eye.”
Since Christmas was near, a special menu was prepared. It was a buche de noel cut for one person serving. Since the picture of the dish looked so delicious, I ordered it without hesitation.
I put the coffee that was delivered first into my mouth. It was a taste I was already used to.
“…It seems Haruto-kun’s father will come for ‘inspection’ tomorrow.”
Arisu-chan said quietly. I entered my thoughts upon hearing that.
Whenever that person made his move, there would always be a storm. A person who was rumored to be such a thing was said to be visiting this school. There was no doubt that something big had occurred.
That said, it was none of my business. I just thought I didn’t need to care about that and spend my days normally.
“Did you hear that from the chairman?”
“Yes. Yesterday, I received a message with that content.”
“That sounds suggestive…”
“…It’s just my guess, but I think this is related to Haruto-kun’s request last time?”
Arisu-chan said that while pouring sugar into her coffee.
I finally realized. Since I was never conscious of it, I just plain forgot about it.
It was something I requested from the chairman last time. Did the message I sent to my father make him move?
“That remark is just out of my desire to support Kiyotaka. I’m sure he understands that much, so it should be okay.”
When I answered that, she didn’t ask further.
The hot coffee felt more bitter than usual.
Then came the day of the closing ceremony.
Today, everyone would be leaving the school at once before noon and it seemed the club activities wouldn’t be held. We returned to our class for the last homeroom of the second trimester.
The wind that blew through the corridor was cold. When I looked outside, I saw a face I hadn’t seen for a while… my father’s figure.
…What is he doing?
Middle-aged men who I believed to be his subordinates were surrounding him. He exuded an imposing atmosphere which made it hard to talk to him, but I brought Arisu-chan and closed my distance a little to him.
After watching the situation for a while, the chairman appeared from the other side.
The chairman bowed his head once and then shook hands with my father. After that, the two started walking side by side. His subordinates follow after them a little distance away. Apparently, the chairman was guiding my father to the reception room.
We kept a certain distance and observed their movement. Arisu-chan was also watching with interest.
…For a moment, just for a moment, my father turned to me.
[“I have already taken care of it.”]
The moment our eyes met, the movement of my father’s mouth told me that. No voice was let out so only we would understand what he meant. After that, he continued his conversation with the chairman as if nothing happened.
I couldn’t understand why Arisu-chan was trembling.1
In the homeroom, Mashima-sensei was explaining the precautions for winter break in a strong tone.
“During the winter break, part of the school will be closed to the public for renovation work. Also, it might be a long holiday, but you should never forget your status as a student. If anyone causes a problem, the whole class would have to bear the consequences. Act with that in mind.”
That was something that didn’t need to be told… Well, that wasn’t the case for the current Class B.
There were only a few students who seriously listened to this, as most of the students already entered winter break mode. I was sure Mashima-sensei had a headache because of that.
Mashima-sensei let out a sigh and said that the homeroom was over.
“U-um, you see.”
While I was stuffing the textbooks I left in the classroom into my bag, Masumi-san called out to me.
“About the winter break… no, it’s nothing.”
Judging from her shy look, it seemed she was inviting us to hang out together. She didn’t seem to have any other friends either, so perhaps she had resistance to spending her time all alone during the New Year? What to say, she looked really cute.
“Fufu, please contact us anytime. Let’s go shopping together.”
“…Geez, I guess it can’t be helped.”
In response to Arisu-chan’s words, Masumi-san turned to the side. However, the corner of her mouth rose up and she couldn’t hide her happiness at all. No good, she was too cute.
When I looked next to me, Arisu-chan’s face was also red in excitement.
“What is it, both of you?”
Her appearance of playing with her index fingers was also cute. She would usually have a blunt attitude, but the gap in her usual appearance was amazing. I wanted to get involved with her more and bring out more of this kind of appearance in the future.
At that time, there was a loud clapping sound.
When I looked in the direction of the sound, Mashima-sensei was back.
“I forgot to mention one thing. This afternoon, there would be a guest touring in the school building. In response to that, every student is instructed to leave the school building before 2 pm.”
He spoke in a loud voice enough to be heard by everyone in the classroom.
…The guest must be that person, without a doubt.
After confirming we become silent, Mashima-sensei continued his words.
“Since the club activities are also suspended, I don’t think there’s any reason to stay at school… but in case anyone is found present in the school building after that time, said person would be suspended for a month. You guys shouldn’t stay long for a chat and go home quickly.”
There was a voice of surprise at the word suspension. To think they might be suspended for a month just by being present in the school building… I thought that punishment was too harsh, but nobody had any particular opinion.
Well, all we needed to do was to go home quickly. There was nobody in this class who would spend their time asking for the reason. As the students returned to their chat, they began to prepare to leave.
As instructed by the teacher, we quietly went home.
It was cold outside. Since we didn’t have any plans, I decided to relax in our room. There was also the matter of Arisu-chan’s heart, so there was no point in going out in the cold unless there was something to do.
“…It feels strange somehow.”
“I also think the same. I can’t help but think that something has happened without us knowing.”
It was an itchy feeling where we couldn’t grasp anything even as we reached out our hands. There was no doubt my father was at the center of it. Would it be better to go and ask him…? No, I had no courage to intrude in that atmosphere. In the first place, he sent us the message in that form precisely because he didn’t want that. Even though I was curious, it wasn’t something that I needed to ask to the point of trampling over my father’s intention.
Suddenly, my terminal rang. When I checked the content, it was a message from Kiyotaka.
It was just a sentence, but it was a message filled with his thoughts. Did I do something that was worth his thanks? As I thought about it… there was. It was something I talked about with Arisu-chan yesterday.
It was just support fire for Kiyotaka from me. If he succeeded, then the reason my father came to school would be…
“Perhaps his problem has been concluded.”
I recalled my father’s words. It was “I have already taken care of it,” which implied he already did something.
Perhaps Kiyotaka already reached the conclusion of his own battle. And seeing today’s movement, I realized my father has laid the groundwork. If I thought that way, it made sense.
What was going on outside of our daily lives? I felt like I understood a little.
“Haruto-kun, are you involved in Kiyotaka-kun’s action?”
“No, I didn’t do much. Quite a while ago… back at the deserted island exam, I just gave him some light advice.”
I just said what I thought to Kiyotaka, who said he was troubled because his father was chasing him. It might remain in his head, but it wasn’t that big to be called an involvement.
Since he wanted to seize his freedom, he should eliminate those who wanted to take it away. It was just that.
“A-aah… so that’s how it was.”
However, Arisu-chan looked extremely surprised and stared carefully at me.
“…I have to accept it.”
She embraced me, and then she asked for a kiss. It was just a light touch of the lips.
When I responded to her request, Arisu-chan smiled.
“I will stay your ally forever. No matter what side you have, no matter how deep the darkness you carry… I will accept everything and continue to love you. That’s why, please rest assured.”
“I see, thank you. I also love you.”
She gave me gentle words to calm me down. Even though I wasn’t particularly anxious, I was happy by her feelings. She seemed to be misunderstanding something… but oh well.
Icarus was finally released after destroying the labyrinth he was trapped in.
What was he thinking at that moment? Did he smile with joy, or did he maintain his usual expressionless face? I couldn’t help but regret that I wasn’t there to see it.
“I think things that will force Kiyotaka-kun to drop out won’t happen anymore in the future.”
“You’re right. I think so too.”
I wonder where Kiyotaka was and what he was doing now?
Those questions came to my mind, but that was his “freedom.” He was free to do anything he liked and nobody would stop him. That kind of obvious thing was something he couldn’t earn in that room.
That was why this wasn’t a goal, but a starting line for him. The high school student named Ayanokouji Kiyotaka began his high school debut eight months later than others. He should be able to enjoy his life more.
Thinking about the refreshing feeling he had upon welcoming the end of the year, I felt happy.
I was quite worried about the plot of the mixed training camp.
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