Chapter 2 – Caught Between Deepening Friendship and Mystery
“…It’s true. It looks like we’ve been swept pretty far away.”
Toujou Jin said as he sighed in a dark cave. —While he was fighting against Leohart, in order to save a teenage soldier, he carried him and fell into the palace’s moat. Since he could be prone to arrows or magic attacks if he surfaced, Jin decided to leave the scene quickly. He waved his fist in the water, opening a hole through a rock wall and drifted into a river — an underground cave below the river gave in; thus the strong current generated by the connection of the river moat and the cave swallowed Jin and the teenaged soldier together, and they were swept into the depths of the underground river in an instant.
“However, swimming down here may be to my benefit…”
Although he was swept quite a great distance away, Jin hadn’t yet lost his sense of direction. Looking at the area around the Demon Lord’s palace, it was only necessary to follow the flow of the water, and it should then be possible escape from the area around the south’s Dark Sea. So—
“—That’s possible right, Fio?”
Toujou Jin turned to the other side of the campfire to ask, and a voice which sounded reluctant replied
“It’s up to you…is there a need to ask me?”
It was the teenaged soldier who was rescued from the palace. To prevent getting a cold, Jin had taken off Fio’s lightweight armour and uniform, then lent him his coat. Seeing his reaction, Jin wryly smiled to himself. …His mood should have calmed down a little. After all, when Fio woke up, he took his sword out and came over to kill as soon as he saw Jin. This teenage soldier was able to become a member of the palace guard at a very young age, his skill really wasn’t too bad, but he was no match for Jin as an opponent; after experiencing the gap in their strength by crossing swords, he gave up on resisting. It was just that Jin’s actions to remove Fio’s wet armour and clothing were rough and hard — which made him react even more exaggeratedly than before, loudly cursing [Hentai]. After which, Fio maintained a high degree of vigilance, and when Jin asked his name or other questions, he reluctantly murmured, but his replies were honest answers. Jin asked Fio who was a member of the palace guard about some first-hand information that was limited only to people within the palace. Of course, an ordinary soldier like Fio wouldn’t know about any political information, and he wouldn’t say it even if he knew. However, he replied about the Palace’s environment and Fio himself as well as his colleagues had great respect for Leohart — he also made a few remarks without hesitation about the group in opposition ‘The Council’ who were unsatisfied about Leohart taking the seat of Demon Lord.
According to what Jin overheard from the conversations of other soldiers when he snuck into the Palace, recently the Demon’s were excavating the ruins of an ancient Demon God in the Western region. If they could find the sleeping spirits of war and awaken them for battle, the dispute with the Moderates Faction could soon come to an end. …That was somewhat bad. The situation was gradually getting worse. If this continued, even the truce between humans and the Demons could follow suit and collapse. Of course the solution would be, but— …Well, how can you make everything go smoothly? When Jin was thinking deeply about this—
“…Can you answer one question of mine? You’re Jin Toujou right? You went on a rampage in the Great War, and you’re the War God of the Hero Tribe right? So someone like you coming to kill His Majesty Leohart — means that the Hero Faction wants to start a war with us again right?”
This was a question filled with unease. The Great War ended sixteen years ago, peace and prosperity followed in the Demon Realm; but after the previous Demon Lord Wilbert passed away, the Demon Realm became divided into several forces, and they were killing each other. But there was no doubt that, under such circumstances, Fio would be convinced that after the current Demon Lord Faction and Moderates Faction end their dispute, peace would be restored to the Demon Realm; but Jin infiltrated the Palace and fought with Leohart, so it would make him feel as though the end of the war was nowhere in sight and he would be filled with feelings of anxiety. So —
“Don’t worry…I came to the Demon Realm completely of my own accord, sneaking into the Palace was just incidental, the other Heroes won’t be coming over to fight.”
“You said your fight with His Majesty was just incidental…so what did you come to the Demon Realm for?”
Toujou Jin smiled as he said to Fio whose eyes were wide open in astonishment
“Ah, that — I came here to look for someone important to me that I separated with.”
Unexpectedly, even Kurumi had also succumbed the next morning. Besides preparing breakfast, the people in the Toujou household began discussing a certain topic. It was because they suddenly became rather busy after coming home last night so they didn’t have the chance to talk about it, about when Basara had passed by at the station gates.
“Speaking of which, it’s really quite strange…”
While making breakfast in the kitchen, Maria tilted her head. She used one hand to crack the eggs into a large bowl, added milk and fresh cream, and then used chopsticks to whisk it together as she said
“The current Demon Lord Faction should have found out a while ago that we’ve had contact with the Moderates Faction. Lars-san said that he would keep your ability a secret Basara-san, as when he was in the human realm, he also reported to them about Zolgear’s attempt to capture Mio-sama; so the higher-ups should’ve warned those below them not to act rashly, and the people from the Demon Faction shouldn’t approach Mio-sama for now.”
“…So it seems.”
Basara who was beside Maria expressed his agreement as he was making a salad dressing, following her recipe, he combined several types of vinegar and olive oil together.
“Even if they aren’t united, I also don’t think that there’d be anyone stupid enough to attack you at this point. However, since Zolgear was an irregular presence, I certainly can’t guarantee that there won’t be another person who does something like that.”
“…Well, could the Moderates Faction be behind it?”
Contributing to the various possibilities was Mio who was placing cutlery onto the table.
“If they are, we won’t give Maria to them right? The Moderates Faction isn’t very cohesive, so it would be quite normal for some people to dislike us right?”
Mio’s tone of voice carried a sense of slight concern. She was like this even last night, it seemed like she noticed that the danger was not only to herself, but also to Basara as well.
“But, we defeated the Demon Faction’s high-class devil Zolgear, so the Moderates Faction would judge our strength very highly; furthermore, Mio-sama is also His Majesty Wilbert’s only child, and there shouldn’t be anyone who would come to cause trouble with Basara-san right now, as they don’t want to lose Mio-sama’s trust…”
After Maria had said that, Yuki opened the door and came into the living room.
“…How did it go?”
Yuki, who had went to get Kurumi, shook her head and said
“She’s wrapped in a blanket and doesn’t want to come out, she said that she doesn’t want to eat breakfast.”
“Oh, she shouldn’t do that. Breakfast is an energy source for the day. For a growing girl like Kurumi-san, breakfast is the most important meal of day.”
“Please…it’s still your fault alright, saying such things…”
Mio said as she sighed, her cheeks suddenly turned red. She seemed to be thinking about what she did when she herself turned into a dog, subconsciously holding her own body; Yuki’s face was also slightly flushed, and she looked at Basara with passionate eyes. Basara couldn’t help but make a small cough to clear his throat to say
“A-Anyway…no matter what the possibility might be, this attack is the result of someone acting on their own.”
“Yes. Also, their motive is rather confusing. As soon as Kurumi-san appeared, they immediately released the barrier and withdrew, so it could probably just be some kind of warning.”
“A warning huh…”
“—Maria, I have a question.”
After Basara reflected about it for a while, Yuki came to the kitchen and said
“I want you to tell me if you have ever heard that the Demon Faction is not only able to control normal people, but also able to allow them to use magic. Of the demons that I’ve fought in the past, there wasn’t a single one who was capable of doing this.”
“Hmm~ I also don’t have any ideas…”
Maria worriedly said
“High-class demons are able to turn humans into their own kin and give them demonic power, but that would be permanent…Whether or not if there is a workaround for it, I do not know.”
After Yuki replied softly, she mused about it silently, and seeing this, Basara —
“This incident, is it possible that [The Village] will make a move?”
“…I don’t think so. Looking at the way things are now, there’s a high chance that the Demon Faction will make a move, so it should continue like before until the Demon Faction intends to fight Mio, just observing.”
Yuki then said “but” before continuing
“For ordinary people with nothing to do with this to be manipulated, this is already a sufficient reason for [The Village] to intervene. This time Kurumi alone was sent to handle things, no one was injured, and also considering that it was only a warning, they will probably just order me and Kurumi to be more vigilant. But—”
“—If ordinary people are harmed, [The Village] will immediately take further action.”
[The Village] would take action for the purpose of assisting Yuki or Kurumi, so there naturally wouldn’t be any problems, and it would actually be a big help; but they previously regarded Mio as a target for elimination, so even if this time the person attacked was Basara, they might put the blame on Mio. No matter whether it was for Mio, Yuki or Kurumi, they still needed to prevent this from happening. It was also uncertain — whether the enemy was targeting this. In this way —
“As a precaution, it would be best if we didn’t go to school for a while…”
This enemy didn’t care about the involvement of innocent civilians, and in a place like a school where there were students and teachers, the surrounding area was likely to be affected. But—
“No…when we don’t know what the enemy’s motive is, I think it’s better if you continue to attend school normally Basara-san. If those behind the attack on you were Demons — it may also relate to the Moderates Faction, the current Demon Lord Faction or another faction.”
“They don’t want the Moderates Faction and the current Demon Lord Faction to continue expanding, whether the current Demon Lord Faction gains His Majesty Wilbert’s power, or the Moderates Faction take back Mio-sama, they’re trying to prevent that. In order to achieve that purpose, killing Mio-sama would be the quickest way. However, taking action directly would be the same as declaring war against the two largest factions in the Demon Realm—”
“So causing the casualties of ordinary people by my side, that won’t be solved by having the Hero Tribe with Mio right?”
Basara explained the speculation that Maria made, and Mio quietly whispered.
“Of course, that’s only one possibility. The one attacked was Basara-san, not Mio-sama; and when they also harmed ordinary people, that’s when it started. But—”
Maria spoke again
“We still don’t know what the other side’s objective is, so we should consider various possibilities, and take necessary action. If the enemy is really going after Mio-sama’s life, the most effective way would be to take action with the people most directly related to Mio-sama at school; if last night’s attack was an attempt to lure you, Basara-san, and you don’t go to school but instead stay inside the house because you’re worried about involving ordinary people, it will actually make it easier for the enemy to set traps. Moreover, if something did happen at school, you wouldn’t be able to take immediate action. So we might as well maintain our current state, and at the same time try to investigate the enemy’s objective.”
“…Understood. Until we know what our enemy’s purpose is, we’ll try our best to maintain our normal routine.”
Basara then followed that with a “but”. In order not to cause damage to their surroundings he forcefully said
“At school, we need to be more cautious than before, so we should definitely go home together when school ends — do you understand?”
There were no objections to that, and everyone nodded firmly.
In the end — whoever seemed to be following Basara became more alert and pulled back, thus there were no longer any attacks. Due to the addition of extra-curricular work for the sports festival as part of the organising committee, these three people were always extremely busy, and it was as if the attack at the station never happened. —However, Toujou Basara did not let his guard down. Because since that day, he felt that someone was always watching him.
Currently—…they’re watching me again.
During gym class, among the boys of the two classes who were lined up in the schoolyard, Toujou Basara felt that someone was secretly watching him again, and his body tensed up slightly. It wasn’t like what Yuki did previously, or what Takigawa did to Mio, nor what Zest did to Basara; surveillance which avoided the victim from detecting it. It was unknown where it was coming from, and as if deliberately wanting Basara to know, it purposely emphasised its own existence. Of course, Basara was also trying to follow that feeling in order to find the other person, but it didn’t leave many traces of itself behind, and its identity remained unknown. With nothing to do against being watched, the days went by — but, Basara didn’t achieve nothing.
—Firstly, it should be correct that the opponent’s objective was Basara. By feeling watched, Basara could only deduce that the opponent didn’t want Mio who had inherited Wilbert’s power like previously, nor was it too likely that it was the third faction of the Demon Realm attempting to take Mio’s life. And…secondly — it was highly likely that it was someone related to Hijirigasaka Academy. That was because whenever Basara was in the school, he would always get the feeling of being watched only when there were other people all around watching him, thus he couldn’t make a move.
In order to avoid endangering innocent people, Basara was on high alert against anyone who might sneak into the school, but it came from close by within his surroundings. Thus, they were a member of this school to begin with. But—…was such a thing really possible? Within the school, Yuki and Takigawa had snuck in to observe Mio, and they often monitored the surroundings, paying attention to whether there were any threats. Of course, like Takigawa who had come to the school first, he wasn’t detected by Yuki, as those who came first had the upper hand over those who came later which made it a considerable advantage to have a hidden identity. If the opponent’s skill was so extraordinary that even Takigawa who defeated the high-class demon Zolgear couldn’t tell — what was happening now was unimaginable. Considering that there were no other students who transferred in after Basara, it wasn’t someone who was already at the school before Basara and the others came, but rather they disguised themselves as someone already at the school afterwards. —It’s just that they put so much emphasis on their own presence, which would inevitably cause Basara to be more alert; this way, it didn’t seem like they were interested in taking Basara’s life or [Banishing Shift].
So — as Maria said, the attack at the station was just a warning, and this current surveillance was a continuation of the warning, which should be more appropriate. But no matter how it was considered, even if the opponent was stupidly emitting their presence and watching within the school, there had to be some other meaning besides a warning. Could it be that as a long as they had the intention, they could involve innocent people at any time — and this time, students and teachers?
Regardless of who it was, it was too low…while the PE teacher was marking the roll, Basara grinded his teeth. If this was only a provocation, that would be even more lowly. The opponent should know that the most effective way to provoke Basara would be to cause harm to innocent people. But — he definitely couldn’t let them do that. With the situation surrounding the Demons related to Mio and Maria, as well as looking at the Hero Tribe who had Yuki remain, followed by Kurumi; as soon as an irreparable situation occurred, he would be caught in a predicament. As Basara was clenching his fist, the presence watching him suddenly disappeared as if mocking him, allowing Basara to relax and sigh.
“Good, now work in pairs to do stretching exercises.”
After the PE teacher marked off the roll, he gave out instructions, and the students partnered up to begin their stretches, but only Toujou Basara stood there alone. It was such a depressing situation because his usual partner — Takigawa Yahiro had returned to the Demon Realm. It was already the later half of the second semester, so the students already had fixed partners for physical education. For Basara who transferred to this school after the break, he couldn’t simply partner with anyone just because his partner Takigawa was away. There was nothing that could be done — he could only have the teacher as his partner today. But just before that —
When Basara turned to look in the direction of the soft voice, he realised that an Angel was in front of him—no. Although he had a lovely slender figure, after wearing his sports uniform, he seemed as if he was a girl. But—
“……You’re Tachibana. Sorry.”
“Eh? …W-Why do you need to apologise?”
Basara went ‘Uh…’ as he scratched his face, and replied to the puzzled Tachibana who had approached
“Although we see each other every day in the organising committee, this is the first time I’ve seen you in your sports uniform — and I didn’t recognise you for a moment.”
“Ah, that’s no surprise. Umm, I…look good?”
Tachibana was embarrassed to raise his eyes, and Basara couldn’t help but gasp.
…Uh, what am I nervous about…? I’m not a pervert, but looking at him closely, Tachibana really has the feeling of a bishoujo. He seems shy, innocent and cute, which when combined makes him a perfect traditional Japanese girl.
“Ah, you’re really cute…no, you look really good, Tachibana.”
Oops, I accidentally said too much. In the end, Tachibana happily replied
“Hehehe…thank you. I-In fact, Toujou-san looks very handsome wearing that.”
Thanks, it’s rare to be praised like this by girls — but he’s not a girl.
“You’re saying…that you’re actually in class A?”
Class A was next to Basara’s class B, and those two classes did their PE lessons together.
Basara had never seen Tachibana before in physical education classes. Just because they were in the same PE class together, the majority of people wouldn’t remember the faces of all the male students in the class, but Basara was different. When he was young — while he was still in the Hero Tribe’s [Village], Basara had undergone strict training to develop the ability to never forget a face. So from the perspective of Basara, when Tachibana came to Basara during their work for the sports festival organising committee, it was the first time that the two of them had met, and they shouldn’t have had a PE class together yet. Seeing Basara’s puzzled frown —
“Ah, in fact…my body hasn’t been very good since I was young, and during the break, my condition became a bit worse, so I haven’t been to PE classes since school resumed. So—”
So, only now did he see Basara in class — Tachibana said with a lonesome smile. Basara looked at his slender body and white, near-transparent skin, and then replied
Basara now understood why the PE teacher never called Tachibana’s name even when marking the roll. Knowing that he couldn’t attend class, even if the teacher bothered to call his name, the students repeatedly informed the teacher that ‘Tachibana isn’t here’. The teacher didn’t force him to watch from the side, probably because it happened too many times, so he didn’t want him to become depressed because he was always just watching.
“Ah, maybe I’m already a lot better now? So when I asked the teacher, he allowed me to attend class with everyone else from now on, after all, the sports festival is rather soon now. Probably because I rarely attended class, there was no one around to help me with stretching exercises…but it looked like Toujou-kun also didn’t have a partner, so I came over to ask.”
“I want to do stretching exercises together with you…c-can I?”
“! ——Sure, my usual partner is away today, so this is great.”
Seeing Tachibana who looked up at him with a pair of moist eyes, Basara couldn’t help diverting his gaze as he blushed.
…W-What is this…?
Indeed, Basara had girls like Mio, Yuki, Maria and Kurumi by his side, but not the weak, shy type like Tachibana, which actually seemed quite refreshing now that it was brought up. No matter how he looked at him, he still seemed like a girl, but in reality he was a male just like Basara, and he didn’t have that kind of interest anyway — so he hoped that this inexplicable increased heart rate was just a result of the bright autumn sun. But it was currently cloudy.
“Alright, let’s start doing some exercises — I’ll help you first.”
If this continued, things could head into a bad direction, so Basara starting the stretching exercises as soon as possible; he pressed against Tachibana’s back as he was sitting on the ground to help him bend forwards.
Uh…it feels so soft. It isn’t just soft, it’s the sensation of Tachibana’s body.
“Umm…Toujou-kun, perhaps you could use a bit more force?”
“R-Really? Well, is this enough?”
The physical difference between Tachibana and Takigawa was quite large, and for a moment, Basara didn’t know how much force to use.
—Besides, that felt too soft, where did the muscles go? Tachibana, you need to eat more meat, you can’t be a picky eater.
Stretching exercises had to be done, so every time Basara used a bit more force on the shoulders, Tachibana breathed heavily with ‘Nnn! Nnn!’ noises continuously. Of course, he should be concentrating when doing stretching exercises—
The sounds which were made were not as they seemed, and the atmosphere became more and more awkward. After spreading out his legs and stretching from side to side a few times, Tachibana had pretty much finished stretching, so—
“Okay, now it’s my turn to help you, Toujou-kun.”
Tachibana moved behind Basara, and pressed down against his back.
“Wow…Toujou-kun, do you participate in any sports clubs?”
“No, I don’t participate in any clubs.”
“But your body is quite strong…it’s not visible with your normal uniform though.”
Tachibana’s discovery caused Basara to nod ‘Uh…’ and then say
“I trained for a while in the past, and I’ve been training again recently.”
Basara didn’t have any more to say, he just skipped over the parts that he couldn’t say.
“So that’s how it was…right, I never got the chance to ask you, why did you want to be in the organising committee for the sports festival? From what Sakazaki-sensei said, you volunteered for it.”
“Are there really very few people who would volunteer?”
“There aren’t none, it’s just very few people…based on what the senpais said, the classes each year could only produce one male and one female, which is the minimum requirement by the school. Compared to the cultural festival, doesn’t it feel like the members of the sports festival organising committee have to do more work? So as long as there are enough people, the other people don’t particularly want to participate.”
“It just seems like there’s a bit of an exception this year…”
“—I’m sorry, to give you so much trouble.”
Seeing Basara in front who had bowed with an apology, Tachibana quickly pushed him back up.
“I-It’s not the fault of Toujou-kun’s and the others, it’s just that there’s no helping it…”
“Naruse-san and Nonaka-san are really popular…ah, you wouldn’t have come because of them as well right?”
“—Well, that could be. Originally, no one in my class B wanted to do it, so the three of us decided to do it.”
“I see…because the three of you live together. So you did it for the sake of the entire class?”
In response to Tachibana, Basara replied
“No, I don’t really have that kind of sentiment.”
“In fact…I’m ashamed to say it, but I stirred up some things on the first day that I transferred over to this school—”
“Ah…I know about that. That is, you were hugging Nonaka-san while you loudly declared that you were living with Naruse-san?”
“Hold on — I never did such a bad thing.”
Did it turn into this after the rumours spread to the other classes? No wonder people come to take a look during and after class.
“There was actually this kind of misunderstanding…so when I wanted to do something for the class, I was hoping to restore my reputation. And after I joined the organising committee, I would also be able to get to know the students from other classes.”
Since I don’t have any friends in my class other than Takigawa, it would also be important to look outside the class.
“Because of that, I’m currently able to talk to you like this…it seems like that was a good decision.”
“It’s not just you who feels that way, Toujou-kun. In fact…to be able to be your friend, I’m also very happy.”
“…Indeed. Tachibana, thank you.”
But can you not blush? It’ll make people nervous.
…However, it wasn’t just for this reason. Basara didn’t lie, he really did want to take this opportunity to make a few more friends, but that was only one of the reasons that he wanted to join the sports festival organising committee. He also wanted to fully enjoy the fun of the sports festival. In reality, for Basara whose strength exceeded that of a normal person’s, he couldn’t find any enjoyment in the sports festival’s events which relied on reaction time and physical ability. He always had to pretend to be an ordinary person and thus could never be serious, so as not to cause any trouble. So if Basara wanted to get a greater sense of participation in the sports festival, the only way was for him to become one of the behind the scenes staff. As a result, he didn’t have worry about his physical ability which had been honed by fighting since he was young, he would just be an ordinary member of the class with the identity of an ordinary high school student attending a sports festival. So after discussing this with Mio and Yuki, they decided that the three of them would join the organising committee given that the circumstances were permitting. Also…for ‘a certain reason’, Basara also wanted to join the organising committee.
It’s probably just a bit for my personal satisfaction, and I didn’t mention it to Mio or Yuki.
Not knowing why Basara suddenly became silent, Tachibana asked.
“Ah, sorry…anyway, that’s why I volunteered. It shouldn’t be a big deal.”
There was nothing surprising nor special about it, and Basara then said
“On the other hand, it’s actually surprising to me that you joined the student council. Although it’s the general affairs department, it’s really like a student council member, always having to do this and that, doing things as a leader.”
Considering Tachibana’s personality, he didn’t seem like he would voluntarily do such things; even if he was invited to join, people like him would most likely decline.
“…Toujou-kun, do you find it strange that the student council has someone like me?”
“Uh, it’s not really that strange…”
Hearing Tachibana’s tone drop a little, it caused Basara become anxious as he wondered whether he may have said the wrong thing.
“It’s okay, I myself also find it quite strange.”
Tachibana smiled as he said
“I said before…my body is quite weak, and I often had to take days off; and even if I came to school, I would often spend most of the day on a bed in the school infirmary. There was no way for me to attend class, and of course I wasn’t able to participate in extracurricular activities either. One day, Hasegawa-sensei gave me a suggestion…”
The name which suddenly came up surprised Basara.
“Mmm, she said ‘people like me should be in the student council’. It was different from normal extracurricular activities, and the other members would help me; even if I was only able to do a few chores, it was very useful work; so as long as I helped out a bit as one of the student council members, the school would be able to provide me with an active student life…sensei helped me talk with the student council, and in the end, the third year organising committee senpai and second year Kajiura-senpai really agreed to me join the student council.”
“Although I was rather depressed…everyone agreed, so I gathered up the courage to give it a try.”
If joining the Student Council was Tachibana’s own decision, it would have been quite surprising, but it was more reasonable given that Hasegawa was involved. Not only treating wounds or colds, she sincerely listened to the students’ concerns, and guided them towards a solution — this was the true skill of Chisato Hasegawa. She wanted to open up another world for Tachibana outside the infirmary, but because what happened after dinner at her house was too stimulating, Basara was too embarrassed to enter the infirmary again, and he didn’t thank her for the meal. But since the theme of the sports festival was exercise, he would inevitably require the assistance of the school nurse. When he needed to speak to her or ask for her assistance as a member of the organising committee in the coming days, he intended to go together with Tachibana, and thank her for her past advice while he was there. Since it was rather odd for him to be invited to her home, he wanted to thank her while he was accompanied by someone else.
—But he didn’t imagine that this opportunity would come so soon. For the upcoming sports festival, the focus of that day’s PE lesson was practice for relay races and baton passing. After class, Basara and Tachibana returned to the school building one after the other, following the other students, and changed their shoes at the student entrance. At that time —
Looking around after hearing Tachibana’s voice, he noticed that Hasegawa had just walked out of the cafeteria which was next to the student entrance; she had also noticed them, so she walked towards them.
Basara swallowed his breath, and his face reddened. He had clearly been looking for an opportunity to thank her, but in the end, just seeing her face to face made it impossible. The promiscuous image of Hasegawa’s naked body was still vividly embedded in Basara’s mind. Hasegawa glanced at Basara who was blushing as he looked down, and then asked Tachibana
“It looks like there’s no problems…you haven’t been to PE classes for a long time. How do you feel, Tachibana?”
“Ah, yes…thank you for your care sensei, this PE class went quite well. So, umm…”
After Tachibana nodded in response, he peeked at Hasegawa’s face; Hasegawa gently laughed and said
“Were you talking about swimming classes? Looking at your appearance, you should be fine. I should also get ready.”
To Basara, these words caused him to recall certain memories as he asked Tachibana
“So your body condition isn’t very good, which is why you’re the student that sensei needs to supervise during swimming classes?”
“Hmm, that’s me… —but that’s strange, how did you know about it Toujou-kun?”
In that moment, Basara could only vaguely answer ‘Uhh, umm…’ He simply couldn’t speak about the incident where he forcibly removed Hasegawa’s swimsuit in the infirmary. While Basara was troubled over how to answer Tachibana’s question —
“Don’t worry about it — Toujou, I have something to say to you.”
“Eh…s-something to say to me?”
In response to Basara’s sudden reply, Hasegawa said ‘Yes’ as she nodded her head
“I’ve been waiting for you to come — you haven’t come over to the infirmary since that day, why is that?”
“! —No, I…!”
Hasegawa’s slightly resentful tone of questioning caused Basara to sweat anxiously. Not just Tachibana was around him, a bunch of his classmates were also nearby. But Hasegawa seemed not to care, and said
“Also…whenever we encountered each other in the corridor, you seemed to be avoiding me. Have you thought about how I feel when you use that attitude towards me?”
No matter what, this kind of responsibility problem was entirely the conversation between a man and a woman. So—
“S-Sorry, Tachibana, wait for me. Sensei, come over here!”
Basara’s entire face was red, and after saying that to Tachibana who was looking on curiously at him and Hasegawa, he pulled Hasegawa’s arm along as he walked all the way to the other end of the corridor, turned a corner to a place that was devoid of people and then said
“T-There are a lot of people over there, what are you trying to do, sensei?”
“…I just wanted to ask you.”
Hasegawa discontentedly replied, before approaching Basara and hugging him. Their bodies pressed against each other, causing her large breasts to be squeezed into a lewd shape, and her legs entwined around him.
“T-This isn’t good here…!”
“You’re just naughty. After selfishly doing that to my body, you pretended as if nothing happened…it’s the same as regretting what we did together that night.”
“N-No, it’s not regret…it’s just that I didn’t know what to do…”
Eventually Hasegawa replied ‘what to do…’ She smiled as her face moved so close that her breath could be felt —
“Didn’t I say before — you know, having the love of an older woman is something you should be very happy about.”
She then took Basara’s left hand and placed it on top of her large breasts, and pressed her lips onto Basara’s mouth. With the soft feeling spreading through his mouth and hand, as well as the sweet fragrance which enveloped him, his resistance was instantly taken away. Hasegawa passionately kissed for some time, until she was finally willing to let go of Basara’s lips, and then said
“Kissing like this was what you taught me.”
After she said that, Hasegawa held Basara’s head with both hands — and continued kissing. Despite knowing that they shouldn’t, Hasegawa’s kiss was intoxicatingly sweet; after realising that, their tongues were already intertwined together.
“Chu…mmm, fu, chu…mmm……!”
The sound of two people passionately kissing had started in a corridor of the school. Then—
[Hasegawa-sensei, please immediately head to the faculty room. Hasegawa-sensei, please immediately head—]
“……That call is really at a bad time.”
The school-wide broadcast caused both of them to separate their lips, after which Hasegawa said
“Toujou — you know what to do now, right?”
“! …I know, completely.”
Damn it, there really is no way to deal with this person.
After Hasegawa lightly kissed Basara’s bright red cheek, she walked towards the faculty room with a satisfied smile.
—Afterwards, Basara and Tachibana returned to the boys’ locker room, which was already empty. PE class was in fourth period, so everyone had already changed quickly and headed off to lunch. However, Hasegawa’s surprising outburst created a rather awkward silence between the two people as they changed. Basara turned his head to glance over at Tachibana who was changing with his back turned to him. His pale skin and the curves of his hips under that tight, low fitting underwear was really quite feminine —
…Damn, it’s because of Hasegawa-sensei.
Doing such a thing in that place, it caused his heart to race even now, and even his thoughts seemed to have been infected. Basara felt that it would be dangerous so he quickly turned back around to continue changing, but Tachibana was unable to bear the silence any longer —
“W-What is it, Tachibana…—?”
Basara asked after preparing his resolve, before turning around to find Tachibana in front of him.
“I-I’m sorry…to say such a thing, I’m also really embarassed…”
“…What is it?”
The combination of his unbuttoned shirt and tight fitting underwear really didn’t make him seem like a boy. Then, with moist eyes like a puppy, Tachibana said
“…Y-Your face has lipstick marks…?”
Basara hastily covered his own mouth, which made Tachibana blush even more.
“! —Not that side…that, I mean your cheek…”
Ah, I’m digging my own grave…I’m dead. I look so embarrassed.
At that time —
“D-Don’t worry…I’m actually very good at keeping secrets. Really, Toujou-kun…!”
Tachibana quickly showed his sincerity, comforting the dejected Basara who seemed as though he had stepped on a landmine.
“Umm…this thing, it’s better if Naruse-san and Nonaka-san don’t know about it, right?”
“………You can really help me keep this secret?”
Many things in various different aspects would otherwise become quite dangerous — the actual situation really couldn’t be spoken about. Just as Basara dropped his shoulders in disappointment, a soft piece of cloth had suddenly been pressed onto his cheek. At some point, Tachibana had taken out his handkerchief and was gently wiping Basara’s cheek.
“Don’t move…I’ll help you clean it off.”
“! …S-Sorry for the trouble.”
Before his eyes was Tachibana’s chest and dangerous underwear, which caused Basara to avert his eyes when he replied. Not long afterwards —
“…Hmm, its clean now, it looks fine.”
“I’m saved…thank you, Tachibana.”
Tachibana took a step back after wiping it off, after which Basara thanked him.
“D-Don’t worry about it, this is nothing…we’re friends, right?”
This is the worst way to reaffirm friendship: while lipstick is being wiped off.
Seeing that Basara was becoming more gloomy, Tachibana raised both of his fists with his elbows bent and said
“…T-Toujou-kun, don’t mind !”
With a wide smile on his reddened face, Basara was given encouragement. With a radiant smile on his face, Tachibana seemed like the incarnation of an angel, which almost caused Basara to become his follower. So —
“Tachibana — I will definitely work hard to fulfil my role as a member of the organising committee, so that we can have a successful sports festival.”
After Basara said that as he wanted to help his friend Tachibana, Tachibana blinked in surprise, then replied
“Mmm…I will also work hard. Toujou-kun and a lot of the other organising committee members have been working hard to help me, so won’t we be able to have a sports festival where we can proudly think ‘it was good to be part of the preparations’?”
A natural smile finally returned to my face.
“Although I’m not as good as Kajiura-senpai at handling a lot of work, and I’m just a half-baked general affairs member, but—”
Tachibana’s gentle eyes were filled with determination as he said
“As a member of the Student Council and organising committee for the sports festival — I will definitely do my best.”
 This is spoken in English.
I’ve described a few situations and Tachibana’s underwear as ‘dangerous’. This might not be the best word to describe it, although that’s roughly the word that was originally used. You get the point though… Let me know if you have anything better.
The concerns that there were ‘too many people’, and ‘abnormal participation by the third years’, had become like a bomb. The sports festival organising committee began operating with these two risk factors; fortunately, the preparations had gone smoothly, so there wasn’t any major confusion. The majority of this was all thanks to the leadership of student council vice-president, and organising committee president Kajiura Rikka. She tightly controlled significantly more people than the previous years. Supervising and coordinating each of the departments, she had turned the large organising committee into an organisation that was manageable. As for the third year students who were difficult to handle, also according to the original plan, with Mio and Yuki as the leaders of their respective departments, those people like Donoe and Hozumi were split into two departments, assigned to helping the student council; the plan seemed to be effective, and it had somehow succeeded in controlling them.
Basara also assisted the student council members like Kajiura and Tachibana from the sidelines, and was responsible for negotiating with each department, consulting with faculty staff, clubs, confirming that messages were conveyed; he was always busy after school as the days went by.
“—Well I’m going now, thanks you all for your help.”
After school on a certain day, Basara returned to the corridor after delivering some documents to the news club and happened to meet one of his male classmates, Shimada Taichi of the broadcasting club.
“Hmm, did you come for the news club Toujou?”
“Yeah, it was related to the sports festival organising committee…what about you?”
“The senpai in the club asked me to borrow some publications from the news club. As you know, we of the broadcasting club are responsible for the commentary on the day of the sports festival, right? In order to liven the up the atmosphere of the competition, we need to borrow some things from the news club’s previous reports to use.”
During his job as a member of the sports festival organising committee, Basara often had the opportunity to discuss the use and management of equipment with the broadcasting club. As the opportunities for him to meet Shimada outside the classroom increased, the two of them became more familiar with each other. As with Tachibana, he was one of the people who he became closer with since he joined the organising committee.
“After all, for the broadcasting club, events like the sports festival are even more important than the cultural festival. For a literary/arts club like ours, this is a very valuable practical experience, but we have very few members…just assigning which members will broadcast what is really nerve-wracking, even us first years have to broadcast a few things, so it really feels like total war.”
Well, this kind of thing also makes people motivated
…Shimada said with a wry smile
“It doesn’t seem like you’re worried about being short on people. This year seems to have an unexpectedly high number of people, so it should proceed smoothly right?”
“……I guess so.”
Due to the increase in the number of people in the organising committee, along with Kajiura’s serious and conscientious personality as the president, the preparations for this year’s sports festival were particularly thorough. Minor unnecessary things were removed, everyone’s workload was reduced, and majority of the students who volunteered for the organising committee had given mostly positive feedback. However, where there was light, there would also be shadows, some people felt that Kajiura’s streamlined method was boring — that was Donoe of the Mio faction.
Like Hozumi, the male students who came to assist Yuki were placed into the accounting department and there were only a few who were unsatisfied; but those guys from Donoe’s group wanted to have fun with Mio on the ‘stage of the organising committee’. Among those people who thought that they could do whatever they wanted, the majority of them thought that the general auxiliary department was too boring, and Kajiura’s strict supervision was even more of a reason for them to complain. Although Kajiura knew about the dissatisfaction of Donoe’s group, she didn’t agree to the unreasonable requests such as ‘let the people from different years also join Mio’s faction’, or ‘the establishment of competitions which are open regardless of year or gender’, which would turn the sports festival into a mess.
“It’s best if there’s no trouble…”
Basara murmured after separating from Shimada and walking down the corridor. That group worked diligently in front of Mio, but were clearly full of resentment behind her back. The flame that was always beside the bomb in the sports festival organising committee was constantly burning.
As the days went by, the operations of the organising committee gradually became more chaotic. The cause was the inter-class girls cheerleading completion — in order to rehearse their routines, Mio and Yuki often couldn’t attend the organising committee on time, and the days that they had to take off gradually increased. Thus, the people in the Mio faction and Yuki faction of the committee began to skip work. Yuki’s faction was fine. Although they would leave when they knew that Yuki wasn’t coming, they were still people who were willing to do things, and at the least, they would finish their assigned jobs according to the schedule.
—The problem stemmed from Donoe’s group who were in the general auxiliary department. They often hung out together, and would simply gather in the audio-visual room and become rowdy, not doing any of their work. If it was only up to this level, then things were still fine. Although there began to be delays in work, Kajiura was able to reorganise people from other departments to help out, and then transition Basara or Tachibana to assist the student council. The jobs and schedule would then be changed, so that the troublesome jobs could be completed successfully.
However, on a certain day one week before the sports festival.
“—What the hell is this!”
After school, the roar of Kajiura Rikka’s voice echoed within the AV classroom which had become the headquarters of the sports festival organising committee. She slammed a piece of paper onto the desk, as she angrily glared at the leader of the Mio faction, Donoe. In fact, today the people of the Mio faction were being noisy and fooling around because Mio was absent, but now the attention of the entire classroom was focused over here.
said Tachibana worriedly as he followed behind her. Because Sakazaki, who was responsible for supervision was absent from the classroom due to staff meetings, he was afraid that there would be a conflict between Kajiura and the third year Donoe in the classroom.
“Ah? Why are you yelling for no good reason, Vice-President?”
Donoe asked after he looked up from his phone’s LCD as he was playing games with his friends on their phones.
“I’m asking you what this debit invoice is!”
What Kajiura had brought over was a purchase debit invoice that didn’t exist in the records of the accounting department. It had suddenly appeared in the mail today.
“I just called on the phone to ask, it was your purchase, Donoe-senpai.”
That debit invoice was from a fireworks shop — every year, the school used a well-known supplier of fireworks. In order to purchase materials for the sports festival, the person first needed to consult with the accounting department beforehand, and then after getting a receipt for the purchase, they would present the receipt to finish the procedure. If it wasn’t urgent, not even one Yen couldn’t be spent without permission. Thus, since Donoe didn’t get permission from the accounting department, it was already a major violation, and —
“Two hundred thousand… using that much money to buy fireworks, what were you thinking!”
Kajiura’s voice was trembling with anger, yet Donoe still lazily smiled as he said
“I was surprised, I didn’t expect that fireworks were that expensive. But we fire off several fireworks at the evening party after the sports festival every year anyway, so buying a little more for us doesn’t matter, right?”
“Stop saying such stupid things! The fireworks at the evening party have always been the responsibility of a factory which has a long relationship with our school; they sell us their remaining stock from the summer fireworks season at a lower price!”
“Ah? I didn’t know about that thing…since it’s so important, why didn’t you say so earlier?”
“! …In short, please take this invoice and cancel everything immediately!”
“It can’t be cancelled. That shop’s jisan said that it can’t be cancelled.”
“W-Why can’t it be cancelled?”
“Because their shaped fireworks are completely custom-made per order. He said that the kanji for [Mio (漆)] was too complicated, so it needed to be changed to [MIO]; it looks like that famous old shop had nothing that they couldn’t do. They had time to say that they were some pure fireworks masters, so how couldn’t I help myself from trying to make some progress?”
Seeing Donoe in front of her, smiling with contempt, Kajiura’s anger flared up again, and she shouted
“Don’t fuck around! Since you can’t cancel it, you, senpai, will be responsible for paying for it!” “Huh? What kind of reasoning is that…I didn’t understand it at all?”
Donoe stood up, and unrelentingly stared into Kajiura’s eyes as she shrinked back while he said
“Right now, shouldn’t the organising committee president be responsible? I bought it with the good intention of making the sports festival more fun, and yet you’re evading responsibility already? In order to help you prepare this super boring sports festival that you wanted, we’ve stayed back every day for a significant amount of time, put up with your little tantrums, and helped you do your work, ok? Also, this the last sports festival for us third years, so if the result isn’t ok, then it isn’t ok; whatever I say, you disagree to…aren’t you second years too authoritative? Just because you’re a part of the student council, it doesn’t mean all these school activities are for yourselves.”
Donoe’s words, which Kajiura couldn’t understand momentarily, left her stunned speechless. …For ourselves…? As the vice-president, and president of the organising committee, she had to make sure that it was a successful sports festival — Kajiura thought that she was always dedicated and hardworking with this kind of passion, but Donoe’s words completely denied her efforts and passion. Kajiura really wanted to retort, but was unable to speak. It was because she was afraid that it wouldn’t be words which left her mouth, but whimpers. But at that time —
“—Excuse me senpai, can you take back what you just said?”
It was a quiet voice, spoken towards Donoe in Kajiura’s place — the owner of the voice, was already standing in front of Donoe.
Toujou Basara regretted his own judgement. Kajiura had hoped that aside from when he would interact with Mio or Yuki, he would avoid having to get close to Donoe or Hozumi, so as to avoid unnecessary problems. As for this matter, the organising committee president who was responsible for the sports festival should have stepped forward to restrain them, but Kajiura herself had spent a lot of effort just to deal with the third year Donoe, so Basara had held himself back as he observed the situation.
…But I was wrong. I should have known that this would happen; when we were behind the school building before, I should’ve taught them a lesson. If I could’ve stopped them from giving Mio bad ideas back then, Donoe wouldn’t have joined the organising committee, and Kajiura wouldn’t have had to suffer from these hateful insults.
Moreover…Donoe’s stupidity made it difficult not to doubt his mental state. If he really was being manipulated, it could be related to the attack from the other day. The enemy had the ability to manipulate the consciousness of others, and there was also a possibility that they were someone related to Hijirigasaka Academy. Although they only used surveillance to signify their presence since that day, there was no guarantee that they weren’t using Donoe as a trap or to stir up trouble. —Of course, the enemy could also be Donoe. Hasegawa had mentioned before; human jealousy — especially men, could be complicated enough to cause problems. Their favourite Mio was living together with Basara, which was already enough to turn their jealousy into hatred, and they wanted to cause harm to Basara. In any case, in his mind, there was undoubtedly a malice which couldn’t be ignored. So —
“Hey…what kind of nonsense are you saying out of nowhere?”
Basara faced Donoe’s fierce, intimidating glare and said
“Didn’t you hear it properly? — I told you take back what you just said to Kajiura-senpai.”
This caused both Kajiura and Tachibana to gasp, as the atmosphere within the AV classroom suddenly tensed up. While the followers of the Mio faction were all stunned in silence, the sound of laughter erupted within the classroom — it was from Donoe.
“Ha! Haha! Hahahahahaha! Ah, so that’s what it was—”
Donoe suddenly swung his right fist out across the desk. He seemed to have some fighting experience, and planned to strike first, as he aimed a surprise attack at Basara’s face. But—
Basara caught his fist with his left hand, and Donoe’s expression was frozen in surprise. Basara then narrowed his eyes, as he silently gripped Donoe’s fist.
“Uh! Aaahhh! Y-You guys…!”
Donoe’s face suddenly went pale as he groaned in pain, but Basara didn’t loosen his grip, then —
“This damn guy…!” “Very well, Toujou!”
Two people from the Mio faction came at him from the left and right. Basara relaxed his upper body, then evaded the punch coming from his right and swept his foot out — that person instantly tripped past Basara as he flipped around in the air.
Then his heel slammed into the shoulder of the person on his left, and the two of them fell onto the ground together. A crowd gathered from all over the place to find out what had happened, and in the process of all this, Toujou Basara’s ice cold eyes didn’t leave Donoe for even a moment. Finally, he said in a low, but clear voice
“—Take it back.”
Although his face had reddened from his fist which was being clenched, Donoe still didn’t back down. Suddenly, Sakazaki, who seemed to have finished his meeting, opened the door and walked into the AV classroom.
“Hm — what are you guys doing?”
After saying that, Basara slowly released his hand, with his eyes still fixed on Donoe.
Donoe then withdrew his right hand as he glared furiously at Basara, but he didn’t dare to cause trouble in front of Sakazaki, and very quickly led the group of people from the Mio faction out of the AV classroom. Watching them, Sakazaki sighed helplessly, and then reverted to his cheerful smile to say
“All right, quickly get back to work. The sports festival is only in one week, so there’s no time to play!”
This caused the people who were watching on the sidelines to disperse and return to doing their own thing. Sakazaki should have known about what happened, so he turned around —
“Ah…Toujou, could you come over with me?”
With a wry smile, he called Basara.
After exiting the AV classroom, Basara followed Sakazaki up to the rooftop.
“Autumn really has arrived…”
Sakazaki said while his back was against the railing as he turned his head to look out at the distant scenery. In the park next to the school, the maple leaves bathed in the soft light of the setting sun appeared a brighter shade of red. Gazing downwards, the various sports clubs could be seen exercising in each corner of the school, working up a sweat.
—Before leaving the AV classroom, Basara apologised to Kajiura in the stiff atmosphere of the room. Her reply was “Nevermind…” However, Donoe’s words would have been no small blow to her; her expression was miserable, and tears could be seen from the corners of her eyes. Seeing Basara with his head lowered in silence since he came to the rooftop, Sakazaki said with a wry smile
“I didn’t call you over to yell at you. I just saw that you weren’t calm like you usually are, so I wanted to ask why. Did you want to use the opportunity of an argument with Donoe — to sacrifice yourself, and also expel them from the organising committee?”
Basara didn’t have a reply; he remained silent, which caused Sakazaki to sigh.
“Last time when you were surrounded by Donoe and Hozumi in the schoolyard, you remained calm, why did you get fired up this time?”
“I’m sorry…I knew that senpai disliked me, but—”
Basara looked down as he said
“This time, it wasn’t directed against me, but towards other people and the work of the organising committee…although it just looks like another insult at Kajiura-senpai, I couldn’t stand it.”
“Even if that was the case, letting it out like that isn’t the way.”
“It’s because I think that Donoe-senpai and the others won’t understand so easily…”
That’s right, Hasegawa had told me before.
Basara recalled it as he said
“Everything has a limit…there is a line that cannot be crossed. The sports festival is almost here, if they’re allowed to do as they like at such an important time, everyone will just be dragged down by them. Does sensei want me to silently allow them to cause havoc?”
Hearing that, Sakazaki couldn’t help shaking his head and saying
“I’m not saying that, but a confrontation may not necessarily resolve the situation. You stepped forward to help Kajiura, you have a heart which cares for others, and that really should be encouraged, I can’t say that it’s wrong — but under these circumstances, I can’t say what the most correct approach is.”
“If you really fought, a lot of people would have been suspended, including you; if someone was seriously injured, the sports festival may have even been postponed.”
Even if he said that he calculated things very carefully, and things like that wouldn’t happen, he wouldn’t believe it. So—
“…Then what should I have done?”
Sakazaki replied to Basara’s question with a calm expression
“Let them participate, that’s my decision as a teacher. School doesn’t just focus on an individual’s education, it also needs to teach students the importance of community activities; so the matter with Donoe’s custom-made fireworks this time, it’s something that we teachers didn’t supervise well, so neither you nor Kajiura are responsible, and you shouldn’t blame yourselves for it. Using your own ability to resolve problems aren’t a bad thing, but things which are inconvenient for a student to do should be handled by a teacher…teachers exist for the sake of helping students.”
Sakazaki’s words caused Basara to become silent again. Indeed, he may have lost the composure that he should have had at that time. The attack at the station the other day — the target may have been Basara, and it showed that the people near Basara were at risk of getting caught up in it at any time. Also—
…I still haven’t found out who the culprit is.
Under these circumstances, even if the other party really was taking advantage of the fact that Basara was at school or planned take action when the nearby residents would be around for the sports festival, the magnitude of the casualties that would be caused was unknown.
When Basara thought of the worst possible scenario and felt a moment of extreme anxiety —
“—There’s one thing I’ve always been quite concerned about. Toujou, have you been affected by [her]?”
He suddenly heard Sakazaki’s low voice.
“Her…who do you mean, sensei?”
As his thoughts returned to Basara who had replied in front of him, Sakazaki sighed, and quietly said
“You often go to the infirmary. Toujou…be careful of that woman, Hasegawa Chisato.”
“Eh…be careful of Hasegawa-sensei? What do you mean…?”
The unexpected name aroused Basara’s doubts.
“With the position of the infirmary sensei, it often gives her the opportunity to answer the students’ concerns. She has a calm atmosphere, and is also beautiful; there are a lot of people that have been affected by her words…have you ever talked to her about your problems, sought her advice, or anything like that?”
“Hm, I have…”
Seeing Basara nod, Sakazaki sighed as he said
“Her advice has a very strong influence…it’s already more than helping people solve problems or counselling, it’s strong to a point that it’s almost like hypnosis or brainwashing.”
“That’s too exaggerated…”
Sakazaki immediately replied to Basara who didn’t believe so.
“No, it’s really not an exaggeration. Of the students who have gone to her for advice, some of them have completely changed their personalities, and some of their parents have even asked the school what happened.”
“That…after having their troubles resolved, they became more confident and cheerful; there’s nothing strange about that is there?”
Basara refuted Sakazaki’s words with a slightly dissatisfied tone. —Till now, there were already several occasions where Basara had listened to Hasegawa’s advice and felt more at ease as a result. Thanks to her advice, he was able to protect Mio and Yuki, and in several difficult fights, she was the reason why Basara was able to survive. So speaking ill of Hasegawa really made people feel unpleasant, but…
“If it was a positive change, then parents wouldn’t be so worried that they’d call the school up, right? The students which have made their parents worry all have a few things in common; such as being extremely over-confident, justifying their own actions, trying to do everything on their own, and completely ignoring the words of their family—”
“—Ignoring everyone around them, and showing an abnormal obsession for some people.”
“Obsession…that still doesn’t mean…”
“Correct…this is something that happened before you transferred here. Donoe and Hozumi have both approached Hasegawa-sensei and asked her for advice. They call Naruse or Nonaka [Princess], and have made an idol group fan club in recent years, which only happened after that.”
“There was such a thing…”
Basara couldn’t help saying that as he was shocked.
“Let me ask you…the previous times that you’ve spoken to her, has anything backfired or been unacceptable? If my guess is correct, I’m afraid there’s none, right?”
Basara answered Sakazaki’s question with silence. The answer was certain. Indeed, for all of Hasegawa’s advice so far, Basara never refused it, and tried it out. Sakazaki then said with a serious tone
“So far, you’ve naturally done as she’s said…which is very strange. No matter how popular a teacher is, they’ll still have experience in dealing with students’ problems, this is a teacher’s fate. After all, our school has so many students, so there’ll definitely be some personality conflicts, and it’s impossible to satisfy everyone.”
“But only Haswgawa-sensei doesn’t have any negative complaints or gossip. Of course, there are actually some people who are loved by everyone, but her beauty is incredible, and her body is good as well…someone as striking as her will surely attract a group of fanatical admirers, and at the same time will also generate a lot of criticism by others, right?”
A god with absolute authority; although each religion worshipped differently, it was impossible for someone to obtain everyone’s favour.
“She’s a little older than you, so she should be quite attractive in your eyes. Attraction in that regard can very easily lead to problems between students and teachers, but Hasegawa-sensei hasn’t had any of these problems. Everyone thinks that she’s a peerless beauty, and also a kind woman who’s willing to help students with their problems; but it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone who has any strong feelings against her.”
Sakazaki adjusted his voice, a continued
“Toujou, the biggest problem is…no one feels that there’s anything strange; it’s almost as if she’s using some kind of magic to prevent anything disadvantageous from happening to herself.”
Basara couldn’t help but gasp. Not allowing anything disadvantageous to happen to Hasegawa — if that was true, he needed to avoid letting the incident where the two of them crossed the boundary between student and teacher at her house from being exposed, as that would prevent her from teaching; Basara would be the problem that she would eliminate first. Also — it was after leaving Hasegawa’s house that day that Basara was attacked.
Seeing Basara’s face turn pale, Sakazaki scratched his cheek with a wry smile as he said
“Ah, sorry…I didn’t mean to scare you. I carelessly took it too far.”
“……It doesn’t matter. I just did something that made sensei worry, I’m sorry.”
Basara managed to squeeze out a quiet voice as he lowered his head to apologise.
“You don’t need to apologise — it’s just that, Toujou, you’re one of the students in my class; so I want to protect you as a teacher, and I don’t want to see you getting into any unnecessary trouble. I hope you can understand.”
Sakazaki’s hand went *pyak* as he put his hand on the silent Basara’s shoulder, then said
“Leave Donoe and the others to me for now — I definitely won’t let them mess around.”
After saying that, Sakazaki cheerfully smiled again.
(Part 5 of 8)(27/11)(~72% of Chapter 2)
Following the argument involving Kajiura Rikka and Toujou Basara, the rest of the members of the Mio faction left the AV classroom. The figure of Donoe Shouhei appeared inside the gaming centre in front of the station, along with two of his buddies, playing a fruit bowl game in a familiar corner.
Even after numerous tries, he couldn’t get a pattern right, the LCD display showed his points quickly dropping down to zero, and Donoe angrily kicked the bottom of the machine. …Normally Donoe would have fun when playing, but today he was rather agitated. That was because not long ago, he was unbearably humiliated by Toujou Basara.
Donoe tightly clenched his right fist, and that strength still caused his hand to tremble with pain. Looking down, he saw that the area which was gripped by Basara had a clear red handprint. It was truly an incredible grip strength. Also — it wasn’t just Donoe, Basara had easily flipped over the two people who tried to help him at the same time. At some point, the other first and second year members of the Mio faction might have been intimidated by Basara, or perhaps they thought that Donoe had gone too far. They still followed him to leave the AV classroom, but on the way to the video game centre, they all made excuses and left one after the other. …It was all that guy’s fault. Living alone together with Mio was unforgiveable. He was also so arrogant — he wanted to give him a piece of his mind, but he instead ended up like this in reverse and everyone scattered.
Seeing Donoe angrily gritting his teeth, his classmate who was sitting beside him said
“Don’t worry about it, Donoe. Just by looking at Toujou…he’s definitely learnt martial arts or something.”
“…What? Don’t worry about it? But—”
Donoe stared with hatred at the LCD display as he said
“Toujou and Kajiura both look down on me, I won’t forgive either of them — I’ll definitely make them regret it, definitely.”
“You want them to regret it…how are you going to do it?”
Hearing the other person ask that, Donoe laughed ‘Ha!’.
“I need to destroy them — I’m going to ruin the shitty sports festival that they spent so much time preparing for.”
There was a method to do it discretely. It seemed like they just had to destroy the equipment that was set up at night, or order a truckload of unnecessary things to undermine the budget, or send anonymous blackmail letters to the school; two or three of those would cause the sports festival to be cancelled. While Donoe was thinking of those things—
A girl suddenly called out to him from the side. No, it wasn’t a girl. Standing beside him was a boy who was wearing the same uniform as them. He managed the organising committee along with Kajiura, an executive of the student council, a first year student called Tachibana. Looking at his timid appearance, Donoe couldn’t help saying to Tachibana, who had fear written all over his face
“Can you not make your voice sound like neither a boy nor a girl? —What did you come here for?”
“I just…hoped that senpai could return…and then…”
“Ha! …So that’s what it is, you don’t want me to go back and apologise, do you?”
Donoe stood up, and Tachibana shrank back in fear. When he said that he was going to destroy the sports festival, it may have been heard by him, so he needed to shut his mouth up. Tachibana’s body was as petite as a girl’s, and his personality was also quite effeminate, so he thought threatening him a bit here would cause him to do anything. Donoe suddenly pulled Tachibana up by his collar, and forcibly pushed him into the wall, knocking his glasses off in the process — they then saw that Tachibana’s pupils shone bright red.
“You-You’re eyes are like that…?”
A momentary inexplicable feeling caused Donoe to gulp.
Tachibana said gently — his eyes which were redder than blood stared into Donoe’s eyes.
(Part 6 of 8)(1/12)
Basara returned to the AV classroom from the rooftop. The classroom was quiet, and everyone was expressionlessly doing their own work. It should be due to the trouble that Donoe provoked, and Basara’s conflict against him which affected everyone’s mood. Basara also felt that his own presence caused the atmosphere of the classroom to tense up a bit. He quietly walked towards his own seat, and arrived in front of Kajiura, who was working at the same long desk —
“I’m sorry, Kajiura-senpai…”
He apologised for his conflict with Donoe that had happened before he left the room.
“Didn’t I say it before…it’s not your fault Toujou-kun, you don’t need to apologise to me.”
Kajiura lifted her head and smiled as she replied. It seemed like she had already calmed down during that time.
“Ah, Toujou-kun. On your way back, did you see Tachibana?”
“No, I didn’t see him…has he gone missing?”
“Yeah…I don’t know where that boy would go.”
After Kajiura sighed lightly, she returned to checking through her documents, and Basara then returned to his seat to continue doing his work — after about an hour, the organising committee meeting for that day came to an end. After tidying up, Basara looked at Tachibana’s empty seat and said
“In the end, that guy didn’t come back…do you need help finding him?”
“No need, I’ll just wait for a little longer and send him a message on my phone. Thanks — see you tomorrow.”
“You as well, see you tomorrow.”
Basara bowed as a respectful courtesy to Kajiura, and then returned to the first year class B classroom to meet Mio and Yuki, finding that there were also some other female students who had stayed back in the classroom. It was probably to discuss the cheerleading competition’s dance that they stayed until now. Sakaki and Aikawa were also present, and everyone was laughing and talking.
“Basara…has today’s organising committee meeting finished already?”
“Yeah, that’s about it for today.”
Basara nodded in the doorway of the classroom, and after replying, he realised that the person who asked was Yuki.
“Well, this is where we’ll stop today, we’ll be going now.”
After saying that, Mio and Yuki left their seats together.
“Okay, bye bye~”
“See you, Mio, Yuki, and Toujou-kun.”
Basara then left like that with Mio and Yuki, and stepped into the corridor under the gaze of Aikawa and Sakaki.
“You guys were talking quite happily…”
“It was okay. Today we were discussing what kind of costume we were going to wear for the cheerleading competition; we heard that Aikawa-san’s onee-san had connections, and that they could rent us some nice costumes for a low price. Look forward to it.”
Mio then said
“You need to keep this a secret from the other boys — if things go smoothly, we’ll definitely be the champions.”
“Basara will definitely like it.”
“I see…then I’ll wait till for you to wear it at the sports festival for me to see.”
Basara was also infected by their confidence, and they laughed together. Just when they were about to reach the student entrance —
“Basara, how are things with the committee?”
“Donoe-senpai was causing a ruckus again…sorry, we’ll definitely go over there tomorrow.”
As soon as Mio and Yuki asked about the organising committee’s situation, Basara’s expression became slightly stiff.
Yuki curiously looked at Basara, so—
Basara decided to tell them what happened at the organising committee — but at that time
“—What’s the matter? You guys still haven’t gone home yet?”
The voice which came from the other end of the corridor caused Basara to become speechless. Turning his head around, as if slowly emerging from the school building which was gradually darkening, it emphasised her beautiful white presence. Hasegawa Chisato walked towards them.
“I almost forgot, you guys are also members of the sports festival organising committee…I know that the accounting department will be especially busy, but staying too late isn’t good.”
Mio and Yuki both replied.
Basara could only stare silently at Hasegawa.
“? What is it, Toujou…your face doesn’t look too good.”
Hasegawa seemed to have noticed that something was wrong with Basara, and slightly worried, she reached out to him, but —
“I’m fine, really — thank you sensei.”
Basara said politely, and naturally avoided her hand.
“……I see, that’s good.”
Hasegawa returned her hand which had lost its place to go, and as if nothing happened, she said
“Say, sometimes you guys seem to get too serious…I don’t want you to slow down, but be careful so that you don’t push yourselves too hard.”
After listening to her advice—
“……I know, I’ll keep it in mind.”
Basara lightly nodded. That was from his heart.
“If there’s anything you need, feel free to find me in the infirmary…at any time.”
After saying that, with the hem of her white coat fluttering in the air as she turned, Hasegawa walked off towards the other side of the corridor.
(Part 7 of 8)(1/12)(~85% of Chapter 2)
When Naruse Mio, Basara and Yuki returned to the front door of their house together, it was already past 8pm.
After Mio opened the door and announced that they were home safely, the living room door suddenly opened.
I thought that it would definitely be Maria, but it seems that I’m wrong.
The person who rushed out to the corridor was —
“Kurumi-chan…?” Seeing Kurumi’s face blushing bright red, Mio held her as she called her name, and in the end —
When Kurumi saw Mio and the others, her face became even redder.
“…W-What is it?”
“! — I-It’s nothing…you don’t need to worry about me!”
After Kurumi cried that out loud, she quickly rushed up the stairs.
“…Don’t worry about it, I’ll go see.”
Yuki took her shoes off, and then followed Kurumi upstairs.
How is she doing?
—The day after Basara and Yuki forced her to submit, Kurumi shut herself inside her room; but at night she reluctantly came out of the room after being persuaded by two people, and seemed to act rather normal recently. Because she was monitoring Mio, who was the former Demon Lord’s daughter and Maria was Mio’s follower, Kurumi maintained her distance towards her; but since they lived under the same roof, they inevitably saw each other every day, and they also spoke to each other every day. But like this, it had basically reverted to how it was that day. At that time—
“Oya oya, welcome home, everyone.”
Seeing Maria come out of the living room, Mio narrowed her eyes. That was because Maria seemed to be laughing about something in a corner of her mouth.
“Maria…you didn’t do anything to Kurumi-chan while we were gone did you?”
“I didn’t do anything special…I just invited her to have a bath together, and she also agreed.”
“Having a bath together…how would she agree?”
Maria couldn’t help smiling as she said
“Of course she would. While Mio-sama was busy attending school, Kurumi-san and I had already become good friends.”
“…You didn’t threaten her with anything weird, right?”
“How would I…it was absolutely mutual. Kurumi-san is a lot cuter than I imagined, and surprisingly straightforward.”
Maria playfully giggled as she said
“—Just then, we were happily watching a video together.”
“Video…uh, could it be…!”
With a nervous sense of foreboding, Mio pushed Maria aside, and stood in the doorway of the living room.
“……I knew it.”
Seeing the image displayed on the TV, Mio sighed as her shoulders dropped. The large LCD screen was currently playing a video of Basara and Yuki carving an immense pleasure onto Kurumi’s body; it was an image of her first experience of female pleasure and ecstasy. After being seen by Kurumi in her dog cosplay, Mio barricaded herself in her own room upstairs; although she heard the occasional cries of Yuki and Kurumi from downstairs, and asked what happened the next day…but she didn’t expect it to be so intense. Maria, who followed her into the living room, said with a glittering tone
“Look, Kurumi-san is really gifted. These days, sisters who have such a close relationship with each other that they’re able to make such incredible movies are really rare. Ah, this makes it really hard for me suppress the feelings in my heart, even my tears are going to flow out…”
“I really can’t supress the feeling of sympathy in my heart…”
Mio didn’t even have the energy to get angry. Truly pitiful — even for Mio, who was the first to make the master-servant contract with Basara, she pondered in her mind about the how chaotic the shameless relationship between her and Basara had become; Kurumi only had the experience of that night, but engraved in her mind and body, it was probably a new, and extremely intense pleasure.
“This isn’t any good, now she’ll stay in her room for a while again…”
After Mio helplessly murmured that, Maria suddenly realised—
“Strange, where’s Basara-san?”
Mio also turned around to look — but at some point unbeknownst to them, Basara had disappeared from the entrance.
Basara returned to his own room, and then after placing his bag onto the desk, he lied down on his bed. While staring at the ceiling, he thought about the all the connections between the information that he had received until now, and the current situation.
The current scope had already been narrowed down; it was determined that the target was Basara, and that it was someone related to Hijirigasaka Academy. It could be inferred that regardless of whether that attack was a warning, or if it had any other significance, there was definitely a reason behind it, and that would be an opportunity for the enemy to take action.
Firstly…the first probability was that the reason behind the attack and the cause for it were initiated simultaneously at that time. The day that Basara was attacked at the station, two unusual things had occurred. The first was that it was his first time attending the sports festival organising committee, and the second was that he visited Hasegawa Chisato’s house. Currently — the possibility of that incident being related to the sports festival organising committee was higher. That attack could have been a warning to Basara to withdraw from the sports festival organising committee.
—The ones who hoped that Basara would withdraw from the organising committee consisted of two factions. One of those factions wanted the sports festival to be successful — in other words, the people who were dissatisfied because they saw that there were problems due to there being too many people in the organising committee. Of the leaders, most of them had tried to encourage Kajiura and other student council members to reject Basara. Although reluctant to think so, in their position, rejecting Basara and a few others was rather normal. But the ones who wanted the sports festival to succeed didn’t just include the few who were members of the student council; so not only students, but also teachers could be suspected.
The other faction had nothing to do with the sports festival, as they simply wanted to exclude Basara — the faction who just wanted to get rid of Basara. This faction naturally consisted of the fans of Mio and Yuki who were led by Donoe and Hozumi. The one whose hostility towards Basara was the easiest to understand was Donoe of the Mio Faction. Ever since the attack at the station, looking at the enemy’s selfish attitude that involving innocent people didn’t matter, unlike the people who wanted the sports festival to succeed like Kajiura, Donoe seemed closer to that. Although, at the time when Donoe and a few others took Basara behind the school building, Sakazaki interrupted to break it up, and nothing had happened since then; but since the very first organising committee meeting when he saw Mio next to Basara, there was no guarantee that his hostility wouldn’t resurge. The problem was — Basara living together with Mio and Yuki was something which was long known by the entire school, on the other hand, it was unlikely that Donoe would organise such an attack just because they were attending the organising committee together; but by explaining Donoe’s out of control behaviour being ‘caused by the manipulation of that attack’, it would be more reasonable.
…However. If the enemy always had ill intentions to Basara — attacking Basara at that time was really a good choice. That was because the intelligent Takigawa had returned to the Demon Realm. When Takigawa returned to the Demon Realm, it was just a few hours before Basara was attacked — just after he was advised by Mio and Yuki that they had finished shopping at the supermarket. It was the day after the attack that Basara began to feel that he was being watched at school, it could be said that all of this happened after Takigawa took leave from the school. …Also, [The Village] had now sent Kurumi over. If the enemy knew about this information beforehand, it was possible that it was an attempt to make the [Village] believe that Basara had the risk of involving innocent people, thus they timed their attack so that Kurumi would make it there in time. As soon as [The Village] determined that the situation was too serious, simply leaving the organising committee wouldn’t be enough to resolve things, and he would quickly have to face the fate of either leaving Mio or Yuki.
—However, up until now, it still lacked any decisive evidence. So today, Basara changed the passive stance that he had adopted until now, and tried an active stance — using the conflict with Donoe and the others as a reason; if he used that opportunity to amplify the situation, it would also force them to leave the organising committee together. At the time, Mio and Yuki were absent because they were rehearsing for the cheerleading competition, so if they decided to attack Basara out of jealousy, it would provide an excellent opportunity for them to reveal themselves. Also — Basara had thought about it, in the slight chance that the faction which wanted him out of the organising committee so that the sports festival would succeed really didn’t exist, then it was possible that they were the culprits. Under such circumstances, Basara’s departure would appease their discontent; in the process, he would also be able to remove Donoe, who had purchased expensive fireworks and wasted two hundred thousand. In addition to achieving this compensation effect, it could also be considered his final contribution to the sports festival organising committee. But — due to Sakazaki’s appearance, he wasn’t able to successfully lure the other side into making their next move, so it was a failure in the end.
For Basara, time was of the essence, and he needed to immediately find a method to discover the enemy’s true motive — But he didn’t think that…with what he heard from Sakazaki, the situation was once again plunged into a mysterious fog.
“……Be careful of Hasegawa Chisato?”
If Sakazaki hadn’t said so, Basara really wouldn’t have realised that he had been influenced by her ever since he met her; after faithfully trusting her advice, it was almost to the extent that he blindly followed it — but that itself was a strange phenomenon. The biggest taboo in combat or a mission was [belief]. An overly strong subjective sense would undermine composure, narrow one’s vision, and prevent people from making correct judgements. That was why Basara underwent extremely rigorous training while he was in [The Village], and fought battles in which he didn’t think that he would be able to win so that he could develop the habit of seeing things from different perspectives.Therefore, he was able to discover Takigawa’s true identity, and was also able to find an unexpected way to put an end to Zolgear. Given that he was like that, why did he fully trust only Hasegawa — or rather, why didn’t he suspect her? This enemy was able to create powerful barriers, and was also able to control people’s minds. As Sakazaki said, the situation around Hasegawa was quite unusual, and even Takigawa had never mentioned anything against her. It seemed as though everything around Hasegawa would change according to her needs.
But — around Hasegawa, two irregular people had appeared. One of them was Basara himself. Obviously, Hasegawa got closer to Basara on her own. If she was behind the attack, the time when he treated Takigawa to yakiniku and met her probably wasn’t a coincidence, and she had an ulterior motive to inviting him over to her house. It was frightening…in the case that Hasegawa was the culprit, the reason why she was so interested in Basara was — [Banishing Shift]. Supposing that Hasegawa was able to control the minds of everyone around her — perhaps in some way, since Basara was able to eliminate any physical or magical attack, it may have caught her interested or posed a threat her, so she wanted to know if it was possible for him to eliminate her mind control. Thus, she designed various experiments, such as taking her swimsuit off in the infirmary and eating or bathing at her own house in an attempt to cloud Basara’s emotional judgement, and when she finally saw Basara as a threat, she attacked when Basara left — thinking about it that way, it seemed far more reasonable than Donoe attacking out of jealousy.
But…she didn’t deal with the problem that she couldn’t ignore — that was the other irregular person, Sakazaki. Neither Basara, Yuki nor Takigawa detected anything wrong with Hasegawa, yet Sakazaki did. Supposing that Hasegawa eliminated those that were aware of her by manipulation, Sakazaki should have been before Basara. Also, Sakazaki chose that time to tell Basara about the problem with Hasegawa — what was the reason behind that? Sakazaki said that he saw Basara under the influence of Hasegawa, did he tell that to Basara just so that Hasegawa would know about Sakazaki’s suspicions? Could it be that this was the other side’s trap? What Sakazaki said, could it just have been a made-up story so that Basara’s focus would be directed towards Hasegawa who was unrelated to everything, and he would then show an opening? That way, Sakazaki didn’t intentionally say that, but was instead subjected to the manipulation of the true culprit. …No. At the least, Basara’s trust towards Hasegawa was an undisputable fact.
I don’t think it was all a lie.
It’s just that — regardless of whether he believed Hasegawa or Sakazaki to be the suspect, the clues he currently possessed were not enough to decide, and he didn’t know who among Donoe, Hozumi, Tachibana, or Kajiura was the attacker, or being manipulated — no, even if the attacker was one of them, it was impossible to determine whether they were being manipulated. Under these circumstances, determining the next move was —
“…! No, how can I think like that…!”
Toujou Basara sat up on the bed, and looked straight ahead.
What am I worried about?
After he cheered himself up, he calmed down a bit.
Discard prejudice, and suspect every possibility. And then — come up with a countermeasure for each possibility. …It should be fine, because…
He himself had the ability to be sure of things. At that time, someone knocked on the door.
It was a person that he could definitely be sure of — Naruse Mio asked from outside
“Ever since we walked home from school, you’ve been acting a bit strange…is there anything wrong?”
Her voice indicated that she was concerned for Basara.
Really, I made her worry.
So Basara took a deep breath, and said
“Sorry…I’m just a bit disturbed, I’ll think of a way to deal with it.”
But, I’m already fine.
“Help me call everyone to the living room, I’ll tell everyone about what I encountered today, and also everything that I’ve understood recently. Also—”
Toujou Basara continued
“For an enemy whose identity and motive is unknown — this is how we should deal with it.”
There were still far too many suspects at the moment; the people he had suspicions about couldn’t be counted on one hand. But the knowledge they possessed was not zero. The enemy’s objective was Basara, and they didn’t care about bringing chaos to the surroundings. They couldn’t lose to such a despicable enemy. That was enough. Hence, they would start with what they had available. Perhaps the sports festival would be an important key. The outcome would decide whether they could get through that day. If they had to fight, then so be it. Although he was reluctant to suspect his classmates or teachers, they didn’t have a choice right now. Regardless of what torment the heart suffered — they needed to fight right now so that they could believe in everything once again.
(Part 8 of 8)(6/12)(100% of Chapter 2)