Chapter 19: Please Pay it No Heed

“Tea party…?”

“Yes.”

Shortly after home room had ended, Arisugawa-san had come to my seat and invited me.

“We will start it shortly hereafter, so if it sits well you, by all means, please come!”

“It’s right now?”

“Yes. It’s not that big a matter. It’s just a modest thing we’re holding in my room from time to time.”

And then Arisugawa-san suddenly quickened her pace.

“T-That is, even if I say in my room, it’s merely a usual thing and there’s no deeper meaning behind the invitation, yes?”

She put her index fingers on top of each other and rotated them like knitting needles.

“Yes, indeed. It would be a shame, but we could repeat it…”

“…?”

“Yes, yes, we can always repeat it!”

Toujou-san joined in on the whole fun from the right.

“But today’s invitation was deliberate—— mugu—”

Arisugawa-san covered Toujou-san’s mouth.

“P-Please pay it no heed, yes?”

“Ah… yeah.”

“Might there be something to obstruct you? Do you happen to already have plans?”

Arisugawa-san enquired with somewhat upturned eyes.

“Well, not really, but…”

“…! T-Then, by all means…!”

Well, true, I’m a bit curious too.

“Well then, I’m taking you up on…”

Arisugawa-san’s expression immediately started to sparkle.

Suddenly, something strongly pulled on my sleeve.

“W-Wait a sec! What are you doing?!”

It was Aika.

She went as far as to proclaim that and stiffened right after.

Everyone in the classroom was ogling Aika.

Aika-sama is far from her usual self—— That kind of surprised atmosphere was clearly hanging in the air.

Taken aback, Aika regained her senses and casted her eyes down.

“Aika-sama…?”

Arisugawa-san asked evidently surprised too.

“…………”

Aika had turned her regular weirdo-mode on.

“Is there something you wanted to tell Kimito-sama?”

Trying to relax her, she inquired with a gentle expression.

“…………Ehm………… t-today…”

There are times when I wondered why she ended up like this, but stuff had probably happened. Seemed like once her attitude snapped in, there was no breaking out, huh?

Suddenly, she pulled me up on my feet.

“W-What now?!”

Like that she dragged me into the corridor.

Everyone kept glaring from inside the classroom.

Aika whispered into my ear.

(W-We’ve got club activities, right?!)

“…Ha?”

“Don’t ‘ha’ me! The preparations for my ‘Commoner Party’! There’s no time for tea parties and smirking like an idiot!”

“Who’s smirking like an idiot?”

(You were, right?!)

“I wasn’t! And on top of that, it’s not that urge——”

(W-What’s with you?! You wanna go to Arisugawa Reiko’s room that much?!)

“Wai—, you’re clinging too close!”

(It is urgent! We have to return at once and figure out the plan!)

“…………”

Yeah, she probably would wanna break out of the status-quo as soon as possible, if even just a day sooner.

…Jeez, there’s no helping it, I guess.

“Alright already.”

I said and left Aika behind; I then returned to the classroom.

Arisugawa-san was looking my way, seemingly perplexed.

“Sorry, Arisugawa-san. I have plans with her already.”

I pointed to Aika, who was facing the other way in the corridor.

“…………She…………”

“Sorry, I hope you’ll invite me again regardless, okay?”

It took her a little while…

“Please, do not worry about it.”

Arisugawa-san expressed her usual unclouded smile.

“I’ll pray that you can tend to your business with Aika-sama in good health.”

…As expected of Arisugawa-san. Even her reaction to being refused is all too perfect, I was a bit moved.

When I turned my face to the sound of the footsteps I was hearing, I saw Aika leaving promptly.

“Wait up!”

While I thought ‘yare, yare,’ I chased after her.

Just before I left the classroom, on the edge of my vision, I could see Arisugawa-san, gazing at me.

 

“Aika, do you… like me?”

Aika’s cheeks were dyed in a deep red and she seized her mouth in surprise. Then——

“Mugu—! MOGAAAAAAAAA——!”

“Answer me!”

Club activity after school.

Intended for the plan to become a popular person, we were in the middle of ‘Simple Lie Training’ to stop her all too easy thought leakage.

“UMOMO——!”

Still covering her mouth, she was fainting in agony with a face that you can’t show to someone else’s parents. You’d really love to say it, huh? Some kind of vilification.

“I’ll ask one more time! What do you think of me?!”

“I want to kill you.” ← Karen

“I didn’t ask you, alright?!”

Karen faced the other way with a ‘hmph’ and returned to her work.

She was set on decorating a mobile.

“Jeez, what’s with this? Commoners are really doing stupid things.”

So she said, but she was totally up for making a bunny pattern with glitter. Besides her, there was a heap of already finished decorated phones, each having a different design.

“Fuu… my eyes are really tired.”

“Well, no need to push yourself. To begin with, when you saw this stuff, you just took it by yourse——”

“IDIOT!”

“Why are you getting mad at me?”

And even Haqua was sleeping on her usual place on my lap after she had eaten some snacks.

This six tatami mat room was filled with four people and everyone was doing their own thing. I was getting used to it.

“——BUHA—!”

Aika was starting to lack oxygen at the end of this long battle.

I see. Holding back your vilification is that hard, huh?

“Then let’s lower the difficulty a bit. ——Do you like raisins?”

I knew she hated them.

“Ubu—— MUMUMU—!”

Aika blocked her mouth and struggled for a while——

“I li……… I don’t dislike them… maybe—”

Ooh, she did it.

“Then once more. Do you like me?”

“HOMU—— HIGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!”

My, my. She loathes me enough that it doesn’t even compare to raisins, huh?

“Bear it and say, ‘I do’!”

Aika stared back at me.

“This is training to tell lies, right?! You know it’s different, so bear it and out with it!”

Thereupon, she let her hands loose.

She hung her head that was red like an apple, casted her eyes down seemingly embarrassed, and——

“…………I…………I do.”

“Ooh, you did it!”

“…………”

“Plus, it looked much more comfortable than earlier. You’re growing up, huh?”

“…………”

“Well, it’s kinda important to lie after you feel the room, you know? This way it’ll be easier to—— OUCH—?! Why are you hitting me?!”

“SHUT UP!”

 

“Hey, I wanna serve some commoner food at the party. Sweets or something.”

Besides our special training, all kinds of preparations were progressing.

“Then how about some cheaper sweets? Sweet bars for instance?”

“Sweet bars?”

“It’s something you’d find in convenience stores. From time to time, girls buy this kinda sweets and chatter in the classroom after school.”

“Ah! That’s good! Let’s do that!”

Aika’s eyes were shining.

“‘Commoner After School Experience’! I’ve decided, that’ll be the party’s name!”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Doesn’t it?! Yeah, yeah, it’ll be fun!”

‘Is there anything fun we can do after that…’ Aika grinned with the notebook in one hand.

…She’s really giving it her all.

And she didn’t seem to realize it herself, but rather than ‘how can I become popular’, she was rather splitting her head about ‘how can I give everyone a fun time’.

From the beginning, she’s someone who’s frequently thinking about others.

And as the downside of that, she’s arbitrarly being a loner right now.

“Maybe I can give everyone a fun time. That’d be nice…”

I’m sure Arisugawa-san and her classmates don’t know that she can make such a nice face.

It’s such a pity.

 

Translator notes and references

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