After soaking in the hot springs, drinking a bottle of milk and playing ping pong has always been the routine. Right now Akiha-senpai is in the middle of a fierce battle with Asakusa-senpai, originally the scene should have been a very harmonious scene of teens releasing their youthful sweat, but their expressions were each less youthful than the other’s. I should say that they’re quite savage.
「Hehehe, another two points and your underwear is mine.」
Akiha-senpai smiles grimly.
「He, until now you haven’t even beaten me once. You probably don’t have more than two pairs of pants you can wear right now, don’t you?」
With the absolute advantage, Asakusa-senpai looks at Akiha-senpai with disdain.
Their ping pong skills are both quite superb, originally this should have been a wonderful match, but before the match they made a bet that made this ping pong table covered in shame.
Three points for one match, currently Akiha-senpai has already lost four pairs of pants, another two losses and he’ll really be only be able to walk on the streets in his underwear…
With a ball that grazes the edge of the table, Senpai once again loses a pair of pants. He only has the last pair of pants he can wear in this training camp.
「I think you should stop it, right now you’ve only got the uniform pants that you can lose to me.」
Asakusa-senpai purposely angers Akiha-senpai, Akiha-senpai looks at her while grinding his teeth.
「I’ll definitely win your underwear today!」
I honestly can’t watch anymore and go drag down Akiha-senpai.
「Enough Akiha-senpai… You’ve got the classic gambler’s mentality right now.」
「No! I can definitely win!」
「Fine fine fine, we’re going back first…」
I drag back to the room Akiha-senpai who is shouting and clamouring. Upon returning to the room his originally angered appearance immediately becomes pitiful.
「Junior… Please do lend me a pair of pants!」
Senpai definitely can’t stand having only one pair of pants to wear for so many days without changing, I pull out two pairs of pants from my luggage and give them to him. At this moment, from his perspective I’m probably covered in light.
「Senpai, I’m going to go out for a walk, wanna come?」
「It’s okay, I plan on resting a bit in the room. I still haven’t communicated yet today with the underwear my little sister personally gave to me before I left.」
「Are you sure she personally gave it to you?」
「Absolutely positively sure, I ran for over two hours before she agreed.」
Does this person really have a bottom line?
I walk out of Tamaki. Even though I want to go out for a walk, there isn’t some place I want to go in particular. I walk in the direction opposite to home, passing through some familiar streets I walk to the shopping street.
The setup of the shopping street is almost identical to the past, there aren’t any new stores. After all I’ve only just left home for not even two months, it’s just because this is my first time going far away that I’ve got nostalgia.
I see a familiar ramen store at the side of the street, this place has a past experience with me and Awayume. I remember that day my mom had kicked me over to Awayume’s home again because she didn’t want to cook for me, and then with a feeling like I was homeless I went to Awayume’s home. Yet, at that time I just so happened to see Awayume run out of the house crying, not knowing what the situation was I immediately reacted and chased over. Awayume had run out crying because she had gotten into an argument with her stepmother.
Awayume’s biological mother had passed away already when she was very young, her father brought Awayume and married another woman. Originally when Awayume was still very little her stepmother had taken relatively good care of her, but after the first child between her father and stepmother was born, her stepmother pretty much gave all of her love to that child and no longer cared at all about Awayume. Awayume didn’t actually care about this, but what made her bitterly disappointed was that even her father also gave the majority of his love to his second child. Awayume was gradually isolated in the family.
That day was the first time she had gotten into an argument with her stepmother, because Awayume honestly couldn’t bear the favoritism her family gave to the other child. Not only her stepmother, even her biological father didn’t stand on her side.
I chased Awayume for a long time, that day, Awayume whose stamina was clearly never good ran for a long time. In the end Awayume collapsed on the ground completely exhausted and I finally caught up to her. When I was young I didn’t know how to comfort girls, I just let Awayume bury her head in my young chest and cry after she saw me. That day she cried out all of the grievances that she had borne, crying to the point where she could only twitch her body but there were no tears that could flow out.
Awayume gradually stopped shaking, and then her stomach started grumbling. She looked at me with an embarrassed face, at this time we just happened to be at the entrance of this ramen store in the shopping street. I walked inside with Awayume, I had just enough money on me to buy a bowl of the cheapest vegetarian ramen.
That bowl of ramen was very warm, Awayume’s cold body was healed by the ramen. After she ate a few bites she suddenly thought of asking me if I was hungry. Originally I wanted to say very coolly that I wasn’t hungry, but my stomach spoke before me very honestly. Awayume got close to me and lifted up the noodles covered in soup. She fed me, and then ate a small bite herself, and then fed me again. That was how we shared and finished that bowl of ramen, not even the soup remained.
Afterwards I brought Awayume to my home and told Mother I hoped to let Awayume stay for a few days. Even though Mother saw that something was wrong, she didn’t say anything and agreed to my request.
After Awayume stayed with me for about a week, her parents came to my home and picked her up, promising that this sort of thing absolutely wouldn’t happen again.
Afterwards Awayume’s parents did indeed take good care of her, but Awayume already had a strong aversion towards the family. She regularly told me she wanted to live by herself sooner and move out from this house.
Going to high school now, Awayume really did it. She usually does some part-time jobs, and with some financial support from her family she can already live well in Tokyo.
Remembering the past, I really am filled with emotion. I follow the shopping street and continue wandering aimlessly, here I see an arcade. This was a place I came to play all the time when I was young, of course it was always me alone… You know, because I didn’t have any friends to come with me to play at the arcade.
Awayume and Utsukushi-chan both didn’t like coming to the arcade to play, they didn’t like the stuffy air and noisy sounds in the arcade.
「You’re… Aoba Oku, right?」
While I’m standing at the entrance of the arcade, I suddenly hear a girl call my name. I turn my head looking over and three fashionably dressed girls are observing me. I do have a bit of an impression of them, after all they were all the leading girls of the riajuu group in class in middle school. (TL: Raijuu, life winners, winners in life, blah blah blah)
「It really is Classmate Aoba, if I remember correctly aren’t you going to school in Tokyo, why would you come back to this small county town?」
「Maybe he couldn’t survive any longer in the Tokyo high school and ran back, haha.」
「Mai, how can you say that about Classmate Aoba.」
「I also think that maybe Mai’s right, after all he was already a gloomy person in class before, in high school he’s definitely still like that. It’s very normal that he can’t survive there any longer.」
「It’s very rude of you to say that about Classmate Aoba.」
「Then why don’t we ask gloomy Classmate Aoba? Hey, Aoba, were you ostracized in the Tokyo high school which is why you ran back to this small county town with your tail between your legs?」
I look calmly at the girls who clearly want to poke fun at me, even in high school they’re still so immature.
「I’m here right now because I joined a club in the Tokyo high school and right now is training camp week for the school. Even though the majority of clubs have their training camps in Tokyo, there’s also a small number of clubs going to other places. And the club I joined just so happens to be having training camp around here.」
「Aoba is actually able to speak properly…」
I don’t think that’s the main point, exactly how inept am I in your heart?
「So that’s how it is, looks like high school life in Tokyo is very interesting.」
The girl that called me at the beginning seems to yearn for the Tokyo high school life.
「Che, even if that’s so, even if Aoba’s entered a club he’s definitely that kind of ghost member who has no communication with the other club members. Or should I say he doesn’t even have a normal friend in school?」
「Mai, I don’t think you should say that about Classmate Aoba…」
「What’s the problem, look, him coming out by himself can prove this.」
「Exactly, I think Aoba must have been ostracized by the other club members which is why he came out alone, poor soul.」
The two girls mock me in different ways but I am unmoved by it. In middle school I already didn’t care about these immature actions of theirs.
「Just think of it like that then, can I go now?」
「Just leaving like that? Wanna come play with us, if we’re happy we might even give you a bit of a reward.」
At this time, a voice with a tone of inquiry not belonging to the four people here suddenly inserts into our conversation. We four look towards the person who spoke but only I recognize who she is.
At this time Asakusa-senpai is with Kamina Eno and Amamiya Kotosuzu and coming out from the door of the arcade. In their hands they’re all holding all kinds of trophies.
「Asakusa-senpai, did you guys go rob the arcade?」
「What can I say, the difficulty setting of the games here is honestly too low and I accidentally won so many trophies. If it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t stand the manager constantly begging us to leave we could have probably gotten more.」
… You actually pushed the manager to this level?
「Speaking of it, you’re amazing Lo-kun, hitting it up with three girls in such a short period of time. She even said she’s going to give you a reward.」
Asakusa-senpai’s face has a grin like a little fox’s.
「Don’t speak nonsense Senpai, they’re all my classmates from the same class in middle school.」
「So she’s your senpai?」
A girl beside me asks me.
「Ya, she’s also my club’s president.」
「Well well well, to think that you’ve actually got a girl who you can talk to Aoba. And I though you definitely couldn’t have any contact with any girls.」
「You’re wrong Mai, in middle school didn’t Aoba still have Sakurada Awayume this only female friend?」
When speaking she puts heavy emphasis on the word “only”, her goal is still to mock me.
「So you had it that bad in middle school Lo-kun.」
Asakusa-senpai seems to be very sympathetic towards me, at this time the three girls beside me start talking with Asakusa-senpai.
「Hey! Is Aoba still a very gloomy person in school!」
Hearing this, Asakusa-senpai reveals a smile I’m familiar with. It was precisely with this smile that she made Akiha-senpai lose all his pants… These three girls still haven’t realized that the person they’re talking with isn’t a girl but a female demon!
「Gloomy? Not at all, from a certain perspective Lo-kun can be considered ver~y famous.」
Hearing Asakusa-senpai’s words the three girls are all in disbelief.
「Huh! No way! Speaking of it, why do you call Aoba Lo-kun Senpai? He doesn’t have this character in his name I think.」
「Oh, this, is my lover’s~name for Aoba!」
Her words once again make the three girls shocked.
「No way, do you actually like that gloomy Aoba Senpai?」
「Like? No no no, this is a one-sided love.」
Asakusa-senpai’s smile makes me feel chills. At this moment she just happens to look at me and my body involuntarily trembles.
「Hey, darling, it’s my turn today~」
Her tone is the perfect interpretation of the image of a girl who can’t obtain the boy’s love, but still perseveres in an effort to make the guy fall in love with her.
「D… Darling? And what do you mean your turn…」
Them three are already shocked speechless.
「Aiya, you girls really don’t know, my darling has too many admirers in school, to be together with him now is honestly way too hard!」
Asakusa-senpai’s eyes are filled with bitterness.
「School has opened for so long now, only until the training camp this time did we three have the chance to take turns accompanying darling, and today is my turn~」
Not only are they speechless, I’ve also been impressed by Senpai’s acting.
At this time Asakusa-senpai holds the hands of Amamiya Kotosuzu and Kamina Eno and stands in a line.
「We three love darling the most!」
Regardless of whether it’s mature Asakusa Murasaki, stunning Kamina Eno, or dainty Amamiya Kotosuzu, in real life they are all rare beauties.
Now with Asakusa-senpai’s nonsensical talk, my three middle school classmates are already in full belief.
「So Aoba he… is actually this popular in high school?」
They’ve already been tricked by the illusion Asakusa-senpai randomly made up, they think I’m already a winner in life with a massive bishoujo harem in school.
「Could you three also like my darling? Then you guys will have to line up behind us.」
「No no no… We don’t dare to fight over him with you guys.」
Is it actually already this messed up…
「Then I’ll be taking away darling, I’ve still got to take~good~care~of~him at night.」
Asakusa-senpai walks to my side and holds my hand. She leans against my shoulder like cute little girl, but only she can feel that my body is constantly shaking…
After leaving the entrance of the arcade, Senpai lets go of me and I release a sigh.
「What’s wrong Lo-kun, could it be that me letting go of you made you disappointed? If you want I don’t mind hugging you for a big longer.」
「Enough Senpai… With what you’ve done, my original image in middle school will probably be completely overturned now.」
「What’s wrong with that, like this they’ll know that you’re a very popular winner in life Lo-kun.」
「I’m not some life winner, I’m clearly a scumbag who toys with the feelings of girls!」
「So you still have this awareness?」
Asakusa-senpai seems to think that I can’t tell.
I sigh again.
「It’s okay, at any rate it’s just classmates from your middle school time. What I’m more curious about is exactly what were you like in middle school for you to be a gloomy boy in their eyes Lo-kun.」
「Could it be that they all don’t know you’re actually a lolicon?」
「After all I don’t have a reason to randomly tell them.」
「They why did you so bravely declare your fetish in high school?」
「This isn’t a fetish! This is my faith!」
「All in all, in middle school I was a gloomy person in their eyes okay, after all I don’t have much friends.」
「That’s the past, Lo-kun.」
Asakusa-senpai has a sincere smile, her smile no longer has any teasing elements mixed inside.
I look at the three girls circled around me and think of Akiha-senpai who is at Tamaki communicating with his little sister’s underwear. In this club I originally thought would make my life a mess.
I found friends.