C1P4

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Using the same way he left through, he infiltrated the building through a waist high window on the first floor.

First, he dropped the plastic bags through the window, then he jumped with a bit of momentum to climb over the window frame.

Upon entering, he took off his muddy socks and threw them in the trash. Rather than just being dirty, it was because after walking a long distance on asphalt, the parts that were thin to begin with were ripped and new holes had opened up.

He climbed the stairs to return to class F’s clubroom. As he opened the door and entered the sliding door, the laid back mood from before he left had been washed away.

Yasuki set the things he bought in the center of the clubroom and turned toward Katsuya, who was sitting in the corner writing something into a notebook.

“I’m back…”

As Yasuki approached him, Katsuya hastily closed the notebook. Maybe it was his diary or something.

“Yassan, welcome back. Late, aren’t you?”

“Ah? Yeah… well…”

Suddenly looking at the clock, it had been nearly an hour since he left. In that time, it seems that the people from other classes went back to their own rooms. About half of those who remained were laying on their futons, rubbing their eyes.

Even though he went to the trouble of making a shopping trip he felt like he wasted his effort, but the fact that everything ended without hearing something like ‘So slow! What were you doing?’ was good. If the fact that he came back alone with Kitaoka was found out, it seems like there’d be a lot of noisy people talking about this and that.

Yasuki chose two of the drinks he bought himself and passed one to Katsuya and clinked their small cans together in a toast.

He gulped it loudly. Maybe because he got thirsty from walking a long way uphill, the carbonated liquid seemed to penetrate throughout his body.

–No, isn’t it just his own tension…

He recalled the spectacle from his way home.

The miserable face that had turned towards him; the stammering, misunderstanding voice that said no piggyback; the laughing eyes that were peeking at his face.

She didn’t say ‘Thank you,’ but looking at it this way, it was pretty fun. When they went down the mountain those were expressions that definitely wouldn’t be seen again, so he immersed himself in the lingering memories for a bit.

Yasuki’s mouth twitched a bit, and he called out to Katsuya in a whisper.

“Hey, Katsuya”

“What?”

“If I remember right, you brought your beach sandals, right? Can you lend them to me tomorrow?”

Besides the sneakers for walking outside, Yasuki, who’s walking habits are bad, brought beach sandals for walking through the halls. Remembering that, he had asked earnestly.

“Sure, I guess… Why?”

Relieved at Katsuya’s agreeable response, Yasuki answered:

“Well, earlier I stepped in a puddle on the side of the road. My shoes got all muddy and now it seems like I can’t wear them.”

“I see. That’s a problem, isn’t it.”

(Yeah, I really had a problem)

He thought while looking at the bottom of his bare feet.

The wounds that came from stones that broke through the socks ran vertical, like a sign of something[1].

null


After stopping by the restroom, she got on the bus. From the seats in the back, she saw Miyu in the back calling “Ema” and waving to her.

Because Miyu was sitting by the window, she sat by the aisle. Across the aisle, Juri and Kokona, whom Ema got along well with, sat side by side.

On the 4th day of the training camp, which is the last day, there were lessons in 3 subjects instead of 5, and after eating lunch everyone got on the bus, which would take them to the school or the station.

The homeroom teacher made sure that everyone on the roster had already boarded, then the bus, along with the low engine noises, began to move.

Suddenly raising her face, a bit farther away, in a seat diagonally in front of her, a boy with glasses was sitting.

His crossed legs were sticking out into the aisle, and on those feet he wasn’t wearing shoes, but a cheap pair of beach sandals instead.

–She never thought that yesterday would become something like that.

Ema thought of last night with a comfortable drowsiness remaining.

After finishing dinner, several of the class’ boys came to play in the training camp’s clubroom. (The day before, ‘Is it alright if we come to play?’ she was asked, and without thinking deeply about it, she replied ‘Sure.’ She didn’t think they would actually slip past the night watch.)

For some reason there was something like a promised confession time, and 10 minutes later they were driven away. Then they had fun with all-girl talk.

‘Well then, who’s gonna go shopping today?’

Who would go was fairly decided by Rock, Paper, Scissors, but she had been unlucky the day before the third day. The darkness and mountain roads weren’t her forte, but the first day, and the second day too, she couldn’t just say that only she wouldn’t go and to have someone else go.

When she finally reached the convenience store at the bottom of the mountain, there was a boy she was acquainted with.

‘You’re shopping too?’

That tone gave her a bad premonition. That guy is a second year that joined the committee, and ever since, she’s felt staring at her with an impolite gaze.

As she finished her shopping, exactly as she thought, that guy came along. Because he was Juri’s, who is on good terms with all of the class, classmate in middle school, she continued without rejecting him, and answered as she was talked to.

‘Ema-chan, is that what you look like without makeup?’

‘Eh?’

‘…You’re really cute’

Just what’s with this topic all of a sudden? She was taken aback. Then, rather than answering, she was quickly embraced by his thick arms.

‘No!’

Because his lips drew nearer, she promptly turned her head away. Ema, mustering all her strength, escaped from his arms. She then took refuge in the forest to the side of the road.

‘Hey, where’d you go?’

From the road, he suddenly shouted in a completely changed tone. While sitting in the shadow of a tree and trying to hide the sounds of her breathing, after a while she could no longer hear the sound of grass rustling. It seems like he gave up and went home.

After the trembling of her body stopped, she unsteadily returned to the road.

(He’s the absolute worst!)

She wanted to hurry back and sleep. If things were gonna go like this, I should’ve just made things a little awkward by stopping the Rock, Paper, Scissors. While thinking that, she started walking again.

Around that time, from her feet, a small snap was heard. When she thought that and looked, the strap on the sandals she was wearing had broken.

Ema miserably crouched down on the spot. How could this happen? Catching a terrible eye and on top of that, the sandals that she just bought breaking. And since originally she hadn’t planned on walking long distances, thanks to her heels her feet were riddled with blisters.

She didn’t want to walk a single step more. God is mean. Would it have been better to be gotten by that guy like that?

Somebody… somebody save me — as she was wishing for this, he appeared.

‘What’s wrong?’

Raising her face, the one who was there was Iijima from the same class.

Honestly, when he spoke, she thought ‘Why is this guy…’ This lanky glasses guy was her classmate, but his presence was thin and she had never talked to him. It seems they were also in the same class in first year, but for all she could remember, she would just say ‘Was it like that?’ He hangs out with an otaku, so he’s definitely also an otaku, isn’t he. Even if he couldn’t carry her, she didn’t think he seemed like the type to just turn away when there was trouble.[2] TL1

But at that time, she felt like he was her only hope. With tears flowing she brought her situation to his attention, and without much hesitation, he lent her the sneakers he was wearing.

As expected, Iijima was silent while walking too. For not giving her any weird glances, and just going together with her, she was extremely grateful. Besides, it was her first time seeing him in regular clothes, and his impression was different from his usual not well suited stiff collar[3] from the school uniform. His t-shirt and shorts unexpectedly fit his body, and wearing them and she felt like he looked a little cool.

Sometimes, the inside of the sneakers would hit the blisters, but compared to the heels they were so much easier to walk in. If she tied them tight, she wouldn’t have to worry about the fact that the size was too big.

When they got back to the training camp, Juri was waiting by the back door. Juri was crying tears of worry and while Ema tried to calm her down, before she realized it Iijima left. Even though she wanted to say ‘Thank you’ and return his shoes. But she it’s not like she could wear her broken sandals, and fortunately, Iijima had borrowed beach sandals from somewhere for the morning classes. That’s why it doesn’t seem especially inconvenient. Also, it seems like exchanging shoes in front of everyone would be troublesome, so she would use the sneakers for a little bit longer.

…she doesn’t know how it looks, but there’s about a 3cm gap between the tips of her toes and the end of the sneakers. ‘Even though there’s not that much of a difference in height, he has unexpectedly big feet, huh’ Ema thought while wiggling her toes in the shoes.

“–Ema, are you listening?”

Miyu said, bringing her back to her senses.

“Eh…? Ah, sorry. What were we talking about?”

“Like I said, Nozawa-senpai’s bringing a friend. Today he said we’re going to the fireworks though.”

Nozawa-senpai is the older guy that Miyu is going out with. It seems that Miyu turned on the phone she just got back to check her messages.

A big fireworks festival will be held today in a city a little far away. It seems likely that Miyu and her boyfriend plan to introduce her to this friend.

“Is that so…”

She felt a throbbing pain.

“I’m a little tired, so I might not go I think”

Miyu let out an ‘Ehhh” in obvious dissatisfaction while pouting, but Ema didn’t even consider withdrawing her statement.


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[1] : Not sure if it’s supposed to be that ominous

[2] : Seems like it could mean that he wouldn’t turn towards trouble, but I don’t know for sure.

[3] : Think collar of a gakuran. May also apply to regular button-up shirts.

(TL1) : ピンチのときに頭の回るタイプだとも思えなかった。

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