Zettai ni Derete wa Ikenai Tsundere chapter 2

Witch and Mermaid

Tagging along with Gami and the others to see a live concert, going to a festival, working part-time as an event staff. This is the kind of summer I was living. If one didn’t put their time and effort into tending to their friendships like this, you definitely lose your place to belong once the break ends.

Once the second term rolls around, all the uncertainty of social standing and relationships in class vanishes, and you have found your place. There’s no people who succeed with a summer break debut. Of course, that results in Aotsuki-san’s place being the same, earning herself the title of the ‘Solitary Poison-Tongued Princess’. Nobody would dare to approach her, and I stay away from talking with her as long as we’re in the classroom. However, no matter how busy we may be during the day, we continue to meet at that park at night.

Someone like me shouldn’t be dealing with her. And despite me being aware of this, I kept meeting her nonetheless. But, it’s only when nobody else is looking. If someone called me a coward, then I could only nod ‘Correct’ to that. Since nobody knows about our relationship, nobody could actually say that though.

 

 

“Gami~ What should we do after this?”

Classes ended, and when I asked Gami, she laughed while slurping on her royal strawberry chocolate milk tea.

“I’m going to a mixer. Jelly, right?”

“Seriously? I feel bad for the other girls.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I mean, all the guys would probably aim for you, right?”

“Hmm.”

Her expression, which looked like a ‘Of course’, did all the talking. That’s the perfect kind of attitude towards the queen so that she keeps her good mood.

“So what, the reason you were acting different from usual is because of that mixer, Gami?” Sakana joined in on the conversation.

He’s a hottie, and really loves being surrounded by girls, which makes him the exact opposite of the real me, but it didn’t take long for him to become something like a friend of mine. While we all surrounded Gami, playing around, he just suddenly ended up like that. When it comes to forming pairs for P.E, it’s generally with him. It’s not that I particularly like him, but making him my enemy would get me hated by every single fan of his, so I try to get along with him.

“That’s right. With some guys from another school.”

“Huh, that’s unexpected. You and Yafune are always together, so I’m surprised you aren’t dating.”

“Because Gami-sam is totally wasted on me.”

“Yafune, are you making fun of me?”

“Not at all, not at all~ I really feel that way. I bet you could get yourself an even better guy. They’d be biting all onto you like fish on a hook.”

“What’s up with that. Well, you’re totally right though!”

“Phew, she even said it herself.”

“Yafune is more like a pet dog than a boyfriend.”

“I’m a dog!?”

“Aren’t you happy about that? Come on, bark.”

“Wow, like a true queen! Lol”

It’s nothing more than a superficial conversation. But, both Gami and Sakan are just rocking such looks, the atmosphere looked like it was sparkling.

“That’s why, I don’t have much time to talk with you. Bye Bye~” Gami twirled on the spot which made her skirt flutter, and walked away.

Right after she fully disappeared, I kept the same smile as I did before, and turned towards Sakana.

“What are you on about~?”

“Eh, did I say something weird?”

“Something about me and Gami dating or whatever.”

“I mean, I really feel like Gami’s taken a liking to you. The fact that she’s bringing up the mixer is probably only to get you jelly, you don’t think?”

“Didn’t you hear her? I’m but her dog, woof woof!”

“Why are you that good at mimicking a dog! Lol. Anyway, I got a date of my own to attend to, so if you’d excuse me~” Sakana walked away while laughing.

I mean, I get where he’s coming from, and I don’t mind all of this love talk, but I wish that he wouldn’t wrap me up in that. Of course, they’re free to go on mixers and dates as much as they want. Whether it’s a popular person or normie, as long as they don’t bother me too much, it’s no problem. Even if it’s Gami or Sakana. Though, I feel like shit for putting these labels on them.

After all, I’m the one acting like a normie so that I fit in their rows, so I chose this for myself…EIther way, that means I got free time today. I guess I’ll head straight home and read some light novels.

Right as I headed to the shoe lockers, I spotted Aotsuki-san in front of the materials room, talking with our homeroom teacher. Ah, I got a bad feeling about this. Some event is gonna happen.

“Aotsuki-san, are you doing your day duty all alone again? Didn’t I tell you to come here with your partner?”

“They’re probably skipping work again.”

“Sheesh…Doing it all alone must be tough, I’m sure……Ah.” I tried to quickly walk past them, but Sensei spotted me nonetheless. “Yafune-kun! Perfect timing. Could you help out Aotsuki-san?”

“Sensei, I don’t need any help.”

“Shush. You’ll never finish it all alone. Not to mention that I want you to get along with people. That’s why, get this work done together with someone else!”

Our homeroom teacher Shirahama-sensei is quite friendly with her students, but also has no delicacy at all, so it’s like a two-edged sword. With her cheerful attitude and cute appearance, she definitely has the popularity necessary with the boys, but I hear that a lot of girls can’t stand her. Although Aotsuki-san showed clear disinterest with her eye movement, Sensei didn’t catch on to this at all, and continued.

“It’s fine~ Just clean the materials room, and throw unneeded documents in the shredder! Yafune-kun, you can’t be skipping out either! Once you’re done, you better come back to report to me as the two of you!”

Despite the actual person responsible for duty having skipped? Unreasonable. After explaining to us how to organize the documents, and how to take care of them, Sensei walked away. Thanks to this, Aotsuki-san and I were left alone in that room—

“……”

“……”

We exchanged a simple gaze, but shared no conversation. With a bit of distance between the two of us, we started working.

 

 

“Is this really a good idea…?”

This materials room is pretty much like a storage room. There’s mountains of old documents, and other printouts, covered by dust, so cleaning up everything took quite some time. I could see the sky outside the window slowly turning red as well. In the end, until we finished most of the work, we didn’t exchange any words, almost like we were robots doing an office job. Although it was just the two of us right now, the atmosphere was clearly different from our usual meetings at the park.

“Aotsuki-san, are you done?”

“I only have to organize the contents of the cardboard box…”

“Then let me help you, and get this done.”

When I opened up the cardboard box, I was greeted by old printouts.

“Why do they have all this stuff here? And, why do we have to take care of them in the first place?”

This really is bad luck for both Aotsuki-san and me, being asked to clean up this mess.

“…Huh? What’s that?”

In the corner of the box was a thick notebook. It was pink in color, the cover full of stars and cats, giving off the girliness.

“Maybe someone forgot this here?” Flipping over the pages, I read some of the contents. “It’s not for use in class, but more like a diary…?”

“…I don’t think we should be looking into this.” Aotsuki-san gave me an awkward gaze.

She probably doesn’t feel comfortable prying into this.

“You’re right, but leaving it here is…you know. Maybe there’s a name or class written on it…Though, I think it belongs to a graduate…”

By flipping through the pages, I arrived at some with pictures on it.

“What are these drawings?”

A three-cornered hat, a long robe…and a wooden wand? It looked like a witch you’d see from all the fantasy stories we’ve seen before. That being said, the drawing isn’t all that great, so it’s a bit hard to tell.

*25th of July

I met a witch.

They wore a hat and clothes dark like the night. Golden hair reflecting the moonlight. A long wand made out of wood.

It was the appearance of a witch I’ve seen in picture books I read when I was young, not to mention that she was a really cute girl…The first moment I saw her, I just knew that my own eyes were sparkling in excitement.

When I jumped at her to give her a big hug, she only hit me with her wand. She was very angry. ‘It’s dangerous for humans to touch me. Don’t get too close to me’, she said.

The Witch’s name is Shell, it seems. From what she told me, not many people can see Shell, although it’s a bit different from the whole sixth sense thing, but you need a knack for that stuff at least.

Though, Shell herself can decide if she wants to show herself…but, it’s rare for a human like me to see her just like that.

Shell told me to ‘Go home’, and didn’t talk with me at all at first.

But, meeting an actual Witch was a first for me, so I wanted to get along with her, which is why I one-sidedly talked all the time.

About school, about a cake I ate recently, about the black cat I see when I walk to school.

Shell never gave a comment or any hint that she was listening, but she just sat down nearby, showing no signs of walking away.

After the day ended, and the sun started to set, Shell told me ‘I’m going to do my daily practice of magic, so watch me if you feel like it’. She swung her wand, and—In the dimly-lit sky, like large fireflies, fluffy spheres of light appeared.

It was a beautiful sight that I had never seen before, and it made me want to keep watching it forever.

When I smiled with a ‘It’s beautiful’, Shell’s cheek turned faintly red, and she averted her face while saying ‘Is that so’.

She called it her daily practice, but maybe she just wanted to show me this?

I think that Shell is just easily flustered, but really kind deep down.

I came to love Shell. When I asked her if I could come visit her the next day as well, she didn’t look me in the eyes, and said ‘As long as you don’t touch me, I don’t mind’.

Since she didn’t directly say no, I felt happy. I’ll definitely come visit Shell tomorrow, and the day after.

 

 

“What the heck is this…I thought that this was a diary, but this sounds more like the manuscript for a novel…I mean, witch Shell?”

That was a sudden twist into the fantasy genre, alright. Maybe the person who wrote this came up with some plot mid-way through their diary. That tends to happen right, this period where you just feel like working on a manga or novel. I always lose motivation before I actually start, though.

“……!”

“Aotsuki-san? What’s wrong?”

“Hey, show that to me!” She had been taking glances at the notes so far, only to now completely rip it out of my hands, running her eyes over the pages.

What was that about ‘We shouldn’t be looking at this…’, huh? You’re reading it like your life depended on it. What’s going on? That sure is a serious expression. Since Aotsuki-san got completely engrossed in the notes, I just silently stood next to her, reading through it. After that initial entry, the notes described the other encounters between the author and that witch.

At first, the witch was cold and distant, but she slowly opened up to the writer. At the same time, the author started to treasure the witch more and more. However, their relationship came to an end together with the passing of summer.

*31st of August

Summer break is going to end.

Spending this summer break with Shell, this might have been the most fun time in my life so far.

Because other people can’t see Shell, we couldn’t go to a place with lots of people. However, listening to the cicadas on the tree branch, cooling our legs in the nearby river, and watching the stars as we laid on the grass…

It wasn’t anything special by any means, but to me, it was something like a treasure. Starting tomorrow, school will begin, but I will still come meet Shell even after that—or that’s what I planned at least. However.

—Shell told me not to meet her again. When I asked her why, this is what she said.

I’m a human, and Shell is a witch. We are two existences that should have never met. That’s why Shell said ‘I can’t steal any more of your time’. She said that humans should spend time with other humans. And, that she was deciding on this for my sake.

…If I had to guess, Shell must have seen me rejecting an invitation from my friends a few days ago. She must be worried that I would not make any more friends at this rate. Since Shell can’t be seen by anybody else, and I keep playing with her, they might think of me as weird…

But, I love Shell. It’s just just any like. A while back, I realized. My feelings for Shell are different from normal friendship. Whenever I’m with her, my face burns up, and my heart races annoyingly loud. Just her existence makes my heart all warm.

Any other person isn’t good enough. It can only be Shell. After all, she always listened to my stories. When I was sad because I got in a fight with Mom, she didn’t ask anything, and just gave me a beautiful flower. When I said that I wanted to see a rainbow, she made water spray beneath the sunlight to create a rainbow-colored bridge.

Shell does have a bad tone at times, and is really clumsy. Depending on people, they might say that she had a bad personality (although barely anybody knows her to begin with).

However, I know that Shell is more kind than anybody else. That’s why I told Shell. ‘If I have you, I don’t need any friends’. And then, she showed me an expression I had never seen on her before. She showed a faint smile, but her eyes weren’t happy at all, instead looking like she was about to cry.

She said that all feelings are temporary. She said that all my feelings are fake. And, that I was scared of realizing this.

I didn’t know how to properly convey my feelings to her. My words got stuck in my throat. So instead, I asked Shell. ‘Do you not like me?’. And then, she said.

—’I hate people like you.’

Right after, she hid her own appearance with magic. No matter how much I screamed, and searched for her, she never appeared in front of me again. For a long time, the tears wouldn’t stop streaming down my eyes. Maybe she really doesn’t want to see me ever again…But, even so. My feelings aren’t temporary. Even if she hates me, I will always…always love Shell.

 

 

“What a sad story…”

“…This…”

“Aotsuki-san?”

Her voice was quivering.

“I…I…”

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

She lifted up her gaze from the notes, and directed it at me. A strong conviction filled her eyes.

“I…want to search for the owner of these notes!” She said with a clear voice.

I’ve never seen Aotsuki-san like this. She always lives on a whim, but this might be the first time she wants to do something herself, or searching for something she wants to do. Since she is this serious, I want to wholeheartedly support her, but…

“But, these notes don’t have any name written on them…”

Even at the back of the notes, or on the numerous pages we flipped through, there was no name of the writer to be found. Even in the diary itself, it’s all first-person. There’s some names in there that belonged to friends, like ‘Acchan’ or ‘Yuupon’, but no clue what their real names are.

The diary entries after the 31st of August changed drastically, as there were a lot of days between the entries, and it’s only a few lines every time. However, reading up until the very end, it was clear that the owner had already graduated.

“For now, let’s get the cleaning done and report to Sensei. Maybe she’ll know something that can help us.”

 

 

“Eh? That’ll be impossible~!”

And this is the response we got from Shirahama-sensei after showing her the notes and saying ‘We want to look for the owner’.

“I mean, I don’t know that student, and if I had to guess, they probably graduated quite some time ago. Then I’d have to tell you what all these graduates are doing right now, so that won’t work, never never!”

“…Sensei, I really need to find out where that person is right now.”

“I get that, but you know…” Sensei showed a troubled expression towards Aotsuki-san. “If we don’t know their name, and what year they graduated at, searching for them is practically impossible. Even if we found a teacher who recognized the handwriting, we cannot leak any personal information like phone number or anything of the sort, as this is against the school rules.”

She was perfectly right about that. Just think about how the person in question must feel after we look into their personal life just because we selfishly read that diary entry. Though they’re partially to blame as well since they forgot their diary here in the first place.

“B-But…!”

“Why are you so determined to find the author of this diary in the first place, Aotsuki-san?”

Asked by Sensei, Aotsuki-san got her words stuck in her throat, and averted her eyes.

“…There’s no real reason.”

That’s gotta be the worst choice of words here. I don’t know her reason at all, but she could have just come up with anything instead of that. At this rate, she won’t get Sensei’s support.

“Thanks for cleaning up that room. But, properly dispose of those notes, okay? And, it’s late, so go home.”

Being sent off with a smile, the two of us left the staff room. Now then, what should we do about this? Since Aotsuki-san’s home is close, we’d probably end up going home together. Walking to the train station, taking the same train home…Although there’s barely any students around, if someone saw us on our way home, it’d just invite a misunderstanding.

“I’m going ahead. Can’t you just take a quick detour somewhere?”

“Eh? I mean, we don’t need to go that far…”

However, she didn’t even listen to my words, and went straight ahead.

“…I’m saying that I don’t want to go home with you. I’m not being considerate or anything.”

…That way of phrasing it is screaming consideration 100%. She’s figured out what I was thinking. That I don’t want our other classmates to find out about how the two of us regularly talk. But, exactly because Aotsuki-san isn’t blaming or reproaching me for this, I can feel the guilt bite into me. At times like these, she could just say ‘How idiotic’, and call it a day.

 

 

On the way home, I took a quick stop at the nearby bookstore, and read through the recent male-oriented fashion magazines (sadly not light novels because somebody might see me here). Following that, I hopped on the train, and walked home—

As always, Aotsuki-san sat on the swing in the usual park. However, the difference compared to before was that she simply sat on the swing, no book in her hands. It was apparent that she was in low spirits. Was it really that much of a shock that finding the owner of those notes was pretty much impossible? Why? Why are these notes so important to her?

Maybe it was someone she knew? No, we don’t even know the name of that person. I have no idea. But, I can tell how grave it must be, considering how dejected she was. Not like another person can understand what people go through. The only example I can give is when people insult me and call me gross for liking anime, despite it being something very important to me. Since I don’t want others to step on what I like, I hid it out of my own desire. That’s why I know that other people have things precious to them that I might never understand.

“…Ah…”

In the meantime, Aotsuki-san had raised her head, and saw me.

“You’re still here, huh.”

“You don’t need to force yourself.”

Or so she said, and I was reminded that I still practically ignore her at school. But, since I’m a coward, I change the topic.

“About these notes.”

“…Yeah.”

“The owner of these notes…I don’t know who they might be, but they were important to you right, Aotsuki-san?”

“……”

Silence meant affirmation. Though, I bet her personality would forbid her to tell me any more than that.

—Even so, I want to help her. Of course, it’s pathetic that I want to feel that way, despite us not even being friends. The person I want to save is myself first and foremost. I want to help my past self, who had no allies whatsoever because I was bullied for being a disgusting otaku. I see myself in her solitary and clumsy attitude.

In the end, humans only exist to help themselves. It’s disgusting. That being said, even if it’s just a pretense, it’s better than doing nothing at all. It’s perfectly fine for Aotsuki-san to hate this selfish me.

“Can you show me these notes one more time?”

Sensei told us to dispose of it, but I bet Aotsuki-san hasn’t thrown it away yet. As expected, she took out these notes from her bag. Given them, I looked through them one more time. There might be some crucial information in there. Can’t rely on the school after all. As I figured, the final page was extremely interesting.

 

 

With this, I will graduate.

I’m happy that I managed to get accepted to my desired university, but since it’s a university far away, I won’t be able to stay in this town.

To be perfectly honest, I’m sad.

Because, this is the town I met Shell at.

Ever since that day, I never met her again…

But, I still remember Shell.

Hey, Shell. You called my feelings temporary and fake, but…I still remember you.

You said that you hated me, but I still love you even now.

Of course, I don’t really understand how I could fall in love with you like this just over the course of a summer.

But, you were the person who caught on to my loneliness. That may be the reason I fell in love with you.

Shell, you tried to act cold, but you’re the type who gets lonely easily. I tried to keep up a smile, but in reality, I was lonely, and sad. I wanted someone to see right through me. Since we were both similar, you understood me. But, not enough in the end, it seems.

It’s not fair for you to leave me, saying that it’s for my sake even. I’m lonely, Shell. But, if I were to cry, then you might hate me even more. That’s why I’ll leave this city with a smile.

—But, I loved this town, and the school. So, I want to come back at least once a year…Maybe for the culture festival. Every year, the classes work really hard, so it might be fun to see. Not to mention…

No matter how lonely or sad I may be, I don’t want to forget this town.

 

 

“…Maybe we might be able to find the owner at the culture festival?”

Aotsuki-san’s lit up like a star in the night. That being said, there’s no guarantee that the owner really comes to the culture festival every year. They might be busy with university, or their own work even, not giving them enough time to come home. I just can’t come up with any other method at this point.

“But…how are we going to look for them at the culture festival?”

Since I’m still a first-year, I never experienced the culture festival myself, but I came to visit last year, so I have a general conception of how a culture festival is. Just as the diary said, our school’s culture festival has a lot of effort packed into it, with a lot of visitors stopping by. There’s no way we could ask every single person there. If we just announced that the person lost it, they would probably hate us for it, and I doubt we can get permission from Sensei for it.

“This is pretty complicated. I’d be so much easier if they had just named themselves in the diary.”

“…But, leaving out a note for them to come to us would be nothing short of bullying.” Aotsuki-san cast her face down. “I guess it’s impossible.”

Since ‘Bad mood = hurry up and do something’ is the mentality in my head, I forced out a cheerful voice.

“Then what about this!? We could set up a public announcement only the person in question can understand!”

“Eh…what do you have in mind?”

“Well, you know! Just an idea!”

The thing is, I was thinking along as I was talking, so I don’t even know what I’m trying to say myself. But, leaving an awkward silence would be even worse, so I just kept on talking.

“A part of that diary is like a manuscript, right? There’s names coming up towards the end of it, and it even talks about this witch called Shell. So, why don’t we use that part for the culture festival.”

“Use that part?”

“I mean, for example……like a play?”

It’s a development that happens often in light novels, right. Talking about culture festival events, there’s always the two choices between a play, and a live concert. Maybe even cosplay cafes with all the beautiful heroines.

“But…it technically is a diary, so if we just put that into a play 1-to-1, it’d be like a violation of privacy.”

“Well yeah, the diary part is no-good. But, if we arrange the manuscript-esque idea of it into a play, then shouldn’t it be fine? We leave only the original material behind that the person in question will understand, and adjust the rest.”

“Arrange…leave behind only the original material…”

“Yup. We’ll use the part of the witch, and make the stage not modern Japan, but rather a fantasy world. A witch often appears in those kinds of settings, right? So then, we only have to add important events and phrases that make it easy for the owner to understand.”

Even while explaining my reasoning, I thought that I was being ridiculous. That’s just ludacris thinking. Not to mention that we’d need the help of everyone at the class in order to do that at the culture festival. On top of that, we’d have to create a script that everyone agrees with. Although we could force it through ourselves, it’s much easier with their help. That being said, it’s pretty much impossible. Especially considering Aotsuki-san’s position in class. Then again, I doubt Aotsuki-san would even be okay with this idea.

“…Well, you know, I’m sorry. I can’t think of anything else.”

“…You really are >useless<, Yafune-kun.”

“Haha, how harsh.”

“Eh, no, wait…”

“…Hm?”

“…No, it’s nothing. I can’t say it anyway.” Aotsuki-san swung on the swing, and jumped off, sticking a beautiful landing.

I might have been seeing things, but it felt like the dejected expression she had until now completely vanished. If anything, she seemed motivated—

“Yafune-kun.”

“Eh, wha—”

Right when she called out my name, Aotsuki-san approached me with her face. To be perfectly honest, she was super close. We were at a distance close enough for our lips to touch.

…Eh? What? Is she giving me the signal to kiss her? But, her eyes aren’t closed. She’s staring at me, even. Also, why would she even go for a kiss here? We’re not even a couple. But, seeing her this up-close, she really is a beauty.

“Um…Aotsuki-san?”

This is bad. Because she’s this close to me, I can pick up a sweet scent from her. I wonder what kind of treatment she’s giving that glossy hair of hers…Not to mention what shampoo. However, before a dangerous impulse got the better of me, Aotsuki-san moved her

“…Aotsuki-san? What was that about?”

“…Nothing really.”

“You say that a lot, I feel like…I mean, that just now was…”

“…? What, do you have a complaint or anything?”

“I mean…if you get that close to me, I can’t help but think you’re going for a kiss.”

In response to my words, Aotsuki-san tilted her head in confusion, frozen stiff. Crap, I was trying to act all calm and…well, non-creepy, but my voice was quivering all over the place. Did my gross thoughts leak out completely!?

Inside my heart, I was panicking like crazy, and it seemed like Aotsuki-san finally caught on to what I was talking about, as her eyes shot up.

“Wha…w-w-what are you thinking, you pervert!”

“I mean, with your face that close…Also, aren’t you panicking a bit too much?”

“I-It’s because you suddenly brought up a k-k…kiss! So lewd! R18!”

“I’m pretty sure that a kiss goes into all-ages!?”

At first, I thought she was just acting like a tsundere, but I guess she’s just inexperienced.

“J-Just to let you know, but I don’t see you in that way at all!”

“Yup, I know.”

Even if she really were to hold some sort of positive affection towards me, that is something that should not grow in any shape or form. Of course, I don’t hate Aotsuki-san or anything. However, as we aren’t even friends, there’s no way we could go beyond that.

Not to mention that Aotsuki-san doesn’t know who I really am. Knowing that she would hold affection towards a fake self would just be too ironic. However, she’s not the one at fault for that. It’s all mine for hiding my true self. It’s utterly selfish to hide your true self only then to beg for being understood. I’m the one deceiving her, and the one who deserves all the blame.

—That’s why I won’t act affectionate towards Aotsuki-san, and I want her to do the same towards me.

 

 

“It’s time to decide what you want to do for the culture festival, so properly talk it through with everyone~!”

Coincidentally enough, during the following morning’s homeroom, Shirahama-sensei brought up this very topic.

“I have other things to take care of, so I’ll leave the rest to the class representatives! Bye bye~” And with these words, Sensei left for good.

She’s as relaxed as always, huh. The class representatives stood in front of the blackboard, asking for everyone’s attention.

“Does anybody have a special wish?”

Sileeeeeence.

Like it was a contract, everybody stayed silent. Well, it’s a tough situation. Especially as the first person. You don’t really want to stand out, nor be ridiculed for your idea. For most people, it’d be their preferred result that someone else would just decide for them. Nobody wants to carry the responsibility.

This’ll turn into a long run, for sure. No way anybody would raise their hand in such a situ—

“………”

As I observed my surroundings, meeting gazes with other people, I spotted it in the corner of my view. There was a hand, raised by a single individual.

“Eh…A-Aotsuki-san.”

Called out by the class president, she slowly stood up.

—Don’t tell me…No, no way. This must be some misunderstanding, right.

Aotsuki-san gently walked towards the front of the class, and when she arrived at the blackboard, she turned towards everyone—

“Our class…will hold a play.”

She already decided on that!? She was actually serious about what we talked about yesterday!? And even if she was, how can she calmly announce that in front of everyone!?

Because of this sudden announcement, the class was disrupted and left in confusion. Is…this my fault? Because I said something stupid yesterday, she’s now…Eh, how am I even supposed to help with this?

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

Right when nobody knew what to say, a bothered voice disrupted the silence.

“Even though you never talk with anybody, sitting in the corner of the classroom, you suddenly want to work for the culture festival? Who do you think you are?” Of course, this complaint came from none other than Mikagami Masuzu, our Queen Gami. “Do you want to stand out that badly? That’s cringe~”

“…That’s…not it…”

It was the same with her announcement just now, but her voice was constantly about to cut out. She must be nervous. Even if she’s famous for possessing a poisonous tongue—No, exactly because of that, she has trouble stating her feelings in front of people like this. She should be aware that her idea would not be accepted by most people for exactly that reason. And even so, she acted. That just shows how desperate she is.

“I’ll take responsibility. And I’ll properly do my job.”

“Huh…’zat so.” Gami stared at Aotsuki-san, emitting insane amounts of pressure. “So then, if you’re going to take care of the script, the main role, and everything else, then I’m down. Me and the others definitely won’t be helping you though.” Gami let out an arrogant snort, like she was aware that Aotsuki-san wouldn’t be able to pull it off.

The responsibility on Aotsuki-san was far too large. She shouldn’t give in to this provocation…However.

“F-Fine, I’ll do that!”

Aotsuki-san immediately jumped on it! Maybe think about your actions some more! You’ll end up in big trouble otherwise!

“……Hmm.” Gami’s eyes looked like a predator’s looking at its prey. “Fine by me, then. Anybody got anything against it?”

Of course, if the queen said so, then nobody could object. Though, I doubt anybody had any objection to begin with. They might not be perfectly fine with it, but as long as the responsibility doesn’t fall on them, they’re fine.

“Then it’s decided~ I wasn’t feeling any preparations anyway. So if I can push off all the work onto Aotsuki-san, we can play around~!”

I guess you could consider it lucky that we found something to do for the culture festival this easily, but…Rather than playing around, I can see nothing but trouble here.

*

I have a curse plaguing me, which turns every sign of positive affection into the opposite. The only way to remove that curse is probably to meet the witch who put it on me in the first place. The name of the witch in that diary…’Shell’.

That’s the same witch who put the curse on me. And ever since then, she’s never appeared in front of me again. No matter how much I searched for her, finding her was impossible. But, if I could meet the owner of that diary, I might be able to. That’s all the options I have. Even this small thread of hope, I can’t let it escape.

Before heading to sleep, I was lying on my bed, wearing my pajamas as I looked up at the ceiling—I don’t want this curse to be gone fully. This is something that I did to myself after all. Just…only one time, I want to tell Yafune-kun about my honest feelings. Tell him that I’m thankful, and reassure him that he’s much more kind than he might think. I don’t need anymore than that. She can seal my positive affection again after that.

But, I just don’t want Yafune-kun to think that I actually hate him…For that sake, I tried my best during today’s homeroom class…! I was so nervous telling everyone of my idea. I knew that those who can’t stand me would complain.

Not to mention that this is our first culture festival in high school. There’s probably many other things people want to do, so I didn’t expect my selfish desires to simply be accepted like that…But in the end, it was decided that we would be doing a play after all, and I was relieved to know that I was allowed to take care of the script.

…Though I bet that Mikagami-san did it only to make me suffer. Little did she know that this is exactly what I was hoping for. Even if she looks down on me, I don’t care. She’s right after all. I barely get involved in class, so I got some nerve wanting to suddenly take the initiative. I understand that everybody hates me.

…Even so, I can’t let this chance escape. I need to search for the owner of those notes.

Still, Yafune-kun really is kind, and so reliable…While tightly hugging my pillow, those thoughts filled my head. At school, he doesn’t seem like he’s willing to spend time with me, and we only really talk at that park. But, that’s to be expected. I can’t even say ‘thank you’ or ‘I’m sorry’. All I can do is insult him.

At this rate, Yafune-kun will get wrapped up in this mess, and everyone will treat him weirdly. I’m the only one who has to suffer through that. I’m thankful to him, but if I told him about my feelings…he’d probably deny them. But, even if Yafune-kun himself thinks he’s not kind at all, I see him as someone wonderful.

Even if you can’t come to treasure and like yourself, there are people who will disagree with you. But…because of my condition, I can’t tell him that. I thought that maybe I could convey it through something else but words. Maybe he might understand what I feel just by looking at my eyes…They say that your eyes are the mirror of your soul.

With these thoughts, I approached Yafune-kun’s face last night in the usual park. A-And then, he got the wrong idea that I wanted to ki…kiss him! Even though that wasn’t my attention at all!

I-It’s true that I like Yafune-kun, but that’s the friendship kind of like, and definitely not in the romantic sense! I only want to tell him my feelings of gratitude, nothing more!

A-Anyway, in order to tell Yafune-kun my gratitude, I really need to take care of this curse. For that, I’ll try my hardest…at the culture festival. Even if I have to do it all on my own. Because…I don’t want to bother you any more than I already did, Yafune-kun. I want you to smile with everyone, without me around…

B-But…if possible, even if it’s only for a brief moment, if you were to watch over me…I’d be really happy.

*

A week passed after Aotsuki-san’s idea of doing a play for the culture festival was decided. Right now, we’re in the middle of self-study.

“Our club’s doing crepes for the culture festival~ We tried making some before, and everybody just used whatever ingredients they felt like~ Was super fun though!”

“Listen to this~ my club’s doing chocolate bananas! Isn’t that super lewd? Lol”

“Compared to that, we barely have to prepare anything for our class~”

Although we received printouts to work on during self-study, the excellent students already finished them, and the others just copied the work, so most people already formed groups to talk. Since Aotsuki-san could not profit from that at all, she just sat in the corner of the classroom, facing her own notes.

I did see a faint glimpse of these notes, and it seemed like she was working on the manuscript for the play. As of late, she’s only been working on that the past few days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that work continued even late into the night. Ever since that homeroom class, I didn’t even see her at the park…

She might seem perfect, but I can see her losing focus at times. Even now, she’s trying to stay awake by pulling on her cheek, or stabbing her pen into her hand. To be honest, it was painful to watch. After all, I brought up the idea, so it’s partially my responsibility. Can I really just leave her be like that?

—Am I not going to do anything yet again?

A flashback played in my head, taking me back to my second year in middle school, the day of the sports festival. It was a clear sky, with strong sunlight despite it being fall already, and the scent of the sports grounds tickled my nose. My classmate who had been all alone after the festival, and me, who just acted like I wasn’t seeing anything—

“Hey, Yafune.” As I was lost in my thoughts, Gami tapped me on the shoulder. “What are you spacing out for? Anyway, Bubble Pearl’s new song is crazy good, don’t you think? Here, listen. And, sing that next time we’re going for some karaoke~”

She forcefully stuffed one side of her earphones in my ear, and kept the other half in her own. When she played the music, it really felt like I wasn’t allowed to think about anything else, and the pressure coming from her told me as much. I get it, I really do. If I made Aotsuki-san my ally now, I’d lose my position in class. I’m not that stupid.

“So then—did—and…Hey, Yafune? Are you listening?”

“Hm? Sorry Gami, what were you saying?”

“Huh? You dare not listen to me?”

“Soz soz. I was just focussing on the song. It’s godlike alright.”

“Right? But no talking your way out of it.” Gami pulled out the single earphone again, and blew some air into my ear. “You only need to listen to my voice. You’re my dog after all.”

“Hey now, who’s your dog~?” I retorted, but below my smile I was just thinking how nice it must be to be born with such innate talent to rule over others, overflowing with confidence like the normie she was, she’s definitely the exact opposite of me.

Especially if you put Gami and Sakana together, the difference in levels between me and them is just painfully obvious. I’m only putting up a good-looking face, and only my gross true self lies beneath that. I wonder why nobody realizes. Despite us being the same on the surface, we couldn’t be more different. It makes me want to scream ‘You don’t even realize that there’s a gross otaku within your group!?’.

Then again, I guess I’m the ultimate evil here, putting labels on everybody and everything around me. But, I can’t go back to those hellish days of my past. That’s why I worked this hard to change myself. Then, what else am I supposed to do here?

Search for a way that allows me to deal with this without losing my position, of course. What’s important isn’t keeping it a secret no matter what, but rather to get things over without having the need to reveal anything.

 

 

“Welcome……Ah, Yafune-kun. Been a while~ How rare, all alone. What’s up?”

After classes ended, I made my way to the family restaurant, where a Senpai I’ve known ever since I transferred to the new middle school is working at, after my new debut. He’s attending the same high school.

“It’s been a while~ I came here to meet you, Namiki-senpai.”

“Wah, you’re making me blush. There’s gotta be some ulterior motive, right?” He showed me a handsome smile together with a cheerful voice.

Whenever I meet him, it’s just so dazzling. Unlike me, he’s an actual normie, born to stand above others.

“For now, I’ll just get an order in. Since I’m the customer, you better treat me right~ Lol.”

“Then at least order something expensive to make it worth my time, dear customer~”

“Hey now, what kind of tone is that, lol.”

Although he’s one year older than me, we can hold a frank conversation like this. He hates people who are too stiff after all. When I was in my second year in middle school, I got to know Senpai through a contact of mine, and he was the most popular guy.

I ordered the use of the drinkbar, some friend food, and fried potatoes. After waiting for a moment, Senpai delivered the food to my table. Although Senpai couldn’t exactly sit at my table, he at least talked to me a bit, since the restaurant wasn’t too full of customers right now.

“So, what brings you here today, Yafune? You definitely didn’t come here just to meet me, right? What are you plotting?”

“That’s Senpai for you, so sharp~” Getting some coke from the drink bar, I let out a laugh to keep the tension comfortable. “To be perfectly honest, there’s something I need some advice on.”

“Hmmm, then let me hear you out.”

“There’s some trouble going on in my class, you know~”

“Ah, I feel like I heard about that. There’s this amazing girl in your class, right? That rumoured beauty.”

“Which one are you talking about? Aotsuki-san? Gami? They’re both crazy beauties. Anyway, I wanted to borrow some of your strength, see.”

“Ehhh, what should I do about that? Don’t wanna get hated by the cuties~”

“But, don’t I have a favor with you, Senpai? I’m your cupid in love, right?”

That’s right, the girl Senpai had feelings for back in middle school happened to be in my class, and my seat neighbour. That’s why I asked that girl about all the stuff she liked, places she liked to visit, stores she often visited, and relayed all of that to him.

“You’re still a thing, right? Aren’t you two lovebirds.”

“Shut it, I’m the type of man who pours all my love into my relationship!”

I wasn’t trying to make fun of him or anything. After all, these two had been dating ever since they got together in middle school, so I genuinely think they’re admirable. If I wanted to, I might be able to get a girlfriend that’s only in it for the looks, but I doubt that we could stay together for that long of a time. Not to mention that I’d feel guilty for deceiving her. That’s why I’m not even looking for a romantic relationship. Neither do I think that the real me would be able to get a girlfriend either.

“Well, whatever. I’ll hear you out after my shift is over. No promises though.”

“At least say you’ll help me even if it’s just a pretense. I’ll treat you to something.”

“Moron, I’m not so pitiful to have my junior treat me to something. Better make it a large ramen bowl at least!”

“Which is it? Lol.”

We both were laughing, and I thought about my future plan of action. I don’t like joining the ring of the strong, but the more people I can rely on, the better. If I could get his help, and succeed in my plan…

 

 

“Sup!”

Namiki-senpai’s footwork is fast. The day after asking him for advice, once lunch break rolled around, he came to my class.

“I came over to play!”

“Eh, it’s Namiki-senpai!”

“Wahhh, what brings you to our class?”

Although our school years are different, when it comes to someone as famous as Senpai, even the people from the first year know about him.

“Well, I’m part of the culture festival execution committee, so I need to check out what the other classes are up to. How’s it going? Are things making progress?”

Despite Senpai being cheerful no response came, and the atmosphere cooled down. However, Senpai didn’t move at all, and kept up his gentle and reassuring smile.

“Hm, what’s this gloomy atmosphere for? Let me guess, you didn’t make any progress at all, right? You’ll become the laughing stock of the other classes at this rate~”

I’m sure that everyone must agree subconsciously. Even if the preparations were easy-going, nobody wanted to get ridiculed when it came to the actual day of the culture festival.

“Senpai, even if you’re excited for the culture festival, you shouldn’t be so passionate, it’s creepy!”

“Shut up, Yafune! Don’t call it creepy, you’re hurting me!”

As the atmosphere grew awkward, I jumped in, and brightened up the mood. Because of Senpai’s retort, laughter filled the classroom.

“Alrighto, Yafune! I’ll order you to become this class’ culture festival hero!”

“Huh!? What are you talking about?!”

“It’s a hero’s duty to make the culture festival succeed! You have to save this class!”

“That makes even less sense! Lol”

The other people around us joined in, screaming stuff like ‘Why not! Go and do it, Yafune!’ or ‘Yo, culture festival hero!’ and so on. Alright, with this I got the official right to help out at the culture festival. Otherwise, nobody would bother to work for Aotsuki-san’s sake, and it’ll only worsen her position.

That’s why I’ll use an excuse like this, and become the pillar. However, I can’t destroy my own position either. At the same time, I can’t just leave Aotsuki-san alone. Even if that’s the case, I’m not ready to throw away everything for her. I need to keep my position. I’m not as clumsy as she is, nor am I straight-forward. Neither am I clever enough. The best I can do is pull through until the very end.

 

 

“And this being the case, I’m your culture festival hero!”

“…Are you stupid?”

I really think I tried my best there, but the person I all did it for seemed to disagree. Well, that’s about what I expected. Despite not showing up at the park for the past few days, almost as if she was ready to give me an earful, she was waiting for me as she stood in front of the swing.

“What happened this afternoon…That was your doing, right?”

“Who knows? You got any proof?”

“…Why did you purposefully stuck your head in this trouble?”

“So you’re aware that this is a lot of trouble?” When I provoked her, I got a sharp glare back.

“…I never asked for your help.”

“Yeah, you really aren’t fair, Aotsuki-san.”

“Huh?”

The people in this world always split between ‘truth’ and ‘lie’. However, a person’s feelings can’t be split in two like that, and oftentimes it’s not black or white, but grey.

“Even if you didn’t want help, when I looked at you like that, I was just forced to help, that’s all.”

This is the truth, as well as a lie.

“…You…really are an idiot.”

“Haha, I just—”

—I just want to be friends with you, Aotsuki-san.

I don’t want to only talk with her here in this dark park. I want to have a normal conversation in the classroom. I want to help you without having to rely on these stupid plots. These feelings were bottled inside of me, but…

It’s a wish that will never be granted, and a fantasy I don’t even want to grant. It’s like the whole ‘I want good grades, but I don’t want to study’. I don’t feel like wanting to reveal myself, nor lose my position in class. I don’t have the determination for that. In the end, the people around me are what’s most important. That’s why I can only help her in such a roundabout way. I’m as selfish as always, and I really hate myself for it.

“No, it’s nothing.”

“Is that so.”

“You’re not gonna ask?”

“Everybody has something they’d rather not say…Same goes for me.”

“Like the reason you’re so desperate to find the owner of those notes?”

“That’s one, yeah…” After a brief silence, her words continued. “…There are things that I want to tell you right now, but I can’t.”

“…And what is that?”

“I can’t tell you. Not now.”

“Why?”

“Who knows?”

“Not now means…One day?”

“……”

“Come on, say something~”

“…Shut up.”

“Aotsuki-san.”

“What?”

A cool fall breeze blew past us, making her hair shake. The comfortable wind carried over a sweet fragrance, which made my heart skip a beat.

“Let’s just give it our best. We only get one chance at our first culture festival in high school.”

Aotsuki-san blinked a few times, only to hide her face behind her notes. Even without seeing her expression, I could tell. Her ears were red.

“………Yeah. I’ll try my best. Obviously.”

 

 

And so, the lunch break of the following day.

“Hello hello, it’s the culture festival hero!”

“What drugs are you on, Yafune~ Lol.”

I went to the school store to buy my lunch, and when I returned to the classroom, my classmates all broke out in laughter.

“I mean, I was asked by that Namiki-senpai, you know? Can’t exactly sit on my butt like that~”

“You were always pretty close with Namiki-senpai, right. I’d love to have a shot, so introduce me next time~”

“Yeah, not happening. He’s always lovey-dovey with his girlfriend.”

“Ehhh, what a shame. Maybe they’d break up if I seriously went for him~ He’s like so my type.”

Are you trying to break between those two lovebirds? Girls are friggin scary.

“Anyway, I really suck at rejecting someone else’s request~ We’ve known each other since middle school, so he might just leak some embarrassing secret of mine if I don’t comply~ Lol”

“Ehh, that sounds super interesting~ I really wanna hear about some of your embarrassing stories, Yafune~”

I was aiming for a quick joke for the matter, and yet I felt my chest hurt with pain. Calm down. I was only bullied in my first year of middle school. In my second year, I had already changed myself. No person here should know about my past.

“Anyway, this being the case…Aotsuki-saaan, let’s start working on the manuscript!”

Using this great duty bestowed upon me as a pretense, I called out to her in front of everyone. However, since this was the very first time, I couldn’t help but be nervous after all. Then again, we could just go over it when it’s just the two of us. But, then people would become suspicious of us when it came to the actual day of the play. That’s why, doing it openly from the very start is the best.

“Hey, Aotsuki-san, how far are you right now?”

I bet that there’s people listening in on our conversation right now. So, might as well get it over with.

“That…that doesn’t have anything to do with you.”

Aotsuki-san was clearly feeling awkward to suddenly act like we never talked, despite us talking almost every day at that park, and it showed in her voice. Despite me wanting to help her, she’s the one saving me instead. I suppressed the sharp pain in my chest, and laughed.

“Don’t be like that~ I’m the culture festival hero, you know? At least tell me your progress, will you?”

After she carefully searched for the right words, she gave an awkward response.

“…I still…haven’t finished a proper script…G-Got a problem with that?”

I could see several script books in her hands. It’s not that she wasn’t doing anything, but rather that she worked through several attempts, but couldn’t achieve the quality she was hoping to arrive at. It seems like she’s a bit of a perfectionist.

“I definitely want to bring in this witch girl character, but having one person play two roles is just too difficult…Not to mention that I can’t make all the tools needed either…”

I see. So because she doesn’t have any allies to help her, she’s the only actor, and is forced to limit the play. For a beginner, this is probably impossible to deal with.

“Then, how about I take up a role myself~”

“…Are you serious?”

“Super serious. I always wanted to participate in a play~”

“Remembering the phrases must be rough…I don’t care if you regret it.”

“Ehh, don’t be like that. My friends from middle school are coming to visit, so I definitely wanna show off. It’d be lame otherwise.”

I kept it as light-hearted and cheerful, talking to ensure that no bad mood could be born in the classroom.

“I don’t think you need to be so desperate about that.” For a second, the Queen’s cold voice filled the room. “Also, Yafune. Do you really plan on helping that girl?” Gami sat a bit further away from us at her seat, munching on her sandwiches, only to get up and approach us.

However, I kept up my fake smile.

“I mean, you heard about it, right? Namiki-senpai tasked me to become the culture festival hero~”

“Can’t you just ignore that?”

“Don’t be like that, Gami~ How about you join us? You’d definitely take the spotlight.”

“Of course I would. But, I can’t be bothered about that kind of thing. Also, she was the one who said she’d take care of it all on her own.”

“Don’t say that. You’re such a beauty, Gami, you need to show off.”

“……”

Well, I don’t think that my words particularly accounted for much. But, more than words, it’s just important to keep up a smile.

“Idiotic. Just do what you want.” Gami said, and left the classroom.

The second the door closed behind her, the atmosphere in the classroom grew more soft.

“…So anyway, I’ll take care of a role myself, Aotsuki-san~”

“…Are you sure about that?”

“Of course, of course. It’s decided. So, what kind of motive does the play have?”

The great premise is that the notes are the basis for the story. But, you can’t act that out at this rate, and in order to properly put that into a play, it’s probably easiest to overlap it with a fairytale.

“When talking about a story with a witch, why don’t we go for Cinderella or Snow White…But, with two people it’s pretty much impossible.”

You need a prince for either of those, as well as a step-mother, older sisters, and like seven dwarves.

“Hey! Would someone be willing to help out by playing a role? We’re recruiting over here!” I tried calling out to everyone with a cheerful voice, but…

Absolute silence. Nobody’s even looking over at us. Yeah, I figured as much~

“Sakanaaa! Help me out, my good friend!”

“Bring back a cute girl when you try to ask me for that. I don’t feel that way towards you~”

“You bastard.”

“But, I don’t mind.”

“Eh?”

I thought that he’d say no either way, so hearing a yes coming from him was honestly shocking. The others around me showed a similar reaction.

“I mean, this’ll be my first culture festival in high school, you know? I’d rather do something fun than nothing at all. I just didn’t want to be glared at by Gami, so I stayed silent until now~”

He said it like it was nothing, but honestly speaking, I figured that was the case. Since Gami can’t stand Aotsuki-san, nobody tries to go against her. Without Gami, I’m sure that many people would have actually offered to help. That being said, there’s no signs of them getting along anytime soon. It’s not like Aotsuki-san is exceptionally toxic towards Gami, but the opposite is the case.

I get how they must feel, not wanting to be involved. They don’t want to go against the all-mighty god. I can’t protect anybody as soon as they are hated by Gami.

“Ahh, but, if I’m going to participate, then I want a role that makes me look cool and stand out. Anything but that, like buying stuff or helping with the script is too much of a pain! I’ll let you two handle that~”

“You’re actually the worst, huh!?”

“How about you’re just thankful that I’m offering to help out? Just give me the role of the prince, alright! Do your best for the script~” Sakana waved his hand at me, and walked back to the ring of girls surrounding him.

Of course, these girls immediately joined in the fun with ‘Ehh, Sakana-kun will play the prince~?’ and ‘Now I’m looking forward to it~’ and so on.God dang it, why do I have such a guy as a friend. Can’t I just get some friend characters you see in light novels?

“Anyway, we have a witch, a girl, and a prince. So…Cinderella?”

“…A love story is a bit…”

“Why?”

“…Because…I can’t say any of…those lines…”

“You can’t say them?”

“It’s nothing…I’m saying that I don’t want to embarrass myself.”

“I see~ So then, The Little Mermaid?”

“The Little Mermaid?”

“In there, the little mermaid barely talks, right. There is some love there, but it’s more of a tragic love, so no embarrassing love scenes…”

“…I see…!” Aotsuki-san’s eyes started sparkling with hope.

…Looking at her like this, her expressions sure never stop changing, huh. Despite her choice of words being sharp and harsh, her expressions give her this youthful feeling, and I think it’s very cute. Why did I never realize that…I see, because it’s bright here. Before, we only talked in the dark and dimly-lit park. Beneath the light of the classroom, I can now get a proper look at her face.

Her serious gaze dropped down on the notes in front of her, and even such a simple action had been utterly entranced. When I snuck glances at the people around us, there were people who were giving off an aura along the lines of ‘Huh? Aotsuki-san is actually pretty cute?’, which makes sense, as she’s a beauty. Of course, the person in question had no idea of this, and just formed a fist with her hand.

“I feel like…I can do this now…I’ll try my best.”

 

 

Just as she said, she worked really hard to finish the script until the following day. So far, she only filled her own notebooks with her ideas, but now she typed everything on her PC, and handed me the paper to ‘read it’.

During recess, I ran my eyes over it, and once classes ended for the day, when everybody else had already left the classroom, the two of us stayed behind. I used that time to give her my impressions.

“I think the script is great. Though I didn’t expect you to finish it in one day.”

“Being forced to do all the roles myself was the breaking point after all. Now that I got more actors available, and the motive, it was much easier to write.”

“That’s amazing. Arranging the novel parts of the diary into The Little Mermaid…it doesn’t seem like this is your first time writing.”

“Not really…It’s my first time writing, but I do >hate< reading books in the first place.”

“Eh, you hate it?”

Why does it feel like her words didn’t match at all?

“Eh…Ah, well, there’s a lot of things you can hate in this world, right.”

“What a cynical way to look at it.”

“S-Shut up.”

“But, I do think that your script is great.”

With The Little Mermaid as the basis, the diary entries were properly incorporated into the script. It is still a yuri story, but since we only have one actor available, it was arranged that the witch was actually a male magician.

—During a certain summer, the Little Mermaid encountered the magician Shell. The two then proceed to meet every single day at the beach, and they open up towards each other. They talk, and the magician shows the Little Mermaid a lot of his magic, as the days go by. Eventually, the Little Mermaid becomes attracted to the magician. However, the magician thinks that the Little Mermaid actually has feelings for the prince.

One day, the Little Mermaid decides to take a step forward, and approaches the magician, saying ‘Won’t you grant my wish?’. In response to that, the magician hands the Little Mermaid magical medicine, still under the wrong idea that the mermaid’s wish is to be together with the prince.

As a result, with the power of the medicine, the Little Mermaid turns into a real princess, and the fiance of the prince. Not to mention that the magician adds a side effect where she can’t express her feelings of love for anybody but the prince.

Finally, the day of the marriage arrives, but the Little Mermaid still can’t get over the magician. The magician shares similar feelings for the mermaid, and regrets that he couldn’t convey his feelings, so he heads over to meet her.

They are reunited. Right as their hands were about to touch, they are captured by the country’s soldiers (which aren’t on stage, but we’ll find a way to deal with that), and are separated because of the prince’s orders. They both swear to eventually find each other again, and properly express their feelings—and that’s the end.

It’s a bit of a sad story, but both the notes as well as the original The Little Mermaid are tragedies after all. It’s a romantic fantasy set out to make you cry. Though it seems like the notes are rather forgotten, Aotsuki-san made sure to add certain phrases from the original in her play.

“…! R-Really?”

Oh, she seems happy about being praised. How cute…The way her eyes lit up there, if only she showed that kind of smile towards the others from our class, they’d surely welcome her as well.

“So then, I’ll use this as the manuscript, and go learn my phrases.”

“Yeah, that sounds good…But, what about Sakana-kun? You gave him the script this morning, right?”

“He went to play around with girls like always.”

“………Will he really be fine?”

“W-Well, I’ll have him join for sure next time. He seems to be willing to help out at least, so we gotta take what we can.”

Though, there’s a big chance he’ll just go ‘Can’t be bothered, practicing is boring’, and leave us again.

“Alright, then let’s start.”

It was our first attempt. We both had the manuscript in hand, reading our phrases out loud. Since we didn’t have any prince here to play the role, I took over. That’s fine and all, but…when it came to Aotsuki-san as the mermaid, well…Might as well play through it until the end.

“Phew…”

After we finished the last line, Aotsuki-san let out a satisfied sigh. She was sparkling, like she had laid her heart out.

“Yafune-kun, you’re not half bad. You might make it in the theatre club.”

I do act on a daily basis after all. 24/7, real time ad-lib. Though, I do take a break at home.

“How was I, Yafune-kun? What about my acting?” She looked at me in excitement, expecting some praise, if I had to guess.

“……”

“W-Wait a second, why are you looking away?”

“Can I be honest with you?”

“Of course. I want to hear what you really think.”

“It was super awful.”

“Wha?! That bad!?”

It looked like Aotsuki-san was struck by lightning.

“I mean, your voice was barely audible, and it was shaking like crazy.”

“I-I couldn’t help it, I barely do any acting like this, and I rarely talk in general…!”

“Your speaking was really monotone as well, and yet you were brimming with confidence, it’s actually pretty fun.”

“Y-You’re still not done!? Aren’t you going too far now!?”

“Well, it’s only this school’s culture festival, so it doesn’t matter much.”

“What are you talking about? If we’re going to do it, only perfection is acceptable! I just have to speak up louder, right! I’ll look up some voice training methods online!”

“I see. Just hope you make it in time for the culture festival.”

“M-Making fun of me…! Just watch, I’ll make your jaw drop, Yafune-kun!”

“That’s my reward for helping you?”

…Huh? We’re talking just fine, aren’t we. Oh crap, this is actually pretty fun. Even though there’s nothing fun here, I find myself smiling. How long has it been since I genuinely enjoyed talking at school like this?

 

 

“Practicing the acting is important as well, but we also need to focus on other preparations. Like costumes and all that. What about that?”

The following day after classes ended, as we were in the middle of our second practice session, I felt the urge to ask that. Since the culture festival is on the 10th and 11th of November, we barely have a month to prepare.

“I’ll do something about that. I’m not too bad when it comes to needlework.” She ran her fingers through her hair, showing an arrogant smile. “I’m not a good-for-nothing or anything. Definitely not.”

“Do you still feel pissed about the fact that I called your acting bad? That’s kinda funny.”

“Shut up! Also, what’s that tone for?” She raised her head, looking down at me. “I bet that you think of me as some clumsy and useless girl, right?”

“Of course not. You seem really good at sewing after all. Not to mention that you wrote the entire script on your own with no help whatsoever, so I can only admire that.”

“If you want to call me a loner, then just do that!?”

“Anyway, you also need to take care of stage props, and the bigger backgrounds.”

“Right…Not to mention that I need the materials for the costumes, so I should probably use the day tomorrow and go shopping.”

“Go shopping…All alone?”

“Who else would be able to tag along?”

“The person right in front of you? Or am I some ghost?”

“……Eh?”

What’s that reaction for? Is that such a shocking idea?

“You’re…coming with me, Yafune-kun?”

“…………Huh?”

Wait, now that she repeated my words, I actually showed the same reaction.

“I mean, after all I’m…”

Hm? What am I towards her? We’re not in a relationship that we’re friends. So then, am I some time-limited helper? An ally? Would that be an adequate way to describe our relationship? I don’t hate Aotsuki-san or anything, but I want to draw a proper line. If some Senpais at our school started to bully her, I won’t save her. I probably couldn’t save her. I just want to offer her as much help as I can, limited to the culture festival right now.

For that, I used Senpai’s help. I can’t risk my own position. That’s something I can’t back down from, and that probably won’t ever change. Not after everything I did to ‘change’ myself. It’s only logical to always treasure yourself the most. Wanting help from someone, or wanting to help others, it’s all just greed.

Then, what if I went against Gami? How would the others from the class see me? I shook my head, and continued my words.

“…Anyway, I’ll tag along. Can’t have a girl like you carry all the heavy stuff. But, might as well invite Sakana as well. The more people the better.”

In the end, Sakana skipped out on practice again today, but when I sent him a message regarding the shopping a response came right away.

‘Sorryyy, I got other plans for the weekend. Got invited by some girls I knew since middle school. Feels great being surrounded by cute girls all over. Aren’t you jealous!’

Haha. If there was ever a battle royale happening in this class, I’d kill him first.

“Sakana ain’t coming.”

“I see…So, it’ll be just the two of us?”

“………”

Aotsuki-san gently tilted her head as she looked up at me. I don’t think she’s doing it on purpose, but that kind of gesture makes it really easy to misunderstand. I tried to remain calm, and continued.

“So then, let’s meet up tomorrow in front of the train station?”

“Yeah…Ah, actually, tomorrow is no good!”

“Eh?”

“L-Let’s meet up on Sunday…okay?”

“Sure…?”

“Then it’s decided.”

I didn’t have much of a problem with it, but I wonder why. Maybe she just remembered some important business? I thought it was weird, but I ignored that.


Zettai ni Derete wa Ikenai Tsundere

Zettai ni Derete wa Ikenai Tsundere

The Tsundere Definitely Can’t Go Dere, 絶対にデレてはいけないツンデレ
Score 9.4
Status: Completed Type: Author: , Artist: , Released: 2021 Native Language: Japanese
“Don’t get the wrong idea, okay. I definitely don’t like people such as you!”This template tsundere phrase marked the beginning of mine and Aotsuki Mifuyuu’s story. Because of her cold and indifferent attitude, she always stands out negatively in class. However one day, we ended up talking more and more with each other, and I started to see the warmth behind her cold words. Why is she so distanced and unaffectionate towards people despite being so kind? That seems to be related to her past that I don’t know about…This is a story about love, telling the coming along of a boy and girl until they finally act affectionate towards each other.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Options

not work with dark mode
Reset