Chain of Fate
Thus, I was assigned to tutor Kurumizawa-san.
The duration was only one week. It is not a very long period of time. Shiho is also taking a break due to the flu, so the timing is not bad.
If Shiho had been in good health, I would have refused to tutor her, of course.
No matter how much my mother had ordered me to do so, if Shiho had been by my side,… I am sure I would have been able to shake off the chains of the past.
But now that Shiho is not next to me, I am unable to move as much as I would like.
Because I have become a protagonist from a mob character, I have the characteristic that I can’t do anything without the heroine.
I am ashamed of myself, … however, I could not resist my fate.
Even though that girl who always took my hand when I was in pain, suffering, or lost is gone… even in a situation like this, I may still be waiting for the hand of salvation.
Lunch break. I was not in the mood to eat, so I walked aimlessly down the corridor. I had no purpose. I was just taking a walk as a distraction.
My thoughts were still a jumbled mess. My head has been awfully heavy since yesterday,… and it’s obvious that my mind is slow, it’s as if I’m not even myself.
In times like this, I feel that time goes by so slowly.
(I still feel like I was like this all the time when I was in middle school, before I became friends with Shiho, I think…)
Suddenly, I remembered.
I felt nostalgic for a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time.
It was a time when I still didn’t recognize myself as a mob character.
Back then, when I mistakenly thought I was the main character, I didn’t think too much about things.
The past me, described by my sister-in-law Azusa and my former best friend Kirari as “like a robot”, was always in a daze, just like now.
Suddenly, I stopped and slowly turned my gaze toward the window.
My face, reflected in it, was lifeless, or … I would say that I had a face that could best be described as ‘expressionless’.
I took a breath at the sight of myself, which I hadn’t seen since I met Shiho.
I dropped my shoulders and looked away from the window,… just then.
A female student, in a very good mood, walked by me.
As I casually followed her fluttering black hair with my eyes, I wondered what she felt.
Then she turned around and turned her attention to me.
“Oh? Um, … Kotaro-san?”
She smiled at me calmly.
My body relaxed in the relaxed atmosphere that seemed to loosen up just by looking at her. I suddenly felt as if I was going to collapse, and I put a lot of strength into my legs.
What a … timing for us to meet again.
It’s a bit of an artificiality to talk to me at a time like this when you’ve been acting as if I didn’t exist for so long. … I can’t help but feel that it reeks of artificiality on the part of someone else.
That is surely the concept called ‘opportunism’.
I called out the name of a childhood friend who used to be a good friend of mine.
Then, as if in response, Yuzuki nodded.
“Yes, this is Yuzuki. Well, I have a nostalgic feeling… Huh? Kotaro-san, you are in the same class as me, right? Why didn’t I notice Kotaro-san until now?”
Yuzuki, tilting her head slightly with a strange look on her face, doesn’t seem to have any bad intentions.
Truly, she must be wondering from the bottom of her heart.
“We’ve known each other since childhood, but how could we have grown apart? It’s as if we haven’t seen each other in ages.”
“… Well, I guess we’ve both grown up and a lot has changed.”
I replied curtly and tried to walk away without further ado.
The conversation would make me think of the old days.
So I tried to run away … but that didn’t work.
“Have things changed? Well, … you have the same eyes now as you did in the past, Kotaro-san, don’t you? You don’t seem to have changed much.”
When she pointed this out to me, I stopped breathing.
I knew it was not my imagination.
The man I am today is very much like the man I was when I was in middle school.
Instead of resisting my destiny, I have been swept away by the current and have become like a puppet without a will.
There is a difference between being a mob character and being the main character.
Either way, I am still a puppet of a puppet.
That’s why Yuzuki recognized me.
For her, “Kotaro Nakayama” is recognized as an emotionless, robotic human being.
So, after meeting Shiho, I guess I didn’t seem to be me. Therefore, she did not even recognize my existence, but recognized me as a stranger.
(After my mother, my childhood friend? …)
The past connections are still unbroken.
They are connected like a chain and bind me like a wild goose.
You can get access to 10 Shimotsuki Chapters ahead of the Novelupdates release on my Patreon. <3