Slowly, she brushed her hair back over her ears.
I had admired her smiling profile as she looked out the window many times before.
Come to think of it, there was a time when I thought I was good friends with this girl.
She had a gentle personality, a beautiful face like a Yamato Nadeshiko, and a good physique that would be popular with men.
… All of them are first class, and I’m not even close, but this girl was there for me nonetheless.
I have known her for more than 15 years, from when she was a baby to the start of our first year of high school.
I am ashamed of myself for having mistakenly thought that she was fond of me…
I know now that there was no reason for us to have been together for 15 years.
I can understand now that we were together only because of inertia.
Because, after meeting Ryoma Ryuzaki at the entrance ceremony and falling in love with him, she immediately left my side.
I was reminded that I was nothing more than an ornament, and that she had no feelings for me at all…
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
Even though it’s been a while since we last spoke, Yuzuki started chatting about unimportant things as if we’d seen each other every day.
“On days like this, you might want to do your laundry,… and airing out your futon might not be a bad idea. But the weather is changeable in the winter, so you’d better check the forecast properly.”
“Kotaro-san, we have a final exam coming up in about two weeks. I haven’t made much progress, so I’m a little nervous.”
Don’t talk to me.
“I think it is the day before … Christmas, isn’t it? After that, we’ll be on winter break, so I can’t wait.”
How good it would have been if I could have shouted the voice inside my heart.
But when I realized it, it was too late.
“Well, studying is not something that will help you in the future, so it’s okay if you can’t do it…”
It’s always the same.
I have a strange feeling when I am conversing with Yuzuki Hojo.
“It doesn’t matter if your grades are bad. What’s important is what’s inside a person. In that respect, Kotaro-san is very nice, so you will be fine.”
She is always sweet.
She won’t let me face the problem.
When I talk to Yuzuki, I mistakenly think, ‘It’s fine as it is.‘
My fighting spirit and ambition fade away. The feelings of frustration and wanting to do my best fade away.
It was the same now. Her words and voice had uprooted my energy enough to shout out my words.
That was the nature of the character Yuzuki Hojo.
“You remember? When we were in elementary school, Kotaro-san always got bad test scores, didn’t you? Yet, you are a fine high school student now. Studying doesn’t matter to any of us.”
Without meaning, without any basis, Yuzuki unconditionally ‘affirms’ others.
But don’t misunderstand.
Yuzuki is only affirming, not ‘loving’.
In other words, she does not take responsibility for her words.
She says, “It’s okay” but she never reaches out.
She affirms me that it’s okay to be just the way I am, but she doesn’t accept me as I am.
She praises me for being nice, but she doesn’t like me.
Yuzuki Hojo is that kind of person.
Now I know that, so I don’t have to be mistaken… But once, however, I was deceived.
I believed Yuzuki’s words, accepted them, encouraged her, and I was genuinely happy.
Thanks to that, Kotaro Nakayama never grew up.
Because Yuzuki was so affirming, I could not find the meaning of growth.
“After all, life is a matter of chance. In other words, everything depends on luck and timing. Whether you work hard or not, the result is the same.”
It’s like a paralyzing poison.
It invades your nerves, clouds your thinking, and robs you of your freedom.
Yuzuki Hojo’s love is so lukewarm that it makes you believe that.
Thanks to this, I had accepted myself in the past.
I had mistakenly believed that I was complete as I was, even though I was a mob character.
(… I’m sure Ryuzaki is the same way.)
He is probably also affected by this paralyzing poison.
He is probably immersing himself in lukewarm affection, thinking that it is okay to be miserable.
If that happens, he is finished.
Ryoma Ryuzaki will never be able to rise again.
(Me, you … really pathetic.)
Well, I’m not in a good enough position to be complaining about other people.
Anyway, because of Yuzuki Hojo, I once again remembered the past.
I’m now on the verge of returning to the person I was then.
Thanks to Shiho, I was able to grow up, but it was about to all become meaningless.
Will I ever be able to shake off this past?
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