Chapter 1: Confession should be made within 3 months
■Chapter: Takane Saki■
…Have you ever heard of the “3-Month Confession Rule”?
<”The “Super Love Psychology Course”, also known as “Imamote”.”>
According to Chapter 1, ” The Mechanism of Love You Don’t Understand”…
(I really was so surprised I fell out of my chair.)
The longer you wait after meeting someone, the less likely you are to succeed in confessing your feelings to them!
This was truly a revelation out of the blue.
(I was really, really surprised and let my mind drift for a while.)
It was a revolutionary concept.
Because usually, the longer you know each other, the better you understand each other, don’t you think?
Then you can fall in love with each other more, right?
Beginners in love like me might think so… But this is a theory backed by data…
According to statistics by Imamote, the most successful pattern of confession is “within 3 months of the first meeting”.
The success rate peaks in the third month and then declines steadily.
In other words…
“…I have to con-c-…confess my feelings to Mashima-kun within the next three months!”
“You can’t even say the word ‘confession’ properly, can you?”
Yuka pointed this out to me in a half-amused tone, and I felt my face heat up.
…By the way, this was my room, where Yuka and I were having a meeting after school to reflect on the painful failure of that morning’s rumor campaign…
Yuka-chan and I were sitting on my bed reading manga.
…Well, I can’t say I had the right to complain because I was asking her for advice on my love life, but she could have helped me out a little more. I’ve known her since junior high school, after all…
…I need to get back on track.
“I have less than two and a half months to go, to be exact. It was April 7 when I spoke with Mashima-kun at the bicycle parking lot, and today is April 25, so…”
Yuka-chan said as she flipped through the pages of her manga.
Is it really that interesting? The manga…
“…Hmm? But didn’t Mashima-kun go to junior high school with us in the first place? I think it’s been more than three months since it happened.”
“Back then… I didn’t know much about romance or anything like that, so no thank you!”
“The longer you wait, the more like a friend you’ll become, rather than a romantic partner. I agree with you that it’s better to settle things early and sometimes that stinky book of yours has some good things to say.”
“I! Ma! Mo! Te! It’s not some stinky book!”
“Saki Saki won’t ever confess unless we set a deadline.”
“Oh… You can’t be so sure about that…”
“I can bet on it.”
Yuka-chan looked at me with a sideways glance.
“We’ve been at Kamimura High School for a year now… Saki Saki, have you been able to speak properly with anyone in high school other than me?”
My eyes involuntarily started to move around, as I was struck in a painful spot. She was completely right.
Yuka-chan let out a deep sigh.
“Do you know what Mashima-kun thinks of you?”
“W…W-what!? What Mashima-kun thinks of me!!”
“Close, close, close, close!! Mysterious! He thinks you’re mysterious!”
“Eh!? Could it be that he also likes… me?”
“Congratulations! Kora! Don’t smirk! It’s not a compliment! I’m perceived as ‘someone who doesn’t know better’ because I’m so outspoken at school!”
I was unintentionally subjected to the Windsor Effect myself.
I was too shocked to find the next words to say…
“Look! That’s it! Whenever you don’t know what to say, you immediately shut up with a serious face! Unless you fix that, you’ll be mysterious for the rest of your life!”
“No, it seems that it’s impossible.”
Yuka said in a dazed manner and went back into the world of manga again.
I know that, too…
If I am just shy and timid, it’s okay, but if I don’t even talk much like this, even the things that are supposed to be communicated don’t get through…
“I think it’s much better than spouting mindless words…”
That was my true feeling, which I squeezed out over a long period of time.
Yuka-chan looked at me again with a sideways glance.
Phew… and she let out a long sigh and said.
“…I get it! I get it!”
After all, Yuka-chan has been my only close friend since junior high school.
Although sometimes she says terrible things.
“Well, let me hear it!”
In the end, we always end up going along with my selfishness.
“Imamote” says “How do we get that obtuse, serious, public morality freak to fall for it?”
“…I have a plan… And please don’t call Mashima-kun strange nicknames.”
I’m sorry for the long introduction, but the time has finally come for me to unveil the plan.
I’ve learned from Imamote, my winning strategy to win in love.
The day after the meeting (two of us), during the slightly longer break between 2nd and 3rd periods.
I was watching from the shadows, trying to carry out the winning strategy that I had stressed to Yuka-chan yesterday.
It was not very difficult to find Mashima-kun on campus.
Because his voice comes through so well, and his imposing stance is one-of-a-kind.
…It’s purely because he stands out.
“…There! Yuya Kotani, Class 2C! The student handbook’s dress code, section 4, “Ornaments” states that ear piercings are forbidden!”
“Geez! How can you see them from that distance!? But these are ear cuffs! Too bad!”
“Well, okay then! But change it to something a little less conspicuous, and take it off during class! Wait there! Class 2A, Yashiro Shinaraya! Using your phone while walking and using your phone in the hallway are both forbidden!”
Even if it was recess time, Kengo Mashima, the Discipline Committee President, was in full force.
Walking down the corridor, Mashima-kun would instantly spot anyone violating school rules with his blade-like sharpness and cut them down with a wry smile.
I could not help but let out a sigh when I saw his serious expression…
“…I can’t get close to him.”
…What should I do? The gap is too big.
I was second-guessing with all my might here.
“Rika Kanaya! You’re folding your skirt again! How many times have I told you that in the Student Handbook Dress Code, Section 1, “Clothing,” the skirt length should be knee-length…”
…Mashima-kun seemed to be busy, so I’ve decided to try again some other time.
The winds of timidity have begun to blow.
But… I shook my head vigorously to rid myself of my cowardice!
Imamote says, ‘Action is the only way!’
Look! Now is my chance, now that there are no more people around Mashima-kun!
I gathered up all my courage and jumped out from the shadows!
When he turned around, his gaze was as dignified as ever.
As soon as he turned to me, my heart leapt and I felt a choking sensation in my throat…
I tried to keep a poker face in accordance with the teaching of the Imamote, which said, “Avoid revealing your love for someone at an early stage as much as possible.”
“Oh, Takane Saki.”
Mashima-kun called my name.
As usual, in a quiet but clear and calm tone of voice.
His expression, behavior, and mood were extremely… usual.
Why doesn’t he care a little bit about me after what happened the other day?…
It’s kind of unfair that I’m the only one who’s upset!
I almost pouted, but I must have a poker face, a poker face…
“Can I help you?”
Mashima-kun wrinkled his eyebrows in a suspicious manner.
And I have been waiting for this very moment!
“No, it’s nothing serious…”
I also put all my energy into my eyebrow roots and wrinkled them!
…The mirroring effect.
Also known as the “tuning effect” or “postural echo” it is a psychological term.
According to Imamote, “Humans unconsciously perform the same behavior as people they like. It refers to the psychological effect of unconsciously feeling a sense of familiarity and liking toward people who perform the same actions as oneself.”
There is a psychological technique to shorten the psychological distance between a person and another person by intentionally mirroring (imitating) the other person’s behavior, aiming for this effect!
In other words, if the other person crosses their legs, we cross our legs too.
If they scratch their cheek, we scratch our cheek.
If they wrinkle their eyebrows, we wrinkle ours, too!
By simply imitating the other person’s movements and gestures, the other person will feel a sense of familiarity with you… Next thing they know, they’re in love!
This is a winning strategy that even an awkward girl like me can execute!
I call it the “Mirroring Strategy”!
It was supposed to be like that, but…
“… Did I do something to offend you?”
I was at a loss for words because of the unexpected response.
I felt like we were even a little bit further apart, rather than closer to each other’s hearts.
That’s ridiculous…? That’s not what I was planning…
“If it’s about the incident in front of the school gate the other day? I thought I was doing my duty as the Discipline Committee President, but if I have unknowingly hurt you, I’m sorry.”
“Oh, no, no, no, it’s not like that.”
“Then why are you glaring at me with such intensity?”
“No, it’s not that I’m, you know, staring at you, it’s just that, you know, it’s not, you know, a mirror.”
Mashima-kun tilted his head curiously.
I inwardly panicked, but I ritually tilted my head at the same angle as Mashima-kun’s!
I tilted my head 30 degrees to the right, glared upward at Mashima-kun and started fidgeting…
It would be a long time before I would notice how terribly strange it looked from another person’s point of view.
“No, I, well, I, I wanted to talk to you today, Mashima-kun.”
“What do you want to talk about? If it’s something you don’t want people to hear, we can move to a different location…”
Mashima-kun suddenly looked around, and I followed his lead.
And then… before I knew it!
There was no one here a moment ago, but now a crowd had gathered around me and Mashima-kun!
“Oh, Takane-san is getting tangled up with Mashima again.”
“Could it be that he’s trying to confess again?”
“Wow, he’s so passionate. I thought Mashima wasn’t interested in romance.”
“Isn’t Takane-san staring at him?”
I heard such voices from the crowd, and I felt my face heat up.
I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m attracting attention!? Perhaps a confession!?
I don’t understand, but am I going to get a confession from Mashima-kun!?
I’m trying my best to keep a poker face, but inside my head I’m already in a complete panic!
“You really do get people’s attention.”
Mashima-kun said sincerely and scratched the area above his temple.
No, that’s not it! It’s Mashima-kun who stands out, not me…!
…Oh! Or rather, mirroring!
I reflexively tried to imitate Mashima-kun and scratched my head…
…I stop my hand just in time.
Careful! The bangs I worked so hard to style in order to talk to Mashima-kun were about to be ruined!
But if I don’t do the mirroring, the strategy I’ve learned from… Following Imamote is a winning strategy!
After such a struggle, my fingertips scratched at the empty void.
It doesn’t make complete sense anymore.
“What are you… doing?”
“What am I doing, I…”
I finally spoke up.
I’m getting a lot of attention from everyone, and my embarrassment has long exceeded the boiling point.
I bet Mashima-kun thinks I’m weird…!
Oh, if this is what it’s like, I shouldn’t have done the mirroring in the first place.
In front of everyone watching me, I was…
Embarrassed, embarrassed, embarrassed!
As soon as I became aware of the gazes around me, I felt so much embarrassment that my eyes were burning.
It’s no good. I know I shouldn”t be doing this, but I”m supposed to be doing this.
Regardless of my intentions, a hot drop of water started to trickle down from the back of my eyes, and I couldn’t…
I did it.
I finally lost control and a large drop fell from my right eye.
At that moment…
I thought I heard a small whisper from Mashima-kun.
The next moment, a handkerchief was placed on my right cheek.
The people surrounding us all burst out in unison, “Oh!”
I could do nothing but stare wide-eyed at Mashima-kun and freeze.
Huh? What happened to me just now?…
“I’m sorry, it was a spur-of-the-moment conversation. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think you want to be seen.”
Mashima-kun muttered in a volume that only I could hear.
…That calm tone of voice, as usual.
His right hand, held behind a handkerchief.
It was so warm.
“The handkerchief is cheap, don’t give it back, let’s just move somewhere else for now.”
My right hand…
Mashima-kun raised his voice.
“What is it?”
Everyone around us peeled their eyes away.
And I just froze, unable to comprehend the scene before me.
Time passed slowly, in slow motion.
And in the slow motion of time, I remembered a sentence from Imamote.
─ ─ The mirroring effect.
─ ─ Humans unconsciously perform the same behavior as those they like.
I finally understood the situation and my face turned pale.
Perhaps it was because I had unconsciously placed my right hand on his cheek, just as Mashima-kun had wiped away my tears with a handkerchief.
What a strange scene!
A man and a woman facing each other, each with their right hand on the other’s cheek…
As expected, Mashima-kun could not hide his bewilderment at my strange behavior.
“Ah… eh, it’s different, Mashima-kun, this is…”
What is the difference? I don’t know either.
The only thing I am sure of is that shame and embarrassment like hot magma is bubbling up from the bottom of my stomach…
“…Eh? Are those two going to kiss?”
…The moment I heard such a voice from somewhere, the magma inside me finally erupted.
“Kesalan Pasalan is on…”
“Kesalan Pasalan is on…?”
(TLN: Kesaran Pasaran… This is that white seedball from dandelions that floats. In some cultures you can make a wish with it. Japan treats them as living things… idk what to say. She probably wanted to say there was one on his cheek.)
I couldn’t stand even one more second under the eyes of the people around me, especially the curious eyes of Mashima-kun.
I turned on my heels as quickly as I could and ran down the hallway.
“…Saki Takane! Don’t run down the hallway!”
I heard Mashima-kun’s voice calling out to me from behind.
Even in my panicked state of mind, I had enough time to think about the fact that Mashima-kun would hate me if I violated the school rules.
I panicked and applied the emergency brake, but this was not a good idea.
I fell down in the middle of the hallway in front of everyone.
There was a huge gasp among the gathered crowd.
“Ugh!? She fell!?”
“It looked like it hurt…”
“…What happened to Takane-san?”
I could hear everyone’s voices and I was no longer even embarrassed.
In addition, I even twisted my ankle when I fell, and the misery almost brought tears to my eyes again.
What am I really, really doing…?
I just want to vanish into thin air…
My mind was filled with such thoughts, and that’s when it happened.
“…Are you okay, Takane Saki?”
I heard Mashima-kun’s voice from above,
I was honestly glad for his kindness, but at the same time I couldn’t let him see my face right now…!
“Sorry for yelling all of a sudden. You twisted your ankle, didn’t you? Can you stand?”
I couldn’t even answer him because I was afraid if I opened my mouth I would start crying.
Then he, the kind man, probably assumed that I was “unable to speak because of the pain” or something like that.
“All right, hold on.”
Before I could even comprehend what he meant, my body was lifted into the air.
I could see everyone’s surprised faces.
I could see the two arms supporting my body.
Mashima-kun’s face was right there.
…I was being carried like a princess.
“I’ll carry you to the infirmary! Everyone, scatter! Get out of the way!”
While everyone’s eyes were fixed on us, and strange cheers were pouring down on us.
I did not see Mashima-kun’s face even once until I was brought to the infirmary.
Mashima-kun’s treatment was surprisingly fast and precise.
“…Yeah, this is about right.”
In no time at all, my ankle was patched and bandaged.
“When I was in junior high school, I used to do this a lot in club activities, and my hands remember it.”
I was made to look rather obnoxious.
In front of everyone, I was princess-carried.
And had my bare feet treated by the person I liked.
I was indeed over the embarrassment threshold with a series of events that allowed me to experience a lifetime’s worth of embarrassment as a girl.
Sitting on the bed in the infirmary, I thanked Mashima-kun for going out of his way to kneel on the floor to tend to my leg.
“Don’t worry about it. By the way…?”
“What is it?”
“You wanted to tell me something, right?”
I kept my poker face on and smacked my forehead internally, “Ouch.”
The main purpose of talking to Mashima-kun this time was to practice the mirroring effect, and I had no idea what I wanted to “talk” about.
Mirroring each other’s hearts and minds, but with some kind of a lived, witty talk…
I could only resent my own shallowness in thinking such a thing.
“…Uh, you know,…”
“If you’re going out of your way to talk to me, it’s probably about the last rumor, isn’t it?”
“Hard to say? But we’re in the infirmary and Shinjuku Sensei is out and won’t be back for a while. No one will hear you now.”
…It definitely was hard to say.
It was getting to the point where I could no longer say, “I just wanted to have a chat with Mashima-kun!” in confidence!
Or rather, I was! I didn’t realize it, but I was alone with Mashima-kun in the infirmary right now!
Oh no! I’m getting nervous all of a sudden!
“Mashima-kun, um, I…”
“If there’s anything I can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to tell me.”
Aaahhh, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!
There is absolutely no way I can honestly communicate with Mashima-kun with such a serious expression on my face!
Above all, I don’t want to worry him any more!
“… I’m used to it.”
“I’m used to having strange rumors spread about me, so don’t worry about it, Mashima-kun. The Discipline Committee President is very busy and has other things to do…”
“…This is not true.”
Mashima-kun looked me straight in the eyes and stated clearly.
…Oh, I forgot.
He was unashamedly, and to no end, straight to the point.
That he is someone who can say such cool things.
“…But since I’m not a psychic either, I can’t respond to something I wasn’t asked to consult about.”
Mashima-kun stood up and turned his back to me.
“I will go for now, just let me know when you’re ready and I’ll be happy to talk to you. Take care.”
And with that, he left the infirmary.
Left alone in the infirmary, I dropped my shoulders and sighed in relief.
I was so nervous all the time, and as expected, I was tired too…
“It was really embarrassing…”
Operation Mirroring was a complete failure.
The only redeeming thing was that apparently Mashima-kun still barely disliked me.
…What in the world went wrong?
“I need to go over it again…”
I picked up the Imamote that had fallen under the bed…
Huh? Come to think of it, did I bring my Imamote to the infirmary?
In fact, this Imamote had no sticky notes on it, and it looked older than mine…?
“Oh, um… that’s my book…”
I turned towards the voice…
My eyes met those of a girl with long hair peering at me from behind the cream-colored curtain that separated my bed from the one next to it.
“Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!”
She had long hair and she lowered her head in a panic.
My heart nearly stopped, but she…
The one who answered in a trembling voice was Keiko Hirabayashi, a student from Class 2A.
I had never spoken to her directly, but I had the impression that she was a mature girl… who was usually sitting in the corner of the classroom, always reading quietly by herself.
“I got a stomach ache during gym class, and I’ve been staying in here sleeping since then, but it seemed like Mashima-kun and Takane-san were going to start talking about something serious, I couldn’t leave the room…”
“Ah, I see…”
I didn’t notice at all… and Mashima-kun didn’t seem to notice her either…
No, more importantly…
“…Is this yours, Hirabayashi-san?”
I pointed to the Imamote I had just picked up from the floor.
She nodded her head and I immediately smiled!
“Hirabayashi-san, do you read this book too? Imamote?”
I asked, leaning forward.
Hirabayashi-san seemed surprised by my change at first.
“Well, yeah… for the time being.”
I smiled even more when she answered.
Normally, Yuka has been constantly berating me about my book, saying things like, “stinky book” and “What is a romance creator?” but… I finally have a friend that reads Imamote!
I even felt like we’ve been friends for a decade, even though I’ve almost never actually spoken to her before!
“I’m kind of glad to hear it, you’re like me…!”
“Hey, are you crying…? I heard rumors about you, Takane-san, but you are different from the person I had heard about…”
“I cry too! But more than that! It’s a great book, isn’t it!?”
“Is it? I guess so…”
“I knew it! Finally, someone who understands everything finally appeared…!”
I was moved and trembled with emotion.
Seeing me, Hirabayashi-san became silent and pondered for a moment, then suddenly…
“…Takane-san, do you like Mashima-kun?”
“What!? How did you know that…!?”
I started to think.
But then I thought back to the fact that it would be obvious if she saw me holding Imamote in my hand right after my earlier exchange with Mashima-kun.
“…Yes, that’s right, I’m ashamed to admit it.”
It’s Imamote’s goodwill.
I confided my secret to her, whom I had never spoken to before.
Then she said…
“…Mashima-kun, I don’t think you should…”
I felt like I was being poured cold water on my head by the shocking words uttered by Hirabayashi-san.
She looked somewhat downcast.
Could it be that…
“Don’t tell me that you’re also trying to get Mashima-kun to fall for you using the techniques you learned from Imamote?”
“Oh, that’s not true, I can’t stand guys taller than me.”
“Oh, I see…”
“It’s not that, I warned you because Mashima-kun himself is the problem…”
As I was blushing from the failure of my theory, Hirabayashi-san spoke up again with a shocking line.
“What’s the problem?”
“People don’t seem to know about it, but I’ve heard rumors about Mashima-kun…”
“Rumors about Mashima-kun…?”
“Takane-san is from… I believe it’s Kamikami Village, Murahigashi Junior High School, right? If so, don’t you know about it? That rumor…”
She said with a hint of dread in her voice, as if she was telling a ghost story, but unfortunately, this was really the first time I had heard of it.
“By the way, may I ask what kind of rumors you are referring to?”
“I heard that Kengo Mashima was such a delinquent in junior high school that even the teachers couldn’t handle him!”
The quiet and reserved Hirabayashi-san raised her voice, turning pale.
“He would break the windows of the school building and destroy other people’s belongings because he didn’t like them! I even heard a rumor that he was suspended from school for almost killing a classmate right in front of the teacher! I know they call him the “public morals freak” now, but that’s just a cover! His eyes are like a mad dog’s!”
She said in a single breath, and her shoulders rose and fell.
I, on the other hand, was stunned.
I repeated Hirabayashi-san’s words.
Mad dog, mad dog… Mashima-kun, mad dog?
“… Pfa, ahahahaha!”
I’m sorry Hirabayashi-san, but I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
Because it was just too funny! I couldn’t believe that story came across that way!
“Sorry! I’m just trying…! I know where that rumor is from! I’ve never heard of “Mad Dog Mashima” before, but…!”
“…Of course it’s a hoax! Mashima-kun is not that kind of person! In fact, I wouldn’t fall in love with someone that horrible! Not me!”
When I affirmed this, Hirabayashi-san’s shoulders relaxed.
I had an idea of the source of the rumor fire, but then I witnessed an amazing conversation…! My stomach is almost twisted…!
As I was laughing like this, Hirabayashi-san looked like she had been tricked by a fox.
“I think I may have misunderstood you, Takane-san.”
“Yeah?” I ask back, trying to hold back my laughter.
“I had an image of Takane-san as being calmer and not at all interested in romance…”
“Eh? Is that so?”
I unintentionally let my mouth hang open lazily.
Heh, I guess I seem cool to people, ehehehehehe, aren’t you a little taken back, Hirabayashi-san?
“… Oh, and I was also wrong about Mashima-kun. It’s a hoax…, isn’t it? I’m ashamed that I believed that hoax…”
“Oh, don’t remind me…!”
Kengo Mashima of Murahigashi Junior High School.
It’s really too funny. I’ll have to tell Yuka about it later…!
“But I’m glad we cleared up the misunderstanding, because… it’s pretty scary if the current Discipline Committee President would have been suspended from school after almost killing a classmate…”
“…Oh, that much is true.”
Hirabayashi-san’s face suddenly turned pale.
I was so amused by her reaction that I burst out once again.
■Chapter: Kengo Mashima■
After I finished treating Saki Takane, I came out of the infirmary.
I met with Kawariku Arakawa, who was leaning against the wall looking bored, and Tatsuki Iwasawa, who seemed to have just put his ear to the sliding door of the infirmary.
After a few moments of tension.
I haven’t said anything yet, but Iwasawa started making excuses on his own.
“I was genuinely worried about Mashima-kun and Takane-san!… I wasn’t eavesdropping or anything! I wasn’t trying to be funny!”
“Eh? You told everyone that Kengo kissed Saki earlier, didn’t you?”
“You idiot, Arakawa, you’re squishing me!?”
No questions asked, I shut down my short, gossipy, chatty best friends.
“…Don’t you ever mention such a ridiculous rumor again.”
“Uh-oh… Tatsuki’s face is turning white like tofu…”
“Takane Saki just took a kesaran pasaran from my cheek.”
“I…It is not Gezalan Bazalan…”
“Student Handbook, Section 1, “Daily Principles”. Always maintain dignity in speech, action and behavior, and do not be crude.”
“It’s selfish… It’s already funny and weird rumors are exciting.”
I finally let go of Iwasawa.
Aside from Iwasawa crumpling to the floor like kelp washed up on the beach…
“What’s wrong Kengo?”
“There’s a strange rumor going around again!?”
“Eh? I was watching it too, but I thought you were going to kiss her rather seriously… Oh, no! I wonder why! That’s so weird!”
“Damn, what am I supposed to do…!”
I’ve been trying to stop all the rumors about her since the incident at the school gate…
“Somehow! Every time I take action, there’s a new rumor!”
“Pure standouts, both Saki and Kengo.”
“… I had a… blind spot!”
Arakawa’s statement was absolutely spot on. It was not only Saki Takane who was the center of attention.
I was no different in the sense that I am a bad publicity seeker.
“I wonder if it would be better for Saki Takane if I didn’t get involved with her at all in the future…”
There is a saying that goes, ‘A rumor lasts 75 days.’
After all, what else can we do but sit back and watch?
As I racked my brains like that, I heard…
“No, I don’t think so…”
Arakawa said matter-of-factly.
“I’ve heard some of the rumors about Saki before, but many of them were terrible, you know? Something like that.”
“… Well, I can’t deny that.”
“But the rumors about Saki that are going around now are pretty cute compared to that, aren’t they? Kengo confessed his feelings for her, kissed her, etc.”
That being said, is that so?
Certainly the rumors and accusations being circulated did nothing to discredit Takane Saki herself…
… Or perhaps the subject of the rumors has somehow been switched from “Takane Saki” to “me”!
Also, I never tried to kiss her!
“I think your actions may have helped to overwrite the rumors.”
“Even if that’s true, it’s dishonest to overwrite one false rumor with another! And nobody wants to be the subject of a rumor about a person they don’t like!”
“Hmm~~~ well, in general, that’s true…”
Arakawa seemed somewhat baffled.
“I wonder what Saki came to talk to Kengo about after all…”
“Again with the obvious.”
There is only one reason why Saki Takane would approach me, the Discipline Committee President.
“Of course she came to me for advice about the last rumor. I’m sure she must have summoned up a lot of courage. And when the onlookers were swarming around her, she was so emotional that she started cr-…”
“…No, it’s nothing.”
I decided to keep the crying part to myself.
I was unworthy. When I thought of how Saki Takane was feeling, I felt ashamed of my inability to even consult with her. What was I supposed to do “to improve public morals and maintain public order on campus” after making a student cry?
I must fulfill my duties as the Discipline Committee President.
“In any case, the Discipline Committee members must continue their investigation into the defamation of Saki Takane! That’s all! Now, go away!”
I told Arakawa (and Iwasawa, who was stretching), and… slowly touched my own cheek.
“Eh? Kengo, what are you doing?”
“…I was wondering if there was any more Kesaran Pasaran left…”