■Chapter: Takane Saki■
After school, in my usual empty classroom, I was propped up against my desk like a slug left out in the hot sun.
Let me say in advance that this was not done by the summer of Kamimura.
“It’s been exactly three months today.”
Yuka-chan said, looking up at the wide open bosom of her blouse, which was open to the second button, with a flattened bottom.
It was the last thing I wanted to hear in the world right now, which made me even more of a slug.
“…He hates me.”
I said in a muffled voice as I slumped down on my desk.
“Absolutely, I am hated … I let my temporary emotions get the better of me … and I told Mashima-kun, such…”
Totally hilarious, isn’t it?
I was going to confess to him within 3 months, but I never expected that he would hate me within 3 months.
Ah, but perhaps there was a possibility that Mashima-kun disliked me from the very beginning, and that he, being kind, had been dismissive of me in a roundabout way all along, right? Haha.
…Whatever it was, it was all about that “Sorry”.
“I have no face to meet with him anymore…”
In fact, I have not seen Mashima-kun since the incident.
I cannot even read his MINE messages.
I am afraid of that, too.
…I am afraid of Mashima-kun’s reaction.
I’m afraid of being clearly rejected.
But to be spoken to with kind words ── I am even more afraid.
I began to sob quietly, but Yuka, perhaps out of concern, didn’t say anything.
Because I, a beginner in the art of romance, had been so arrogant as to ignore the teachings of Imamote, I had incurred the wrath of the Great Goddess Mori.
When I realized this, it was too late to change things.
Even in Imamote, as I expected, there was no instruction on how to approach a person who dislikes you.
Even Mori-sensei, in her wisdom, would not be able to handle a situation like this.
“Ugh, ugh…, I want to go back to 3 months ago…”
I want to go back to those days when I could still talk to Mashima-kun normally and start all over again. Then at least things wouldn’t be worse than they are now…
I was mentally exhausted to the point of thinking about such an escape from reality.
— That’s when it happened.
“Excuse me for disturbing you~.”
Suddenly, the sliding door of the empty classroom was opened.
I wiped my tears with the sleeve of my blouse and looked up.
“Oh, there you are after all. I’ve been looking for you for a while.”
My Imamote companion whom I met in the infirmary – Keiko Hirabayashi-san of Class 2A, came into the classroom looking more cheerful than before.
“Ah, it’s been a while, is something wrong …?”
“I’m here to see Takane-san, is everything alright now?”
“Ah──…Keiko, right? We’re in the same class …, but right now it’s a little …”
Yuka-chan said so and glanced at me.
What can I say, Yuka-chan is kind to me, so I like her.
“…No, it’s fine, Hirabayashi-san is my Imamote friend.”
“Imamote…, yes Imamote, we are Imamote friends, aren’t we? …I have a present for you today, my Imamote friend, Takane-san…!”
Yuka-chan tilted her head, “Imamote friends …?” But Hirabayashi-san paid no attention and pulled out two books from a bag she was carrying in her hand.
“Well then…! Here, these are for you, and since we’re on a roll, here’s one for you, too.”
Hirabayashi-san offers the books to me and Yuka-chan one at a time.
What is …?
I looked at the cover of the book I received.
I was astonished.
And not just any Imamote.
This is … Mori-sensei’s latest work!
“‘Become popular now! Super Love Psychology Course 2’ !?!?”
I am a constant checker of Mori-sensei’s social media.
Of course I knew about the Imamote sequel, … but this should not have been released yet!
“How did Hirabayashi-san get this!?”
When I asked in a trembling voice, Hirabayashi-san answered matter-of-factly.
“The sample copies have just been printed and I’m going around handing them out to everyone I know! It’s called a book offering! I’m so happy that you two were so enthusiastic about reading my book, so I’m doing a special reader giveaway!”
A strange atmosphere flowed between the three of us. Or rather, that way of speaking by Hirabayashi-san, I never thought …
“Oh, that…? Didn’t I tell you? I’m Mori, the romance author… See, my name is Keiko, right? If you want to mask the Ki, you get… Mori.”
Yuka-chan and I both had no choice but to scream before the shocking revelation.
“Hirabayashi-san is Mori-sensei!?”
“That means you wrote this book!?”
“Yes, that’s right, but …?”
Yes, but …!
A strong advocate. What about the strongest, invincible, and popular person, who is well versed in all studies, ancient and modern, east and west!?
Who is the Great Goddess Mori!?
“Ah!? Could it be that Hirabayashi-san is in fact the most powerful playgirl who is very popular with the guys with the techniques she has cultivated!?”
“A great athlete is not a great coach, and vice versa, of course. By Mori── I’m sorry to say that I’ve never held hands with a boy. I’ve been on the internet for a while now, and I’ve been giving advice to a lot of people about relationships, haven’t you seen the opening notice…?”
At this very moment, everything I believed in came crashing down with a rattle, and I collapsed again.
This is exactly what it means to be openmouthed…
“Oh no…, don’t tell me that… Mori-sensei does not know anything … about Love Psychology?”
“Aaaahhhh! Saki Saki is going to break!”
Yuka-chan shook my shoulder in a panic, but I may not be able to get back on my feet …
“It’s your fault! … Oh, no, wait a minute! Saki Saki! Hey! Come back to me, quick!”
“───Think about it the other way around! Right now, you’ve got your dream teacher Mori right in front of you! If that’s the case, why don’t you ask her directly for advice about your love life? Maybe she has some secret techniques!?”
I was returned to reality in an instant.
Yes, …Yuka-chan is absolutely right!
Even if Mori-sensei’s true identity is Hirabayashi-san, it doesn’t change the fact that the person standing in front of me now is Mori, the romance author I have admired for a long time!
“I beg you, Great Goddess Mori! Please help me, a lowly person like myself, with love advice and teach me how to make romance work for me!!”
“Wow, Saki Saki’s down on her knees…”
“I don’t mind.”
“And here’s a little light.”
“Just so I can give you accurate advice, please tell me everything from your first meeting with Mashima-kun.”
“My first meeting with Mashima-kun…”
The time when Mashima-kun and I first met.
Then, inevitably, I have to talk about my past, which I wanted to turn away from.
Just remembering those days makes my heart feel crushed.
I did not want to remember if I could.
“I will talk, please.”
This is much better than ending my relationship with Mashima-kun like this.
I began to slowly speak.
Those were the days, back then, when I was in Tonakachu.
(TLN: Last sentence kinda weird, can’t get my head around it and GPT can’t either, this is the best I could get, if anyone is interested the raw is: あの頃の、東トー中チユーにいた頃の、私のことを。)