Kouhei: What are you reading?


During a break, I turn back and try talking with Kuze-san again.


I often see her reading all by herself like this.


The truth is, I've been wondering what it is that she reads for some time.


Kiriha: ...


She looks up sharply.


She silently lifts the front cover enough for me to read.


"Tanizaki Jun'ichirou" //wikipedia link//

……聞いたことはあるが、読んだことはない。 written on the front. I've never read it.


Kouhei: Looks like a tough read.


Kiriha: Not really.


She replies indifferently.


In my mind, he's the kind of author that people only read for literature classes and whatnot.


Kouhei: You're more of a authentic literature kind of girl?


Kiriha: I guess you could say that.


Kiriha: But the story I'm reading now is a story about detectives.


So it's just a mystery novel.


Kouhei: So... it's actually interesting?


Kouhei: Did he write anything else?


Her glance flickers up to me for a second.


If I'm being honest with myself, I don't really care about the author or his works.


My interest lies solely in Kuze-san herself.


The lone wolf cool beauty who wasn't friendly towards anyone in the class.


To me, the only mystery here worth solving was her.


Kiriha: Do you want to try reading one?


Kouhei: I guess.


Kiriha: I see.


Kuze-san pulls a pair of books out of her school bag.


Kiriha: Either one is fine.


She sets them upon her desk.


Is she... saying she'll loan me one?


Kouhei: Are you sure?


Kiriha: Yes.


How unexpected.


Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this kind of response at my lame conversation starter attempt.


Kouhei: What kind of book is this one?


I glance between both books, pointing at the plain green covers.


Kiriha: It's a historical novel.


Japanese history isn't exactly my forte.


Kouhei: Then... this one?


Kiriha: An erotic novel.


I start coughing.


Kouhei: What kind of a hobbies do you have?


Kiriha: Reading erotic novels.


Kouhei: You don't have to repeat it.


She stares back at me with tranquil, calm eyes.


Well, I suppose there is a lot of older literature that could be classified as erotic... that doesn't make it pornography, right?


She's just testing me to see which kind I want more.


Kiriha: Pick whichever one you'll enjoy more.


Kouhei: Whichever one I'll enjoy more?


Kiriha: ?


Kouhei: N- never mind.


Kouhei: I'll just take this one.


I pick up the historical novel.


I'm just worried she would think I'm a pathetic person if I chose the other.


Kouhei: Thanks.


Kiriha: Return it whenever.


Kouhei: I'd like to return the favor...


Kiriha: No thanks.


Kouhei: Even if you say that, I feel like I should.


Kiriha: That sounds like your problem, not mine.


She flips to the next page in her novel intently.


For the briefest of seconds, I thought we were actually connecting.


I suppose between the two of us, only I felt that way.


Kouhei: ... Ice Queen.


Kiriha: I certainly must appear that way, don't I?


Even saying it to her face doesn't seem to bother her.


Looks like no matter what I say, I'm not going to get a reaction out of her.


She doesn't seem to care about the environment or people around her at all.




Not much anyway.


I suppose I'm not going to get much further in getting to know her with only the excuse that my seat is near hers.


Erika: Hasekura-kun, here, make a copy of this.


Kouhei: Okay.


Erika: When you're done with that, sort through these documents for me.


Kouhei: Okay.


Erika: Ah, before that, change the water in the flower vase.


Kouhei: Ugh.


Erika: Ah, wait... before that, change the ink cartridge on the printer.


Kouhei: Wait a second.


I hold up a hand to interrupt her barrage of commands.


Kouhei: Am I being used as... a slave?

【瑛里華】「何言ってるの? そんなわけないでしょ」

Erika: What are you saying? There's no way that's true.


Erika: Right, Shiro?


Shiro: Y- yes.


Shiro: It's exactly as Erika-sempai... says...


Why did she trail off like that?


It's after school.


It's just the Vice President, Shiro-chan and I in the Prefect's Building.


Now that the athletics festival is over, I don't have any particular duties.


As a result, I'm apparently getting assigned all the crap work.


Erika: Um...


Erika: Sorry, for all these requests...


Kouhei: It's fine I guess, I've got nothing better to do.

【瑛里華】「あ、そう? じゃあお言葉に甘えて」

Erika: Ah, is that so? In that case, I'll put you to work again.


With a wide smile, she proffers the giant stack of documents in her hands.


At this rate, I'm never going to get a chance to read Kuze-san's book.




Erika: What?


Vice President replies while she's stamping the documents.


Kouhei: You and Kuze-san were in the same class together last year, weren't you.


Erika: Kuze... san?


The vice president arches an eyebrow.


Erika: You mean the "Perpetually Coming In Late Demon" Kuze-san?


Kouhei: That's the first time I've heard that nickname, but I suppose it's probably the same person.


Erika: In that case, I know her 'quite' well. Has she done something else bad?


It may be my imagination, but I detect a note of concern in Vice President's tone.


I've already got a pretty good idea of these two's relationship.


Mainly, the mathematics test results.


Kouhei: No, she didn't do anything.


Erika: Well, there's some kind of problem, or else you wouldn't have asked, right?


Kouhei: It's... something, but it's not a big deal.


Erika: Is she doing well in her new class?


Her voice sounds like that of an older sister worried about her problematic younger sister.


Well, this is the vice president we're talking about, I guess she can't help but still care about Kuze-san's well being.


Kouhei: Well... she's... doing okay.


I can barely manage to say the half truth.


Understanding the situation, the vice president gives a big sigh.


Erika: Honestly... there's no helping her.


Erika: She's skipping class just like she always does then, I guess.


She says 'just like she always does'... so I suppose it really isn't a new problem.


Just like Haruna said.


Kouhei: Do you know where she goes when she skips class?


Erika: Who knows?


Erika: I know that she heads off the school grounds. But that's the extend of what I've gathered.


Erika: The Public Morals Committee has tried to tail her many times, but she always manages to shake them.


The Public Morals Committee has her in their sights as well, huh?


And she's skillful enough to evade their dragnets.


Kouhei: That Kuze-san is pretty impressive.


Erika: You know, this is not a situation where you should be giving her admiration!


The vice president snaps at me.


Well, I wasn't being serious.


Erika: We're de- - finitely going to find where it is she goes.


Kouhei: Just leave her alone, it's her own problem if she skips.


Erika: Her own problem?


Erika: It's the entire class's problem if someone thinks they're better than the rest.


Kouhei: Well, um...


Kouhei: Regarding that, we won't know until we ask the person in question herself.


Erika: In that case, would you mind doing the honor?


Kouhei: Huuh?


Erika: I want someone to catch her so I can ask her myself.

【瑛里華】「いつもどこで貴重な学院生活を無駄にしてるんですか? って」

Erika: "Where is it that you're wasting away your precious school life at?"


Kouhei: Who?


Erika: You.


Kouhei: Why do you want 'me' to do it?


  • clink*


Shiro steps inbetween the potential argument, setting a pair teacup down in front of us.


Shiro: I- I made some tea.


It smells like caramel milk.


Making sweet tea and setting it in front us like this... she's basically saying "Please calm down".


Kouhei: Shiro-chan, thank you.


Erika: Thank you, Shiro.


Erika: Anyway, about Kuze-san...


Kouhei: That's why I'm saying...


Shiro: U- um...


Shiro raises her voice slightly, interrupting us uncharacteristically.


Shiro: The truth is, Sister was...

【瑛里華】「? どうかしたの?」

Erika: Nn? What is it?


Shiro: Yes, well, yesterday...


Shiro: I heard her talking about a perpetually late person in third class of tenth grade.


The vice president and I exchange glances.


Erika: Sister Amaike?


Shiro: Yes.


It's almost certain that she was talking about Kuze-san.


Seems like Kuze has gotten the attention of a troublesome person.


Shiro: She said that she's setting a bad example for the other students...


Shiro: She said that she wanted to join forces with the student council, in order to capture her...


Erika: ...


Kouhei: ...


Erika: Is that so.


Erika: Then, it's decided.


Kouhei: Why are you looking at me like that?


Erika: From here on out, I'm appointing you as the honorary president of the Lateness Extermination Campaign.


Kouhei: I refuse.


Erika: We're just going to arrest her for skipping, that's all.


Kouhei: Why do you want me to that kind of spy work?


Erika: Spy?


She scowls at me.


Erika: Don't make this out like we're the bad guys here.


Erika: We're just enforcing the rules of this institute, that's all. It's our obligation to the students, is it not?


Erika: If there's some reason why you think we shouldn't enforce those rules, I'd like to hear it.


Erika: Do you have any objections?


Kouhei: ... no objections.

【瑛里華】「そうよね? あーよかった」

Erika: Exactly. Ah... good!


Erika: Then, I'll leave it to you.


Kouhei: Wait, wait.


I frantically restrain the Vice President who is about to leave with an invigorating smile on her face.


Kouhei: What you're saying is one hundred percent true.


Kouhei: But, I didn't say I'd do it, did I.


Erika: That's true, but you're a student council staff member.


Erika: You know what that means, right?


Kouhei: ...


I can't deny that under such circumstances.


Kouhei: Maybe if I feel like it.


Erika: Excellent.


Saying that, she gives me her first rate smile.


Well, this is troubling.


Oh well.


I said "if I feel like it", but the truth is she thinks I've agreed to do it.


Shiro: Ah... um...


Shiro: P- please try your best!


Abruptly, Shiro extended her hand to me.


Is she going to give me a handshake of encouragement?


Kouhei: Well this is awkward.


Shiro: Nn?


Shiro: It's... it's not really a big deal, I'm sorry.




She was only handing me a Mame Daifuku rice cake.