Chapter 9 – Pursuing Malice [1]

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Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2786 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1299 words
Editor(s): Fire

After getting brought to school by car, I limp my way to the classroom just as I did yesterday. Teacher Saeki offered to help, but it’ll be bad if a student and teacher are seen too close in public, so I politely declined.

At school, I’m still seen as the same Kotone so there will definitely be people thinking up weird ideas. Because of that, I need to take proper safety measures.

「Good morning…… Is there something wrong?」

Entering the classroom, I see my classmates gathered around my seat. And from their gloomy looks, I understand that something bad happened. A continuation of yesterday’s, huh. I guess there’s another flower vase again.

And so seeing what’s on my desk, I was speechless.

「This is… pretty harsh……」

The things that were stolen yesterday are back. Except all of them are destroyed. My precious watch has its face shattered and its fixings bent, so it might’ve been smashed with a hammer. My phone, probably dropped from a high place, had its frame wrecked and the display cracked.

My wallet, bag, and books seemed to be cut with a knife. My room key is burnt black. All of them, unrecognizable.

「This is too cruel.」

Aiba’s voice echoed through the silent classroom. It really is cruel. Besides, from Kotone’s memories, I don’t remember doing anything to make someone resentful to this extent. There wasn’t any situation where she completely destroyed someone’s life. In short, you could say that the culprit is just letting loose. Is my reaction that interesting?

「Come on everyone. Homeroom is about to start, please don’t mind me and take your seats now.」
「But Kisaragi!」
「It’s fine, I’m fine, alright?」

My voice gradually grew smaller and smaller. If I’m being honest, I really want to cry. It would’ve been better if these weren’t returned instead. Touching the now unmoving watch, its fragments splinter away.

It was really precious to me. It’s like it was destroyed right in front of me. Ah, I seriously want to scream and cry. Still, I can’t make my classmates worry. If I break down, it would be tough for them too.

That’s why I’ll hide it for now. Erase my expressions. Act like nothing happened. That’s all I can do right now.

「You all, did something happen?」

Before I could clean up, Teacher Kondou came. But no one replied to his question. They probably don’t know how. Is it because of consideration for me or because they don’t want to get involved?

Because of this, I silently point to the wreckage occupying my desk.

「This is…… Who’s the first one to enter the classroom?」
「Teacher Kondou. Even if you ask them about this, they probably wouldn’t have any idea. It’s likely that it has been this way ever since they arrived.」

I see one of the boys nodding. The culprit came here earlier than anyone else and scattered all the broken stolen goods on the desk. That’s why there’s no way that anyone would have seen it happen.

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「Still, this is just awful. Kisaragi, are you fine with leaving it like this?」
「Like I would be. Still, there’s no solid proof, so nothing can be done. Even if there were eyewitnesses, it likely wouldn’t be trusted still.」
「Tsk, sickening. Testimonies for you will either be treated as complete nonsense or a result of blackmail, huh.」

The fact that that can happen makes it troublesome. Say someone testified that they saw this certain person doing it. But then the one testifying will be treated as if Kotone either has some dirt on them or blackmailed them.

On the other hand, if the person that did it attested that Kotone made her do it, then it would be treated as if that was actually the case. We’re talking about the daughter of the Udzuki family. She’s likely already made preparations for these sorts of stuff.
That’s why I need inescapable, unshakable proof.

「Sorry Kisaragi. Would you mind if I look after this?」
「As long as it will be returned, feel free.」

I don’t know what he’ll be using it for, probably evidence for property destruction. It might be used for computing the hypothetical cost of incurred damage. Still, please at least return the watch.

It might still be fixable.

Still, with how wrecked it was, it likely can’t be perfectly returned to normal.

「Kisaragi, today, this whole day, no matter what happens, just endure it.」
「…… Understood. I’ll do so.」

Hearing what he whispered, I instantly understood Teacher Kondou’s plan and nodded. In short, the principal and Teacher Kondou intend to have me as bait while gathering firm evidence. However, this requires my consent.

I’ll just have to bear with it until they find evidence that the other party can’t talk themselves out of.

「It’s homeroom time! Nothing scheduled in particular for today! However, be careful with staircase accidents. Someone just fell down from one yesterday, you see.」

Hearing that, gazes gathered in my direction. Yeah, I was dragging my leg when I entered the classroom, so they definitely know. When I showed a strained smile, everyone had an awkward look on their faces but none of them averted their gaze.
Honestly, really kind of them.

「That ends the homeroom!…… You guys, I’m leaving it to you.」

The last one was not an announcement, but more of a plea. He probably wants to tell them to at least protect me so nothing happens during class but I don’t think enough time passed for these words to resonate with them. My classmates still haven’t gotten a good measure of me.

Certainly, I did behave this past month and I’ve gotten pretty harmless unprovoked. Still, their impression of what Kotone has done should still be strong.

「Kisaragi, are your wounds okay?」

Exactly one of them has stopped seeing me as the same Kotone though.

「They aren’t but please don’t mind me, Aiba. It should heal quickly with proper rest.」
「Didn’t you do that to yourself?」
「Kenta!」

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Hearing what the person sitting in front of us said, Aiba loudly raised her voice. He really just shouldn’t have said that considering his panicked reaction, but what he said is the class consensus. In other words, they’re suspecting that I intentionally fell down the stairs to garner sympathy.

While the truth is that someone pushed me from behind, causing me to get off-balance; frankly, saying that wouldn’t really convince most people.

「Feel free to think as you like. So please don’t mind me too much.」
「Y-yeah. I’ll do that. So you just behave too.」
「Stupid Kenta!」
「Aiba, it’s alright. I really don’t mind, so don’t be too harsh on him.」

It’s pretty indirect, but he does seem to be concerned about me.1 Besides, carefully looking around unnoticed, I see that there are a few that look at me with concern, showing that what I’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been a waste.

Nonetheless, for Aiba to call him by his given name, I wonder how they’re acquainted.

「Aiba, have you and Tanaka known each other for a long time?」
「That’s right. I’m childhood friends with this idiot.」
「Who are you calling an idiot?」
「Well, you are an idiot. Besides, you got red marks on the last test, right? Your family grieved about it.」
「Gack, that is true. But in the first place, even you have your weak subjects. Why were your scores good just this time?」
「Fufufu, it’s all thanks to Kisaragi’s notes. Without that and the study meet, it would’ve been dangerous.」



References

  1. Lyly:Yeah, it’s the stupidly frank kid that’s really bad at sounding anything other than a prick but just doesn’t think before acting

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