Chapter 9 – Pursuing Malice [4]

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Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2721 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1393 words
Editor(s): Fire

「When the boys came back, there were what looked like crushed rice balls scattered on top of your desk. Along with some drinks even.」
「I see. In that case, you could’ve just left the cleaning to me still.」
「The next class is going to start soon. With how it was, the others can’t concentrate and would get distracted. Can you accept that as an excuse?」
「Pfft, it can’t be helped. Let’s just leave it at that.」

Minagawa and I smiled at each other while going for a high five. It’ll be distracting during class, so there wasn’t any other choice but to clean it. Might sound like an excuse, but the one with the excuse wins. And if this is the class consensus, then it’s likely to be accepted as the truth.

Still, there’s no sign of the harassment stopping. At this rate, if I had left my uniform in the locker, it might have gotten torn again.

「Haa, as I thought, it was my lunch.」

Peeking in my spare bag, my lunch naturally wasn’t there. I had two simple rice balls and the usual tea prepared but the rice balls are gone and my thermos is empty.
I guess I’ll just be grateful that the bag itself wasn’t damaged. Still, what do I do for lunch? I can’t go to the school shop with my feet and I’d rather not go to the cafeteria. After all, no matter which, lunch is a battleground.

「Well, I won’t die skipping one meal anyway.」

As the class finished, the others around me started preparing for lunch and the rest ran to the school shop and cafeteria. I watched the clear sky while saying so. Yeah, saying that just made me feel more empty.

I moved a lot during PE, so I’m hungry. But there’s nothing to eat, so I don’t have a choice.

「Here, eat this.」

Tanaka right in front of me placed a rice ball on my desk. Well, he’s telling me to eat it but why is he giving this to me? Even if I’m demanded to pay now, I don’t have the ability to do so.

As I was puzzled, Tanaka began to explain himself while getting a bit red.

「Sorry for all this time. Or would you rather not eat store-bought stuff?」
「Kenta, just be honest with yourself. You were even the one that started the clean-up.」
「Don’t say that!」
「Then I’ll gladly accept your kindness.」

A convenience store rice ball is more than enough. Still, being childhood friends, I guess they really are pretty close. I can somewhat tell that Tanaka has feelings for Aiba, but the person in question doesn’t notice it at all.

Things would probably be different if Tanaka is just a bit more honest. Thinking that, I munch on the rice ball.

「Hm, I wonder how I can keep the crunchiness of the dried seaweed.」

I’m curious about it, but it’s probably impossible. Handmade stuff has their own merits and store-bought stuff have theirs too. Still, I want it.

「Still, seeing the daughter of a well-off family enjoy convenience store rice balls so much really feels off.」
「It’s better not to judge by her image. The gap is extreme after all.」

Come to think of it, Aiba asked me about the stuff I had in my room when I invited her before. When I told her that I just bought them from a hundred yen shop or a department store, she was shocked. And she was even more shocked when I told her that the drinks were instant stuff.

She was pretty much speechless when I spoke in my casual tone. She didn’t return for a while too.

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「Food should be treated with respect. Having to worry about what to eat is absolutely terrible after all.」
「Like I said, that’s not something someone rich would say. It’s like you’re having some money issues or something.」
「In truth, I do have money issues. And with this leg, I can’t go to work either.」

Just buying replacements for the wrecked stuff, my uniform, and bag are going to cost a lot. I’m already depressed just thinking about it. My hard-earned savings are going to go poof! Geez.

「Hah? Work?」
「I’m currently living alone, so I need work to alleviate the finances. This is precisely the time when I’ll have give it my all, and yet…」

It’s going to be golden week soon, so it’s prime time for earning, but with my feet, I likely wouldn’t be allowed to work. It’s the owner and Saori after all, who already scolded me saying the body is the most important capital. That’s why with me injured and barely even able to walk, they’ll definitely be against it.

Can I weather through May with what I have?

「Hey, she’s staring at empty space, did something happen?」
「She’s probably thinking about next month’s budgeting. Kisaragi has the mindset of the average housewife, you see.」
「Somehow, I’m getting a ton of weird information here. Still, like you said, Miyako, the gap really is extreme.」
「What are you three talking about? Here, Kisaragi. Have these too.」

Placed on top of my desk were yakisoba bread and a bottle of tea. Looking up, I see Minagawa standing before me. Rather, you ran earlier to buy these? I can’t thank you enough.

「My treat. Having nothing for lunch after moving that much must’ve been tough. Or is store-bought stuff no good?」
「She enjoyed some convenience store rice balls earlier, so it shouldn’t be a problem.」
「Then that’s a relief. Though Tanaka, since when did you two get so friendly?」
「It’s not like we’re friendly or anything.1
「That’s exactly why your feelings don’t get noticed. Here, feel free to eat.」

Even without needing that prompt, I took a bite of the yakisoba bread. Haa, I miss this taste. I’ve never had any chance to eat some since I became an adult, so it’s a really moving taste for me. With this, I can weather through the afternoon.

Come to think of it, my classmates are looking at how I eat with curious looks. I guess it’s really different from my image.

「Um, if you don’t mind it, here.」
「Ah, you can take some of mine too.」

For some reason, more and more food was piled on my desk. Rice balls, bread, sweet buns, and even some snacks. In the end, there was enough to cover the top of my desk.

Umm, when did I manage to raise this sort of flag?

「With just how much you’re enjoying the food, anyone would be less hostile. Though it might also be the effect of that guy over there who couldn’t be honest with himself.」

I see, the Tanaka Effect, huh. Well, I have no idea what the details of this effect is, but food has no sin. I’ll gladly accept them all. I can’t really finish them all though, so I’ll just thank them and say that I’ll bring what’s left home.

Ahh, these will remedy the food expenses for a while. It really helps.

「Still, people really change a lot, huh. If I had known that you’re like this, I would’ve talked to you much earlier.」
「Munch, munch, saying like this is quite rude. I won’t deny though.」
「That’s exactly what I mean. Kisaragi before would’ve gotten angry with what I just said but you’re just plainly accepting it. Besides, you would definitely not accept any charity. 」
「Charity, I’m being given kindness, so declining would be just rude.」
「Yeah, you’re a different person. As I suspected, you’re Kisaragi’s impostor.」
「Hah hah hah, I finally got exposed. Then who could I be?」

Sharing casual banter with Minagawa, I cracked a smile. I didn’t expect them to be this kind with me in just one month, but it doesn’t feel bad at all. Rather, it’s a welcome development.

(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)

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Still, the fact that bullying caused this makes me feel conflicted. I really have to protect my classmates now. I can’t let them get into trouble because of me. I have to do the actual fighting by myself.



References

  1. Lyly: Tsun boy, there’s not much demand for those so just be honest with yourself
    Silva: kek

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