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After Kurase contacted me, I ran in the direction of the front of the station.
When I finally found Kurase after running around, I saw someone standing near her.
I could see Kurase wiping tears from her eyes.

What comes to my mind is the event that happened in my dream. A girl student of mine was stabbed by someone.
Perhaps it was not a dream. Maybe I was actually seeing events in the future.
If that were the case, Kurase would not have been harmed if she had realized it earlier.
Regret flooded my mind.

Even though I knew I might not make it in time, I screamed.

“Kurase!”

But after I shouted, I realized that Kurase was standing right next to her. Standing right next to Kurase was not a man. On the contrary, it was a figure with silver hair I had seen somewhere before.

“……F-Fujibayashi?”
“Eh, Arase!?”

The person right next to Kurase was not a suspicious person, but Fujibayashi. When I called her name, Fujibayashi looked at me and panicked. It was as if he had seen something wrong.

Oh, so it was Fujibayashi who was following her? Why is Kurase crying?

The memory of the last time we climbed the mountain comes back to me. That time, Fujibayashi did not take kindly to Kurase’s meddling. I wondered if the situation would be the same this time.

“Did you make her cry ……?”
“Y-You’re wrong! It wasn’t me!”

The more desperately she denied it, the more suspicious it became. …… Well, I don’t think Fujibayashi is the kind of person who would be willing to do something like that.

“Yeah, that’s right. Sana chan, she just called out to me! I just cried on my own!”
“Really? You weren’t threatened?”
“Eeh!?! I-I’m telling the truth!”
“Arase……”

Fujibayashi stared at me.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been stupid.”
“………… idiot.”

So maybe she said she was being followed, but the punchline was that it was Fujibayashi?
Kurase cried because she was relieved that it wasn’t some weird guy.

What a disturbance.
I’m tired all at once. Well, I’m glad she’s okay, but I’ll check …….
I’ll check it out just in case.

“After all, so you were mistaken when you said you were being followed?”
“……I think? When did Sana-chan start following behind me?”
“Oh, that’s right! Kurase-san was being followed by a strange guy before I called out to her.
“Eh….?!”
“So she was really being followed.”
“It seems so. When I called out to him, he ran away. I tried to call out to Kurase san to see if she was all right though……”
“you tried ……?”
“I didn’t know how to talk to her, so I just followed her for a while.”
“…………”
“What?”
“Nothing.”

Fujibayashi is a rather shy type of person. In this case, though, it shouldn’t be a 100% first time.

“Did you notice anything else strange about Kurase?”
“Well, speaking of strange things, ……”
“……, you should tell me if there’s anything out of the ordinary.”
“……Yes. I was shopping in Nagahama today, and I felt strange stares there as well. And even yesterday, for some reason, a picture of me was sent to my house,……. So I thought someone was chasing me. Maybe a fan?”
“Is that …..”
“Yeah.”

Kurase talks about it in a casual manner, but the more I listen to what she says, the more worried I become. Isn’t he stalking you in the usual way?
It’s becoming more and more difficult to dismiss the shoe box incident as a mere misunderstanding.

“Shouldn’t you go to the police?”
“Eh? Is that so?”
“Yes, that’s right. It’s obvious that he’s stalking you. Even I would be scared to death if someone did that to me.”
“Well, but ……”

What Fujibayashi says is true. I think she should talk to the police, too. Even the house is known, which is not something that can be taken lightly.
But Kurase is reluctant for some reason.

“Is there some circumstance you can’t tell me about?”
“……There was a lot going on a long time ago. Dad, I’m worried that I’m making him worry again.”
“Of course he’ll worry more after something like that happens!”
“…… I guess so. I understand. I’ll talk to father about it when I get home!”

It seems that Kurase has her own reasons, but after some persuasion from me and Fujibayashi, she finally nodded her head.
It was good that today’s incident was a misunderstanding, but there was still much to be alarmed about.
More and more, I am finding it hard to believe that the dream event was just a dream.

In that case, it would be Kurase who is most likely to get stabbed.
There’s also the possibility that he’s not an acquaintance at all, but since we don’t know who he is ……, we’ll have to narrow it down to the most likely one.

“S-Speaking of which. Why are you here, Arase?”
“Kurase called me. She called me from the phone and asked me to help her, so I thought, what’s going on?”
“I’m sorry for worrying you. ……”
“No, I’m glad you’re okay.”

To be honest, I was really tired. I haven’t run around like this in a long time.

“…… means, Kurase-san, do you know Arase’s contact information?”
“Eh? Yes! Arase-kun exchanged it with me the other day. He asked me to give him my contact information.”
“From Arase?”
“Yeah!”
“Hmm-hmm?”
“What?”

Fujibayashi is glancing at me in some way. I wondered if it was so strange that I had given Kurase my contact information.

“Nothing? Well, Kurase-san is neat and cute, I can see that though…..”

There seems to be a misunderstanding here, too.
I didn’t ask for Kurase’s contact information in order to invite her to play with me.

“Cute has nothing to do with being neat”
“C-Cute!?”
“So Arase is into girls like Kurase san”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Then what about someone like me?”
“I’m not good at it.”
“……….Muu”

What did you want me to answer? I’ve said it before, and it’s a pretty obvious answer, so don’t get all bent out of shape about it.

“Well, is there anything you notice about me today?”
“Notice anything? What’s that, all of a sudden?
“Just say it!”

I don’t know what she was talking about, but the fact that she was asking me this question meant that something was different from usual.

I look at Fujibayashi’s outfit from top to bottom. The outfit I usually see her in is a school uniform, but today she is in plain clothes. It is an outfit that suits Fujibayashi’s slender figure. The breasts are well defined …… and that’s not the point. If I said something like that, I would be beaten up.

But I’ve heard that women get cranky when we don’t notice this kind of change.
I don’t know ……. I don’t know. I’m going to have to take a wild guess.

“You cut your bangs!”
“boo. The correct answer was to have my ends trimmed and my eyelashes permed.”
“…………”

How should I know? Well, if I look closely, I think her hair looks better than usual, and her eyelashes look even longer than usual.

“Tss”

I was looking at her eyelashes and our eyes met. Fujibayashi smiles. Not good.

“Yes, well, as a punishment, give me your contact information.”
“Punishment for what?”

What’s the punishment for?

“Just tell me, look! Your phone! Get it out!”

I kind of drifted along and pulled out my phone and exchanged contact information.
It’s not that it’s something I have trouble exchanging, but it’s okay.
Fujibayashi was grinning as we exchanged. She’s probably thinking about how she can mess with me on the line anyway. In that sense, surely it’s punishment?

Just as I was thinking that, she put her face close to my ear.

“(If you like, I can send you a dirty selfie…)”
“!? I-I don’t want it!”
“Arase had a sullen look.”
“Idiot!”
“…………?”

See, I don’t need to tell you. I’m sure Kurase looked at me funny thanks to that.

“I’m so happy for you, Sana-chan!”
“Oh well. I’m sure I won’t be bored now.”

The atmosphere had become much more relaxed.
It’s getting late, so we should probably go home soon. Before something strange happens again.

“Oh, Ito-kun. About Yuri-chan, I finally got back to her!”

As I was about to leave, Kurase now started talking about Asagiri’s recent situation.
I was just about to leave when Kurase started talking about Asagiri. …… I wanted to go home and lie down, but it was something I was concerned about, so I couldn’t be indifferent about it.
Kurase was also concerned about the fact that she could not get in touch with Asagiri on the line.

“I see. I’m glad to hear that.”
“Yes,……, but she seems to be very busy. I asked her to go out with me, but she said no.”

Kurase looked sad.

It’s quite unusual for Asagiri to refuse Kurase’s invitation. I would have thought she would have said yes to both of them.

“I saw Asagiri-san today.”
“Oh, really?”
“Yes, yes! She was out in the Nagahama area, on a date.”
“Eeh!?”
“A date?!”

Both Kurase and I sounded confused. That Asagiri is ……?
So, you mean she wasn’t in touch with Kurase much either?

“Yes, she was with a guy at a crepe shop. She was alone with a guy at a crepe shop. That was definitely a date.”
“That Yuri-chan is …….”

Kurase was so surprised that she could not keep her mouth shut.

Apparently, she is seriously surprised. I think I would tell my best friend if I had a girlfriend. That’s why she is suprised huh?

But …… that Asagiri? I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine her happily dating her boyfriend. I’ll have to tease her next time…….No, I’d better not.

“Ah, but isn’t that, by any chance, her little brother?”
“Oh, I see.”
“I do think his face is a little young.”

Then that makes sense. She said her brother was here, and she would at least go out with him.

“Just …….”

Fujibayashi then continued.

“I think that suspicious guy who was chasing Kurase earlier,……, I think that’s probably her little brother.”
“Eh?”
“What?”
“When he ran away, his hood came off. I’m not so sure because I saw him in the daytime from a distance, but now that I think about it, I think he was wearing the same outfit.”

I’m getting extra confused.
Asagiri’s brother stalking Kurase? Why? What on earth for?
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I’ll ask Asagiri about that again. The sun is setting, so I think I’ll call it a day.

I still had a lot of questions, but there was no use thinking about it on the side of the road. So, we decided to disband.
Fujibayashi asked me if I was going to let the girl go home alone in the dark. I was told to drop them off at their respective places, but that is another story.

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RKADE 14
RKADE 14
11 months ago

Still pretty sure it’s Takahashi and not the little brother but okay.