More than half a year had passed since my encounter with Shinkai san, and I was still spending time alone. Perhaps it was because she told me she was my friend that I began to place higher expectations on the existence of a friend.

I later learned that she’s a member of the student council and works hard every day for the benefit of the students. She’s also an excellent student with excellent grades and is an all-around athlete with that cute face. I wondered if she might be a reincarnation of one of the heroines of anime or novels. If she were to call me a friend, I would naturally set the bar high for the kind of friend I would want to have around me.

At the very least, there’s no one in my current class who boasts charisma or brains on par with hers, or even close to it. I had completely taken a condescending attitude toward people in my mind, but that would change to indifference after more than six months. Well, I had given up around them.

By this time, ‘youth’ seemed a bit childish. I was cold as snow, and I was getting cold to the idea of friends. I’m sure it’s because I came into contact with someone who was exemplary, idealistic, and fantastic as high school girl. The scenery around me seems to be fading away.


Recently, y temper and short-circuited behavior have calmed down, but I’m still a loner. Compared to the beginning, I have more conversations with my classmates, but most of the time it’s about class or administrative matters. It’s not the kind of conversation you want to have between friends.

As I was leading such a boring life, before I knew it, the first year was almost over.

(……Ah, that person probably lying)

But that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. During the past year, I have not been able to talk to anyone properly, but I observed the environment around me more than anyone else. I monitored my classmates, who was getting along with whom, who was thinking about whom, and so on.

In addition, I read a lot of different genres of books during the year. At first, I read mostly novels, but gradually I read essays, foreign literature, and even books on the depths of the human psyche.

I read these books on psychology in the hope that they would help me control my own unstable emotions, but I have recently realized that I can also apply them to the people around me. My current favorite is to see how the target person is feeling at the moment. I’m not sure if I’m right, but I’ve become able to look at the human psyche enough to get a rough idea.


That’s what I always think. I always wonder why we all live in our skins. In this classroom, there is hardly anyone who is speaking from the heart. Except for the noisy boys in the class, most of them are always hiding something important. Such an unstable situation is made to exist with careful attention.

Arguably, it’s very difficult to live. Especially for someone like me who has not yet fully grown up with reason.

(……I’m already a sophomore in high school.)

And so I think of my mother, who’s still fighting the disease in her hospital bed. That I’ve spent the past year and nothing has changed from when I was in middle school.


And so, sophomore year of high school. In the second year of high school, we change classes based on our freshman year grades, but for me it’s a meaningless event. I’m sure that nothing will change.

As a result, nothing happened to make me come out of my shell or change my way of thinking……except for one irregularity.


I was in a new classroom with a new grade and, naturally, a new seat. There I sat next to a certain male student. From now on until the seat change, I would be spending the rest of the day with my neighbor. I looked into his face, thinking that at the very least I would not cause him any trouble.


Ba-dump !

When I looked into that person’s eyes, my heart jumped for some reason. It wasn’t that I had fallen in love at first sight, or that I had met an old classmate again, or some such silly circumstance.

(……What’s with this guy?)

His eyes are overwhelmingly colder than mine when I look in the mirror. There was an aura of coldness and pressure emanating from him that made me believe him even if he told me he was killing people. He seems to be playing with his phone, but I wonder what on earth he is thinking deep in his heart right now…….


The time I spent staring at it was probably less than a second. But I felt a sense of urgency and quickly looked away. If I had looked at him any longer, would we have possibly made eye contact? And I shuddered just imagining what he would say to me at that moment. So much so that I could not understand even though I sat next to him.


I grit my teeth to hold back the fear that would take over my body if I let my guard down. It was clearly abnormal to be so intimidated and scared just by looking him in the eye for a moment. And it’s not like our eyes met or anything. And yet, I feel this tension.

(C-could it be, he’s related to the underworld?)

I’m from that side myself, but I’ve never seen such a cold-hearted person before. If he takes any action, my……or even the peace of this class will end in an instant. I had a feeling that I was going to have to do something about it.

(I-I should never have studied psychology if I had to feel this way……)

I was about to witness a monstrous, emotionless being. The thought of sitting next to such a being for the rest of my school days made me almost fall over with dizziness.

But that day, I didn’t hear him speak to me or anyone else in the class, and I ended up seeing off Shinkai san and the student council president’s greetings at the opening ceremony.

And from the next day onward, a new kind of trouble began to sprout around me.

“Yukika san, have you thought about what we talked about this morning?’

Kisaragi Yuu became the class president. I didn’t expect her to be this childish. In a way, she’s like me from before, but with a radically different lightness of heart. I was convinced after a short conversation that our personalities would never match.

But then she started to expand the conversation to the boy next to me……Shiina Kanata. I had never talked to him because I was afraid of him, and I had hoped never to talk to him, because I thought he was a very scary person.

“Sorry, I’m…….”

I don’t know why, but I felt that if I let him take the lead in the conversation, he might take the conversation in a strange direction. Perhaps he’s thinking of me as a sacrifice. At least, I had a feeling that he would take such an in-your-face approach.


I made up my mind.

“Sorry, we can’t go.”

If this happens, it’s desperation. Let’s get him involved and then decline her invitation. Then I decided while preparing to talk to him for a bit. With the faint hope that the overwhelming threat might break the chains within me.

And so, having escaped Kisaragi san’s persistent advances, we went out onto the balcony and talked for a little while. Unintentionally, I took on a different, stiffer tone than usual, but that was his fault. I was so taken in by his atmosphere that I became frightened and my tone became unintelligible, something I had never said before.

Then I gathered my courage and tried to speak casually as if I was talking bad about Kisaragi san in an appropriate manner……

(Is it more peaceful than I thought?)

But as usual, I can’t read what he’s thinking in his mind at all. When I tell him this, he says it’s just my imagination or something to distract my consciousness, but I don’t have that poor of an idea either. He definitely has dangerous thoughts. A sense of danger that I didn’t even know existed was dominating my mind.

And that premonition may have been right on target in a sense.

(No kidding……)

He intervened between me and Kisaragi Yuu, disturbing her mind and causing indirect damage to me. And as a result, I almost let my mind run wild and hit her too. If I had laid a hand on her, I would have regretted many things.

In a manner of speaking, it could be said that I was given a hand by the person who pushed me over the cliff.

And after that, he was still doing something behind the scenes…….I think. Strange things kept happening, such as a first grader leaving school and Hisui somehow getting acquainted with him. The most memorable one was at the sports festival the other day. That rabbit-faced guy was definitely him. I questioned his sanity at the time, wondering what in the world he was doing.

“Seriously, what is he?”

At first, I had the courage to talk to him because of my skepticism, but lately I’ve completely lost track of my neighbor. What on earth does he want?


“Hah……seriously, what is it?”

The other day, I received a phone call from my father. He said that a man had shown up who wanted to get engaged to me. Combined with the stress I’ve been under lately, I didn’t know what was going on. But according to him……

[For now, just agree to it once. After that,…..we will crush them with all the power of the Yukihana family.]

I was relieved to hear him say that, but if that was the case, why did I have to go to the trouble of agreeing to talk with him once? I questioned him about this roundabout way of doing things. Then…..

[Apparently, they have an investment in the hospital where Tamaki is hospitalized. And it’s not outward money, it’s dirty money behind the scenes.]

“That means…….”

[It is exactly like that.]

In other words, if I were to refuse the engagement here, my mother might be in danger. I struggled to hold myself back from falling to my knees when I heard that story, and I told my father that I agreed to the whole thing. We decided to just tell Hisui that I was going to get engaged.

If this whole story gets out to Hisui, who knows what he might do?

[Sorry……but leave the rest to me.]

And so it is now……

As the full moon illuminates my room, I pick up a letter. I wonder who in the world put this on my desk and when. Maybe it was the guy with the weird sunglasses and all-back hair who came in the other day.

“……What am I supposed to do?”

Can I rely on him?

Is it okay to be vulnerable to someone for a change?

Is it okay to tell someone that I’m lonely and that I don’t have any friends?


Then I typed the several digit number written on the letter into my phone.

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