“We lost.”

The boys in my class were in a mood of defeat. Up until the middle of the game, both classes were fighting well. However, from the middle of the game, their poor coordination became noticeable, and they were caught off guard and jumped on the pole. It didn’t take long for the pole to bend.

“I’m sorry guys, I wish I could have come up with a better strategy.”

“It wasn’t Hayama’s fault.”

“That’s right. Even though I’m usually tired from club activities, I can’t impose any more burdens on you.”

The leader of the pole topple, Hayama, apologizes to everyone but most of the students don’t care. At least it seems that there are no students who think they lost because of Hayama.

(with Hayama, we might be able to fight to a surprisingly good point.)

His charisma is not low, as he is said to be the next head of the soccer club. If we all work together to support Hayama, we will be able to put up a more decent fight and strategy than before.

“Oops, is it that late already? Club activities will be starting soon, so everyone disperse !”

After a short review session, Hayama told us to disperse. Hayama told each of us what our goals were, and then dashingly got ready for the upcoming club activities. The next time we would be able to practice on the school grounds would be in a week.

(But still, my goal…)

I don’t know if he was watching during the attack, but Hayama told me this.

[Since you’re a bit passive,you can take a more solid stance, Shiina. That’s right, use your haki like in one piece and exert enough intimidation to stun the enemy.]

He’s mistaking manga for reality. And he wasn’t just talking to me, he was talking to a lot of students. The others laughed it off, but at least we know that Hayama is not suited to be a commander. He has as much or more charisma as Kisaragi, but not much in the way of leadership qualities.

(Well, I’ll stick with him a little longer.)

As long as he gives me the right instructions, I can be at ease. If we were to lose halfway through the pole topple and start shoving the blame on each other, I would be the one to take the brunt of it. So, if I’m going to lose, I’d like to at least win one bout of pole topple before that.

(Even my step sister would scold me.)

This sports festival is the last event that my step sister will hold as student council president. Even though I’m doing my best not as a player but as a manager, it might be frustrating if her brother loses the first match. And then she would complain about it when we got home. Something similar had happened to me several times in the past.

Anyway, I grabbed my luggage and headed for the restroom. I didn’t want to take off my clothes and change in a classroom full of people. Besides, it was a private school and the restrooms were quite spacious. It was the first time for me to change my clothes in the restroom, but I was sure it would not be inconvenient.

After changing into my uniform in the restroom, I headed straight home.

It was around 8 p.m. when my step sister came home. It seems that the work of the student council is at an end as the preparation period for the sports festival has begun. And perhaps because this was her last job, she was very enthusiastic about it.

“What are you going to compete in?”

“Pole topple.”

“……Just make sure you don’t cause any trouble.”

Apparently, my step sister thought I was going to cause trouble for someone by knocking over poles. Isn’t it a bit too much?

By the way, she’s going to participate in the relay. She really wanted to participate in more than one competition, but she can’t enjoy it for long because she’s in charge of running the festivals, and she’s also in charge of organizing it. That’s why she decided to participate in the relay race, where unity with the classmates is important.

“It’s the last event, and I’m sure most of the work will be done by then.”

My step sister is reading a math reference book. Even at a time like this, it seems that she’s still studying hard. Even though she has been sent out to meetings regarding the student council and the sports festival, she still manages to do her best despite being my step sister. She’s the complete opposite of me.

“Oh, I wanted to ask you something.”


“Are you going to be serious at the sports festival?”

She’s a really inedible step sister. She knows a lot of things about me, which is why she says things like that on a whim. I’m not sure if she thinks I’m going to respond honestly to such a statement. No, I don’t think she does, and that’s why I respond jokingly.

“I don’t know.”

“I’m graduating soon, so why don’t you think about showing a little devotion to your sister?”

“I did, didn’t I?”

“Yes, more than a year ago !”

No, even if you say such a thing, it will be troublesome. Are you going to let me play an active role in the sports festival and brag that I’m your proud little brother?

Also, I wonder if the last words were filled with anger because I’ve been causing trouble lately. I can’t say anything because looking back on my behavior since I became a second year student, there are a few things that come to mind.

“Anyway, it’s time for you to stop cutting corners. I know I’m the one who can tell you this now, but third grade is really tough, okay?”

“….I’m getting hungry.”

“Didn’t we just have dinner together? And the cold pasta that I put a lot of effort into making.”

That’s what I felt when I was told that……I went upstairs as I said something vague. I don’t know what kind of unreasonable things I’ll be told if I let my step sister take the initiative anymore.

“I forgot to tell you that Dad is coming home next week for the first time in a while, so don’t stop by and come home right away.”


I haven’t seen my step father in a long time. My step father is a professor at a university, and every day he travels around the university and other research institutes on some sort of business. I don’t know what kind of research or lectures he does, but I heard that he is famous in the area.

In addition, he seems to place a lot of importance on his relationship with seminar students, staying late to help them with their papers and job hunting, and proactively giving tours of his laboratory to first-year university students who are interested in his activities. I don’t know if it’s because of this or not, but he seems to have grown to love his job as a university professor. And because of that, he doesn’t come home much.

(Yeah, but he said he sees Mom on a regular basis.)

Probably they meet up somewhere without me or my step sister’s knowledge and have a date-like thing. Sometimes my mother comes home late, too, so that must be it.

I haven’t seen the two of them together in a row recently. The last thing I remember is the sight of the two of them looking happy at the city office when they submitted their marriage certificate. They looked happy even to me. I remember my step sister also congratulating them.

(Even so, I wonder how they could trust each other like that.)

As you can imagine, I don’t know, but I would like to ask her someday when I have the chance. How could they be so happy to enter into a lifelong contract with a stranger, an engagement? A family is a community formed when strangers mingle with strangers. Some people call the child born at the end of such a relationship the fruit of love, but I don’t like that expression.

A third party to be exact. It’s someone who is born as a result of two strangers selfishly loving each other. It can be a factor that tears their love apart, and there’s no way to predict how it will affect them.

And even if they get married and become husband and wife, there’s no way to know when they’ll betray each other……

(I guess I’ll never know.)

Thinking that, I climbed the stairs alone. Because I can’t love anyone. That’s why no one should love themselves.

Haruka stared at Kanata’s back until she couldn’t see him anymore.

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