The encounter with Kisaragi Hikaru caused ripples in my heart.

Even now, on the day of the festival, it is stuck in my mind and won’t go away.

–That girl…is a poor girl.

It was strangely stuck in my mind. It was impressive that Kisaragi spoke with such foresight.

What is it that makes Kisaragi feel sorry for her? There was no answer. I realized that I had not been able to penetrate the depths of Kisaki Saki’s feelings.

“Rika’s classroom is here?”

The school was crowded at lunchtime. The whole place is colorful, with students dyeing their hair and cosplaying for a show.

Completely free time with no shifts. Rika is currently working as a ghost in a haunted house. The idea was to see how Rinka worked.

–When the time comes, you must come, okay?

There was no reason to refuse. I was curious about the quality of Rika’s work, as she had scared the boys in her class.

A line had already formed. It showed how popular it was. I could hear the stiff screams coming from inside the room.

The high-pitched voices of the girls made me uncomfortable. The boys seemed to be doing the same, and I could tell they were trying to calm them down.

I could also hear the screams of others. Apparently, the quality of the music was quite good.

“How many are you?”

The girl at the reception desk asked me in a clerical manner. I didn’t know her because we were in different classes.

“One person.”

“I understand….one person will come in now ! Then, please come in.”

After a short wait, I entered the classroom.

It was dark. The lights were off and the windows were almost completely covered. Gradually, my eyes adjusted. Still, the eeriness remained.

Ghosts appeared from blind corners suddenly with a [bang].

I was so taken by the suddenness of their movements that I couldn’t help but let out an [Ah] sound. I could understand the screams I had heard earlier.

There was a faint background music playing. It is frightening, and it is stirring up a latent fear. The background music, which was supposed to be muted in the quiet classroom, was clearly audible.

“Still no sign of her……”

I think I have reached the halfway point. I’ve finally gained the patience.

Where in the haunted house would Rika come out? This was a secret. The reason for this was that if I knew in advance, it would dampen the excitement.

I couldn’t relax until Rika came out. My shoulders were tense. They are even more tense now. Whenever another person appears, I feel a momentary relief that it’s different again.

This time, too, I was immersed in the same relief.

“—-Aaaaaaaaa ! !”

The feeling of being stepped inside. The air cools quickly. A sense of despair, as if I was facing the real thing.

“Uwaaaaa ! !”

I almost gave out. I’m unable to stand up…..?

No way.

“Masatoshi, I’ve been waiting for you.”

It’s Rika.

And yet, in her white attire, she looks like a different person. There is no strength in my legs. I’m haunted by the delusion that I’m going to be taken in by it all.

“Oh, no, don’t. Stay away from me.”

“Geez, Masatoshi, you’re such a scaredy-cat.”

“I’m really scared. L-let’s talk about it later !”

My trembling legs were unreliable. I barely made it out of the haunted house, walking along the walls.

“You’re too scared.”

That was the first thing Rinka said to me when I saw her again.

After finishing her shift at the haunted house, I met her again at the cafeteria.

When she returned to her usual uniform, I instantly felt less scared.

“For better or worse, you were too much in the role. I thought it was a real ghost.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Maybe it’s because of the novels? I have a stock of characters from all walks of life.”

“I wonder if there’s a deformity in there, too, since you’re a genuine horror buff.”

“Of course. When I was trying to create a ghostly figure that would make you tremble, it turned out to be quite a feat.”

“You’re terrifying.”

[Not that bad] Rika said humbly as she sipped her melon soda through a straw. She had bought it at a maid cafe in another class before meeting up with me.

“Melon soda is rare.”

“I couldn’t help it because it was hot. It was cold and cheap.”

“This one was cold.”

“I guess it’s just the right amount of two.”

“No difference.”

I didn’t accept cold drinks. Only today, I bought a warm cup of coffee from the vending machine.

“How’s Masatoshi’s class going? Is it going well?”

“It’s a simple event, but that’s why the turnout is so good. It’s quite a response”

“I think it’s good that you don’t need too many people. You can always get out, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

I still haven’t gotten serious about skipping out of the school festival. I think it’s okay as long as I don’t appear at the after-party.

“I know approximately where I’m going to go. I think there’s an empty classroom that’s not being used.”

“Maybe some students are thinking the same thing.”

“You mean they’re using them for nefarious purposes? There have been cases like that in the past.”

“There have been?”

“I heard it from a friend. It was a long time ago.”

It’s a story that has nothing to do with our time.

“Are you enjoying the festival?”

“For now. I think it’s because I’m with Rika.”

“Glad to hear that.”

The festival is going well so far.

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