It was a sunny morning on Monday, the first day of the week.
We entered class and were greeted by this guy who hadn’t seen us in our uniforms in a while.


Seiichi Odawara has not been to school for a week.
Seiichi has been talking to a lot of people besides me, so he’s been approached by a lot of people one after another.
I’m not sure if it’s because he’s so well-liked or because he’s so easy to get along with, but it’s because of that that people like me are able to get to know each other.

Shun, who had already arrived at school, also comes and talks briefly.

“Well, I’ll see you after school, then.”
“I’ve prepared a lot of things.”

After confirming all that, the homeroom chime rang.
The teacher was happy to hear about Seiichi and looked at me and Shun slightly with her eyes.
I had told him not to talk about it too much, so it was agreed that Seiichi had a bit of a serious cold and was taking it easy.

The sixth period chime rang and it was after school.
This is where our strategy begins.

First, me.
It is not something to be commended, but since I am not usually involved in club activities, no club members come to take me back even if I am dawdling.
I take advantage of that position and let them move this time.

I check my surroundings and take out my phone.
The lenses are so good these days that I can see just enough to tell who’s who when I zoom in through the camera.

Next to Watanabe-senpai, who comes out of his locker, there are two faces I don’t recognize.
Seeing the three of them together heading toward Seiichi, I wonder if those are the two hipsters in question.

The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that the two of them are the same person.
It’s convenient for us, but …… well, considering what they did beforehand, I’m sure they would have packed it in.

We got together on Saturday and made a plan, and on top of that, we spent Sunday playing with all our might.
We hung out at a store near the school in the morning, played at an arcade in the afternoon, and in the evening, we walked proudly near the school where there were students engaged in club activities and used a family restaurant.
I am sure someone must have been watching us.

Furthermore, today was the first time for the six of us to use the school cafeteria.
Since both Saara and I had eaten out on Sunday night, we had no bento boxes.
Therefore, we proudly ordered set menus in front of everyone.
This must have been overwhelmingly conspicuous.

At the same time, everyone must have understood.
Seiichi Odawara is a member of Saara Ayado’s group.
He was one of the exceptions to the rule of Princess Saara, who often refuses invitations to play with them.

–This was something that Watanabe-senpai could not have overlooked.

As per the situation we created, Watanabe Senpai moved.
Checking the display, he expands the soccer club.
It will be a situation that Seiichi will have to endure a bit, but even so, I leave it to him because Seiichi himself said, ‘Let me do it.”
We trust that guy more than anything.
The only time he comes to the rescue is when danger looms.

The practice match begins. The advisor doesn’t seem to be watching the field, as if he is unmotivated.
He might think that this is partly responsible for shaping the current situation of the soccer team.

I saw the game and it was …… terrible.
Clearly, the more talented players are concentrated on the senior team, and furthermore, the passes are being passed around between the three of them.
Finally, they shoot …… at Seiichi, no.

The ball is intentionally sent to the right side of the field, substantially off the mark.
As we all know, the opposing team’s ball that crosses the goal net is a goal kick.
It is the goalkeeper’s job to retrieve that ball.

Seiichi runs to retrieve it and kicks it out of the goal net.
It draws a high parabola and …… one of the men next to Watanabe senpai catches it, and in just a few seconds it is back on Seiichi’s side.
From there, he takes over two passes and the ball settles at the feet of Watanabe senpai.
A shot into the net is not made ……. This time, the ball is sent to the far left corner.
If Seiichi doesn’t run and pick it up, the game will not progress.

It’s …… terrible.
The way these guys are playing, they have no intention of winning at all.
I know we are a weak school, but even so, we usually take the competition of our own club seriously.
I don’t feel that at all.

It was like an endless shuttle run.
Eventually, just as Seiichi is getting tired, the decisive moment arrives.

“Heyy! Get it with all your might, Odawara!”

With a loud voice that could be heard all the way over here, a black and white ball was slammed into Seiichi’s face.
I confirmed that moment.

“It’s a lot more over than I thought.”

–I appeared in front of everyone with an air of dignity.

“What the …… are you, a two-year monk? What do you outsiders want?”
“Senpai. Do you recognize me?
“…… you, don’t tell me you’re the one who came between me and Saara!”

I guess you remembered that time, indeed.
I heard that Watanabe-senpai fell down after that day, and he must have held a grudge against me.
Still, I don’t like it when he calls her by hernickname when she’s not there.

“Seiichi is a friend of mine. So I was looking at him for advice, and well, he doesn’t seem to be taking club activities seriously. …… I’d like to ask the advisor about this situation as well.”
“….. what is this guy, a crazy show-off?”
“I’d rather not show off.”

Still, leaving this guy alone would put Saara in danger in the future.
When I weighed this against my own laziness,…… I decided that I would choose the means to solve the problem, even if I had to push myself a little too hard.

I’m done playing it safe and overlooking it.
For my sake and for Saara’s for believing in me.

“If it’s going to bother Saara, who I get along with, I might as well work a little harder.”

My way of addressing Saara seems to have made Watanabe-senpai’s cronies notice me.

“Hey, Watanabe. Isn’t that him? He was the one who was most intimate with Princess at lunchtime.”
“……I-it’s youuuuu!!!”

The moment he realized this, Watanabe-senpai became enraged and lunged at me, grabbing me by the collar!
Watanabe-senpai’s wrist tightened up and I grabbed it back – I crushed it with all my strength!
Watanabe-senpai, who immediately frowned in pain, shook off my hand and backed away significantly while holding my wrist.

“……! You, you ……! You shady bastard. ……!”
“Don’t you know, Senpai, that muscle training is now a shady hobby?”
“Damn it, Even if I’m all …… Saara, like the first year girls. ……”
“Isn’t that an admission of guilt, when there’s a bad rumor going around?”
“Then what the hell, it’s none of your business ……!”

He was the kind of guy who would have formed a clique and blamed Seiichi even if he wanted to say something back.
The members of the club around us were also watching our situation, but they were not willing to stand on that captain’s side.
That’s how much they thought this approach was a problem, just because they couldn’t speak up.

Besides – the winner had already been decided.

“What are you doing!”

A sharp voice called out, and everyone’s faces turned that way.
I am inwardly relieved to see that someone has arrived as promised.

“I need to talk to your advisor, Sakagami sensei, to make sure that this is the case. Both to the principal and to the family.”

There he was, our usually pushy homeroom teacher.
The one who felt responsible for this problem more than anything else.
He was the most reliable adult of the day, who believed us without hesitation when we asked for his cooperation.

Next to the homeroom teacher is Saara, who is in the basketball team today, and Nagase-san, who passed her hopes on to the advisor.

“…… Worst”

Saara, who had watched the whole sequence of events, spat out in a low voice that showed no emotion.
Nagase-san also looked down on the senpai.

Furthermore, someone who should not be forgotten.
The eye of the typhoon in our group, Suzuka Sato, was proudly holding up her phone.
It’s not really a compliment, but she is our informant who doesn’t get angry when she dawdles as much as I do.

The moment senpai violently turned on me was filmed.
I nodded to Sato-san and handed her a small piece of equipment from my pocket.

This is the last key to maximize this issue.

“I was going to lead you on, but I didn’t think you’d come out ragging on your own.

I handed Sato-san the voice recorder I had borrowed from Shun.
This is checkmate.

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