“So, what’s the matter? …… somehow, I can guess who you’re talking about.”

I ask Takagi as she arrives at the landing of a random staircase that deviates from the pathway from the classroom to the entrance to the building.

“I see. ……. It’s pretty obvious to everyone around, isn’t it?”

Takagi chuckled a little bitterly.

After thinking about what to say, as if choosing her words, Takagi began to speak slowly.

“Yeah. ……. Maybe it’s about Akane, as you might imagine, Kokonoe-kun. ……”

I thought, “I knew it,” but I didn’t know the rest of the story, so I listened to Takagi’s explanation.

“That girl still seems to think it’s Kokonoe-kun’s fault that Sana has changed,…….”

“…… what is it?”

I asked her if she was doing something again after the incident at the library, and it seemed like I was right.

“To put it simply, Akane was blowing the whistle that Kokonoe-kun is Sana’s stalker.”

“Why is that? ……”

The contents were so untrue that I couldn’t help but shove them at Takagi.

And also Takagi, as if tired, let out a small breath, “Really,” she said.

“you won’t be able to reassure …… me, but it’s okay. I don’t think anyone thinks it’s true at this point. It’s more like Akane herself is isolating herself more because of it …….”

“You mean there was no one to believe ……?”

That was unexpected and confirmed to Takagi.

There’s probably only one person on school who trusts my personality more than Kobayashi.

I thought she was asking me to be careful because there might be people who believe Kobayashi’s story,…….

“I don’t think that………, but we’ve taken care of that.”

“What do you mean, ……?”

It’s not that I don’t trust Takagi for bringing me this information, but I am suspicious.

As if she knew this, Takagi continued.

“Akane had told me about it, you know. She said, ‘Let’s save Sana together.’ …… All I had to do was explain to the person Akane seemed to have talked to that the girl had been acting strangely lately, and clear up the misunderstanding.”

Takagi pretended that she was fine, but in reality, it was probably quite hard work.

Takagi was showing signs of fatigue.

From the looks of it, I can only assume that stopping her beforehand would have been futile.

There are still some things I’m wondering about, but for now, I’ll leave it…….

“Thanks….., Takagi.”


Takagi let out a surprised voice in response to my thanks.

I, on the other hand, didn’t understand why Takagi looked so surprised.

“No, Takagi was protecting me, wasn’t she? Not only did she not cooperate with Kobayashi, she went through the trouble of clearing up the misunderstanding one by one, and even told me about it. A single thank-you wouldn’t be enough.”

Takagi blinked widely at my words, then relaxed and smiled.

“It really wasn’t that much trouble. Sana has been visiting you a lot lately, and even if she was jealous, everyone could tell it was a lie.

“…… I see.”

I was relieved to hear that, and my expression softened a little.

Looking at me like that, Takagi said

“…… just a little bit, I understand why Sana is so attracted to you.”

“What’s that?”

I narrowed my eyes in the sense of ‘I’m not sure,’ but Takagi smiled, ‘Just a little bit.

“….Thank you, Kokonoe-kun.”


This time, Takagi’s thanks makes me tilt my head back.

When I looked at her with even more suspicious eyes, Takagi added

“Don’t look at me like that. I’ve been apologizing a lot, but I’m also thankful, you know? At that time, you also stopped Sana.”

“Oh …….”

that time, it makes a little sense.

“I just didn’t want to see Sakurae like that, that’s all.”

“I’m with you on that. You’re not being …… honest, are you?”

Saying that, Takagi laughed at me when I made a disgusted face.

“….Are you sure you want to leave this matter alone for now?”

When I went back to the topic and confirmed it, Takagi nodded, “yeah”

“I’m sure everyone has already noticed that Akane is acting strangely, and I doubt anyone will believe her. She’s even starting to avoid me …….”

Takagi said that, looking a little pained, and continued after seeing me nod.

“The only thing is, she’s going to think I’m a traitor because of this, so I don’t know what she’s going to do now. If I didn’t do anything, that would be the best thing to do,…… but that may not happen.”

“She hasn’t given up yet,……?”

Kobayashi’s reluctance makes me fed up.

“I don’t know if it has anything to do with it, but something tells me that that girl is in contact with someone from another school. I can only hope and pray that it’s nothing weird.”

“With someone from another school ……”

I don’t know what that means, but as Takagi said, all I can do now is pray.

“This is what I wanted to talk to you about today. I’m sorry for making you go through all this trouble.”

“No, you’ve helped me a lot. Thank you.”

I thought the conversation was over, but Takagi said to me as if he had just remembered.

“I forgot one important thing. It’s about Sana. ……”

“…… Oh, sure.”

Takagi mentioned Sakurae’s name, and I immediately knew what he was talking about.

If Sakurae finds out what Takagi told me, she doesn’t know what she’ll do to Kobayashi.

“I shouldn’t say this, but can I leave Sana alone? If I move strangely, then…”

Takagi looked uncomfortable saying this, but I understood what he meant.

“There’s no need for you to tell about something strange. I’ll explain it to her.”

“You’re going to tell her ……?”


I understand Takagi’s desire to keep it a secret if possible, but I’m more afraid of her finding out later.

…She even told her, ‘I’ll never let you get close to him’ I hope she doesn’t know yet.

“Takagi held it down this far. I’ll tell Sakurae not to do anything, so leave it to me. …Even so, if Sakurae moves, I’ll stop her again.”

Takagi couldn’t seem to hide her unease, but she nodded at my words.

“…… understand. Please do.”

I nodded vigorously so that Takagi’s anxiety would be allayed.

[Looks like Kobayashi is acting weird again, but don’t do anything Sakurae.]

[…… Why?]

[Takagi’s holding her back. It didn’t seem necessary for Sakurae to do anything.]

[If Shota-kun is having a bad day, I’ll take care of it. Serika is not reliable enough, right?]

[You know, …… I’m saying there’s no need for that. I also think it’s okay to leave it to Takagi.]

[…… but I can’t allow it.]

[Calm down ! I’ll talk to you tomorrow at lunchtime, so don’t do anything until then!]

[…..I understand]

[I’ll end this conversation once and for all then. And I want you to put fried chicken in my lunch again tomorrow.]

[Yeah, I’ll take care of it! Is there anything else you want to eat? For now, I’m going to include Shota’s favorites: hamburger steak, dumplings, spring rolls, sausage and potato salad.]

[The salad is okay, but there are too many main dishes. ……]

“Shota-kun, that’s no good. ……”

The next day at lunchtime, I explained the situation to Sakurae, and she said that with eyes that were sincerely worried about me.

After listening to Takagi’s story, I sent a message to Sakurae, but even after talking to her directly, Sakurae still seemed unconvinced.

…….I was able to fool her with the bento story when I sent the message to her……, but that’s not going to happen now.

“If we leave her alone, she’ll cause trouble for Shota-kun again. That’s all I got to say the other day, so I need to be more clear this time!”

In response to Sakurae’s gasp, I lightly hit her on the head with my knuckles.

“I’m telling you to stop it. I told Sakurae about this time, it doesn’t mean I want you to help me. I didn’t want you to be like before again, so I told you that even if you knew, you didn’t have to do anything.”


“No but. I’m almost done with this. Don’t do anything that’s going to make things worse.”

Sakurae holds her head with her hands when I hit her, and she gets teary-eyed.

“Then I can’t be of any help to you, Shota-kun,……?”

I sighed as Sakurae said that.

“It’s not like I like you because you’re useful. When it comes to being useful,……, Sakurae is doing enough for me.”


Sakurae looked up and seemed to have no idea what I was talking about.

I sighed again, this time loudly, and pointed to the purse in her hand.

“You made me dinner, didn’t you? Enough, that …… makes me happy.”

“Oh, ……. Yeah!”

Sakurae didn’t look happy at all, but her expression suddenly lit up.

I let out a sound to blow away my embarrassment.

“All right! …… then I guess we’re done talking. Let’s have lunch.”

“I’ll make you some tea right away! Oh, I have some sterilization sheets, so Shota-kun, wipe your hands first …….”

I smiled softly at Sakurae, who immediately started to move around

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