“…… earlier was also the one who hurt Shota-kun, wasn’t it? Shall I go and punish him?”

“Stop it.”

Just like with Kobayashi, Sakurae asked, “Why? ‘ She tilted her head in confusion.

“We can talk it out. Don’t worry Sakurae, have fun with everyone.”

“…… That’s impossible when Shota-kun is with the enemy.”

As this was happening, Takagi followed Sakurae and came close to her.

However, perhaps sensing a change in Sakurae’s air, she kept her mouth shut.

“… Takagi, take care of Sakurae.”

I called out to Takagi.

Hearing that, Sakurae looks shocked.

“….. I’ll be fine. Let me stay by Shota-kun’s side.”

After the Kobayashi incident, I can’t believe it.

I smiled and said softly, trying to reassure Sakurae as much as possible.

“I’ll be fine too. …. Look, if you don’t clean up quickly, Kikuchi won’t have time to eat takoyaki. I’ll talk to you properly later, Sakurae, stay with Takagi and the others for now.”

While talking about this, Tomoki also seems to have finished explaining to his friend who came along with him.

“Then, let’s go.”

“….. got it.”

Tomoki nodded at my words, so I started walking.

Sakurae looked at me with tearful eyes.

I brought Tomoki with me to the gymnasium where I was eating yakisoba with Kikuchi earlier.

The front entrance to the gymnasium was busy with people watching the performances, but the back entrance was busy with people carrying things in and out.

“This is a good place”

I said, as if to confirm that we had reached a place where there were few people.

“So, …… why were you with Yamamoto?”

‘I’ll tell you first, ……’, I prefaced my answer to Tomoki’s question.

“I didn’t forgive Yamamoto.”

“Then ……!”

“It’s Tachibana.”

Interrupting Tomoki’s words as he was about to ask again, I told him Rio’s name.

“…. Rio? What’s wrong with Rio! I knew it, Yamamoto is still ……!”

I felt Tomoki’s reaction as if he was in love with Rio, but I continued talking as if it didn’t matter.

“I heard that Tachibana has been acting strangely lately. Yamamoto saw it as if I had something to do with it. ……Seeing as how you’re not with Rio too, you must have a hunch about something.”


As I casually searched for information, Tomoki started thinking as if he had something in mind.

“…. something, you remember?”

When I asked him that, Tomoki opened his mouth.

“Certainly …… Rio is strange these days. It seems like she’s in frequent contact with someone, and she’s hardly ever with us,……. Wasn’t that other person Yamamoto ……?””

Tomoki apparently saw Yamamoto as being sticking with Tachibana.

However, there is no such line from Yamamoto’s story.

And with Tomoki’s words, the credibility of what Yamamoto was saying increased.

“I don’t know what Tachibana wants, but Yamamoto wants to stop Tachibana. I’m only temporarily cooperating with him because …… that’s where he and I are alike”

This told what Tomoki wanted to know.

To what extent this guy believes that, or how he thinks about it, he can do whatever you want.

With that in mind, I called out to Kikuchi, who was waiting for me, and tried to go back. ……


Tomoki called me, so I had no choice but to turn around.

“If Rio is going to do something, I want to stop her too! Isn’t there anything I can do too?”

I ask Tomoki.

“…. what can Tomoki, who hasn’t been informed of anything by Tachibana, do?”

“Ugh ……”

Tomoki choked on his words in response to my question.

I wasn’t expecting an answer, so I let out a sigh and tried to walk away again.

“… wait? Maybes ……!”

Tomoki then sounds as if he has realised something.

“I might know what Rio’s after!”

“Yshe’s after ……?”

I can not hear the words, I turn to Tomoki.

“Yeah. When I was with Rio at the end of the summer holidays, I met Sakurae-san, who was there a while ago!”

“Tachibana and Sakurae……?”

Why is Sakurae’s name mentioned here?

Moreover, have the two already met?

Tomoki continues further.

“When me and Shota met, you told Rio the name of this Sakurae girl, right? Then, Rio was researching about Sakurae-san. Then we happened to meet, and when the two of us found out, they had an argument. After that, Rio became like she is now. …… So maybe it’s Sakurae-san’s fault that Rio went crazy?”

Tomoki’s hypothesis made the blood rush to my head.

“…. you mean Sakurae is connected to Tachibana?”

I asked calmly, trying to confirm, but Tomoki simply denied it.

“No, as I said earlier, they were arguing. When she say it’s Sakurae-san’s fault, she’s saying you are holding hands or anything…Ah, what should I say!”

I was a little bothered by Tomoki’s inability to come to a conclusion, but it seems I was in too much of a hurry too.

If Tachibana is still attached to me, there is no way Sakurae would team up

If that’s the case, then …….

“Is the aim of someone like Tachibana to get rid of Sakurae?”

The same conclusion as mine, Kikuchi said. 

“No, that’s right, but it’s not a matter of elimination or anything like that, …….”

There are some things I don’t like about the way Kikuchi said it, but Tomoki seems to agree with it.

I’m worried about Sakurae, and my chest tightens.

(…… It’s okay. If Tachibana’s target was me, I was thinking that Sakurae would be in danger. Just to be sure, I made the right decision to ask Takagi to arrive at Sakurae as much as possible.)

I suppressed my desire to run out right now and exhaled to calm myself down.

(Just so I could check with Sakurae ……)

Sakurae had met Tomoki and Tachibana without my knowledge.

And from the way she looked earlier, she seems to know about Yamamoto as well.

“…. Shota, I’ll talk to Rio.”


When I was thinking about Sakurae, Tomoki said so with a determined expression.

“… I thought I’d join you, but I still can’t forgive Yamamoto. So I’ll talk to Rio myself.”


It’s not hard to understand what Tomoki is saying.

It would be best if he could convince Tachibana before something happened.

If so,……

“…… I’ll go with you.”

When I said that, Tomoki smiled shyly.

“I thought Shota would say that. …… but can you leave this to me?”

“….. are you going to be alright?”

“Even though we’re no longer friends, you’re still worried about me.”

Tomoki smiled his usual friendly grin, and I looked away in disgust.

When I looked at him again, he said.

“I’ll definitely stop her, leave it to me. So, if it works out …….”

Tomoki mumbled, ‘I knew it was nothing’, but I guessed the rest of the story.

“…… Tachibana is said to be gathering a bad bunch of people. Be careful.”

“…… I see.”

When I told Tomoki the information from Yamamoto, Tomoki looked down a little sadly, perhaps thinking of Rio.

But he quickly looked up.

“I’ll give you a good report, so unblock me this time, okay?”

“….. okay.”

When the conversation was over and Tomoki was about to leave, he looked back as if he …… remembered.

“….. Well, is that girl Sakurae alright? When I met her during summer holiday, she was really scary.”

I recalled the expression Sakurae had on her face towards Kobayashi and made a bitter face.

Probably, Tomoki also saw that look.

“Yeah. It might have been so for Tomoki, but ……, she’s a good girl. Please forgive her.”

“I see. ……, I understand.”

Tomoki also smiled at me as if he had guessed something.

And this time, Tomoki left us.

“…… we’ll go too.”


I began to understand Tachibana’s aim.

I walked with Kikuchi and contacted Sakurae.

It was time for my afternoon shift, so I came back to the classroom.

Sakurae was there too, and even though I had confirmed that she was safe, I was relieved to see her.

However, Sakurae was not in good spirits.



When I call out to her, she doesn’t reply in the usual energetic manner, but only turns her gaze towards me.

“I’ve got some things I want to talk about, including what happened earlier. Will you come with me?”

“….., but the shop?”

I say the answer I’ve been hand-picked to give.

“I asked the call-in person for this time. Let’s go.”

“…. Yeah.”

I took Sakurae and left the classroom.

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