Episode 27 – Things to protect

Source

https://kakuyomu.jp/works/1177354054922823111/episodes/1177354054935162176

“”…….””

I take Sakurae out and walk around with our class sign.

I took Sakurae out, but I couldn’t skip out in an empty place, and I couldn’t start talking to her.

“Shota-kun ……”

In such an atmosphere, Sakurae calls me with a teasing look.

“…. me, am I bothering you?”

I answered Sakurae’s words as if she was talking to herself.

“It’s not that I was annoyed with …… Sakurae. I’m sorry for avoiding you earlier.”

I denied it, but Sakurae’s voice still trembled

“But there were people there who annoyed and hurt Shota-kun,……, and I couldn’t do anything about it.”

“Sakurae …….”

I stopped walking and looked at Sakurae properly.

“Honestly, I’m happy that Sakurae is thinking about me and acting like that. However, I don’t want Sakurae to hurt anyone because of that, and I don’t want her to put herself in danger.”

“…. Shota-kun?”

Sakurae seemed to sense something as I said my words with passion.

“….I’m going to tell you what Yamamoto told me and what I talked about with Tomoki just now. So, Sakurae, will you tell me everything too?”

“……”

Sakurie pretended to think for a moment, then nodded her head.

“What Yamamoto told me was about Tachibana.”

I can’t go to a place where no one can pass, but in the corner of the courtyard, alongside Sakurae, I leaned against the school building.

There, I tell her everything.

“Yamamoto found out that Tachibana was gathering a bunch of ruffians, and he thought it was related to me. So he came to me the other day to check if I had anything in mind and to tell me to let him know if there was anything.”

“……”

Sakurae silently made a clenched fist.

Her face was downcast and she appeared to be desperately trying to suppress her anger.

“…… Yamamoto seemed concerned about stopping Tachibana himself, but I don’t even know why. But my side thinks Yamamoto can be used if Tachibana tries to set something up.”

“…… why didn’t you tell me?”

To Sakurae’s sharp question, I scratched my head before answering.

“It’s a selfish image of mine, but I had a feeling that if Sakurae heard about this, she’d go right in on Tachibana.”

“That’s ……, that may be so.”

With a small exhale at Sakurae’s affirmation, I continued.

‘Next, Tomoki’s side,……, to put it simply, after talking to him, I thought that Tachibana’s aim was Sakurae.”

“….. me?”

‘Yeah,’ I nodded, then asked.

“Tomoki told me about meeting Sakurae during the summer holidays. ……There, I heard that Tachibana was there too.”

“….”

Sakurae, gasped, I understood.

“Sakurae, are you hiding something from me?”

Sakurae stiffens her face and looks confused.

I jokingly said to Sakurae, trying to make it easier to talk to her

“……If I don’t know what kind of talk Sakurae had with Tachibana, I’ll have to follow her all the way.”

“….?”
Sakurae looked up curiously, as if she didn’t understand what I was trying to say.

“Because, you know. Like I said before, I don’t want anything to happen to Sakurae. Because ……, I can’t leave you if I don’t know how Tachibana is going to act. I’ll follow you anywhere, even home.”

“…… Fufu.”

There was no way I could do that, so Sakurae laughed as if she knew it was a joke.

“…. No, Shota-kun. Then I won’t want to talk to you.”

“Why not?”

“Because I want to stay with Shota-kun all the time. Shota-kun’s not leaving me is just a reward, okay?”

“…. I see.”

The air was found to have relaxed all at once at Sakurae’s words.

….After all, I prefer Sakurae with this kind of atmosphere.

‘But,……,’ she continued, looking up at me, Sakurae touched my cheek with one hand.

“If I make Shota-kun look this worried, I won’t be able to forgive myself. Because it’s ……, I’ll tell you everything. What I did during summer holiday, what happened with Tachibana Rio.”

“….. Yeah, let me hear it.”

Sakurae, while smiling a slightly troubled smile, slowly opened her mouth.

Sakurae then told me about the events of the summer holidays.

About how she was searching for my trauma, how she found out the names of Tachibana, Yamamoto and the others there, and how she met Tachibana and Tomoki. ……

I finished listening to everything and let out a sigh.

“….. so you came to fight with Rachibana?”

“Yes, I wonder….”

Sakurae affirmed and shunned, so I chuckled and put my hand on Sakurae’s head with a pop.

“…… idiot.”

“I-I’m sorry …….”

To Sakurae, who apologises apologetically but also a little happily, my smile softens, ‘Really, this girl……’.

“Well, it can’t be helped that you’ve done it. But now Tachibana’s aim is confirmed to be Sakurae.”

“….. aren’t you angry?”

“I am angry.”

When I patted Sakurae’s head a little roughly, Sakurae said, ‘Hya!’ she let out a small scream.

I remove my hand from Sakurae and continue.

“Don’t move around without permission anymore.”

“Y,-yes.”

Sakurae blushed a little and answered while fixing her hair that was messed up by me.

…… you really know what you’re doing, don’t you?

“…… anyway, I don’t even know how Tachibana is going to move. So, Sakurae, during the cultural festival, please stay as close to me as possible.”

“Eh?”

“Our shifts are all together, so it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s better to stay together during breaks. Also, I’ll take you to the station on your way home.”

“I-Is that okay?”

“Yeah. I haven’t seen her yet, but Tachibana seems to be coming today as well. I’ll be walking with you on the way to the station, so as long as I keep it that safe, you’ll be fine.”

“Y-Yes, that’s right. Yeah, let’s do that?”

I wasn’t making this suggestion to make Sakurae happy, but Sakurae seemed so excited that I convinced myself that I had no choice.


With Shota-kun holding the signboard, the two of us walk around looking for customers.

It would be bad to not take a single customer to the stone, and now I was touting seriously.

…… Shota-kun is worried about me.

That fact makes me incredibly happy.

I was in a good mood and said, ‘we’redoing pancakes, Do you want to check it?’ I shouted in a good mood.

I’m too embarrassed to do this on my own.

But if Shota-kun is next to me, I can do my best.

Suddenly, I remembered that Serika had asked me during the summer holidays if I had changed for the sake of the person I love.

……After all, that’s not true.

I can do my best because Shota-kun is here.

Because Shota-kun is watching over me. ……

I chewed on the happiness of having him next to me once again.

“Good job guys! Today’s sales have been good. Keep up the good work tomorrow. ……Then, dismissed!”

After the first day of the festival, the committee members cheerfully give the order, and then we start to hear them talking about how tired they are and how much fun they had today.

“Nothing happened.”

Kikuchi said so, and I nodded ‘yeah’.

In the end, Tachibana didn’t show up again after that, and as me and Sakurae were busy guiding the guests, it was soon time to go.

I heard that Kikuchi was also paying attention to me and Sakurae’s whereabouts while I was in the back, but there were no customers who asked where I and Sakurae were.

(It’s rather eerie that they didn’t even show up today. …… No, it would be fine if nothing happened tomorrow either.)

I tell myself that to suppress my heartburn.

I hope …… Tomoki has talked things over well.

“….. Shota-kun, let’s go home?”

As I was thinking about this, Sakurae, who had finished getting ready to go home, came up to me.

“…. going home together?”

“Just in case. Sakurae, wait a minute.”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

I answered to Kikuchi, and Sakurae is looking at me smiling as I shove my luggage into my bag.

“… Okay, let’s go then.”

“Yeah! Kikuchi kun, see you tomorrow.”

“Kikuchi, good work.”

“….. Yeah”.

Kikuchi, who greeted us back, was smiling thinly, which is unusual.


“….. so, Ryuji was with you too.”

…… I saw him today, so I thought it must be something like that, but I knew Ryuji’s trigger was that a few people from his group had left.

Wada-kun called me to the back of our school building to talk to me.

Wada-kun is easy to deal with because he tells me everything without hiding.

“Yeah, so Rio. If you’re thinking of something strange, stop it! Like I said before, Shota already knows! Even if you go after Sakurae-san, he’ll just stop you!”

I feel depressed about Wada-kun, who is ranting in front of me.

“…. can you shut up for a minute?”

“Rio! There’s still time! If you and Shota become friends, you should be able to get back together…”

“Shut up! I told you to shut up!”

“…… Rio.”

I was annoyed at Wada-kun, who looked at me with pitying eyes.

“….. that’s enough. Just do it.”

“!!!?”

“Are you sure, you’re my friend, right?”

The men who were lurking in the shadows appear.

When Wada-kun realized that he was surrounded, his face turned pale.

“…. Nothing, it’s the same even if we stop them anyway, right?”

“Hee, well.”

“Wait a minute! Rio!”

Wada-kun, who was asking me for help, had a deep fist in his stomach.

“Ugh……! R-Rio ……!”

“Shut up! I have no use for you anymore!”

Ignoring Wada-kun, who called me while being beaten with a sack, I thought about tomorrow while thanking Wada-kun for the information he brought me.

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Koukiri
Koukiri
4 months ago

This novel has too many ‘that escalated quickly’ moments