Even after the sun has set, the hustle and bustle of the downtown area shows no sign of abating.

The area is bustling with people taking a side trip on their way home or enjoying a drink after work, which is different from during the daytime.

Senpai and I went to the plaza in front of the city hall, a short distance away from the department store. A Christmas market was being held in the square, which was also crowded with people.

Senpai told me to reserve a seat and wait. During that time, Senpai will buy me a drink.

“Kobayakawa kun, thank you for waiting.”

Senpai, holding a paper cup in both hands, sat down directly in front of me. The cup I received was warm and filled with a sweet and sour aroma mixed with cinnamon.

“Hot wine?”

A drink familiar in Europe during the Christmas season. It is stewed in a pot with cinnamon sticks and orange juice, so it has a nice aroma, and people over there drink it to keep warm.

“You looked like you wanted a drink.”

“But I’m underage.”

“My sister says you already know what alcohol tastes like, you don’t like it?”

“How did she know !?”

Children act naughty when adults can’t see them, but I wonder if she can tell because she’s a teacher.

“She says it’s a hunch that you like to drink.”

It was totally different.

Fumino san, you are a woman, but you drink a lot. Appearances can be deceiving.

“I’ll take your offer.”

“Please enjoy your drink. Next time I’ll ask you to join me for a drink.”

Senpai finally relaxed her shoulders and smiled a soft smile that looked as if it would melt in the heat.

She said I looked like I wanted to drink, but it was more like Senpai wants to drink. It must have been incomplete because Fumino san was there.

We toasted and took a sip of hot wine. The mellow wine has a hidden orange flavor. The aroma was strong, but the alcohol was gone, so it was easy to drink and I liked it right away.

“When was the first time you drank alcohol, Kobayakawa kun?”

The question drifted in with white breath. I felt embarrassed and answered with a wry smile.

“It was around the end of Golden Week. I couldn’t say no to the offer from one of my co-stars at the launch of a live concert.”

I should have said no, but I couldn’t be indifferent to the fact that I was being treated so kindly, so I let it slide. Since then, I have learned the taste of alcohol.

“Did you drink after you turned 20, Senpai?”

“Yes, I come from a family of drinkers, but my sister and I are very picky about it. But when I turned 20, I was forced to drink at night.”


I recall Fumino san’s drinking habits as she opened a bottle of wine at a fairly high pace.  I think my liver is going to scream if I have to go along with her.

“By the way, Kobayakawa kun. Thank you for the other day.

“Thank you for what?”

I don’t understand what she’s thanking me for. In fact, thanks to Senpai who took on the role of guardian without my knowledge, I was given the approval to continue as a private tutor.

“I’m the one who should be thanking you, Senpai. Thank you very much.”

“P-please don’t do that……. I am not qualified to be thanked. I was just following Kobayakawa kun’s guess…….”

“Eh, you did?”

“Yes. The reason I didn’t tell my sister about the tutoring was for no other reason than my own. No, to be honest, the reason I tutored Ari chan’s in the first place was because of my own ego.”

“What do you mean?”

I was confused because I didn’t understand what she was talking about.

What is her secret? I was not receiving any gratuities, so there was no need for me to feel guilty. There was no reason to keep it a secret.

A feeling of uneasiness rose in my chest, and I was deeply intrigued.

“It’s not a very interesting story, but can you listen to it?”

“Of course.”

I was sure that she had invited me here to confide in me. If that is the case, I would like to listen to her.

Senpai took a sip of her hot wine and began to spin her words with determination. Her face, illuminated by the illumination, looked nervous and tense.

“How did we sisters look from your point of view, Kobayakawa kun?”

“How did you look? I felt that you might look more alike, but you’re not.”

“We’re not? I feel like that’s the first time I’ve heard that.”

Senpai was surprised and widened her eyes.

I can’t help but chuckle.

Their appearance and way of speaking are so similar that even I could mistake them for each other. However, when you look at them side by side, there are differences here and there, and their inner sides are completely different.

It’s no wonder. They are different people.

“Senpai, are you not good at your sister?”

I asked her what I felt.

“I see. To be honest, it’s complicated. In a way, I guess I have a sister complex.”

A complex?

“My sister has always been able to do everything. She was good at studying, and she was athletic, too. She is good-looking and is a good judge of both literary and military arts. She has a good personality and has many friends. My sister is an alumni of Atago Girls’ Academy, and she was president of the student council there.”

“She is a superwoman.”

“That’s right ! My sister is an amazing person !”

She is like a heroine from a comic book or a novel. Senpai boasted about such a sister with a lot of breath. She likes her sister so much that she brags about her.

“But because she is such a  sister, everyone around me always told me to follow her example and work hard. In her studies, in sports, and in  personality……”

In a sudden turn of events, silence fell over Senpai’s voice. A sense of loneliness that reminded me of that time hit me.

“But I couldn’t imitate her. I was not athletic, I was not good at talking to people, and I didn’t have many friends. I could study a little, but I failed the university entrance exam and had to waste a year…….”

“Eh, Senpai, you waited for a year?”

“…….I am ashamed to say.”

Senpai, who was flushed with alcohol, turns even redder.

Since she’s waited for a year, she’s probably two years older than me. Well, there’s no big difference between one and two, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about

“I was actually accepted to a private school, but I really wanted to get into a national school.”

“Is that because Fumino san was also there?”


She can’t compete with her in terms of athletic ability or personality.

That’s why she at least tried to match her strengths in studying.

I’m awed by her guts to go so far as to make a single mistake.

But for now, my question remains unanswered.

“I understand that you have admiration and competitive spirit for Fumino san. However, I don’t understand why you are helping Ari san to pass the entrance exam. Can you tell me?”

“I think it’s because I wanted to win over my sister.”

“Win over Fumino san?”

I don’t understand more and more.

Misumi senpai has been compared to Fumino san for a long time and has felt bitter about it. Why would it be a win for her to let Ari san pass the exam?

The reason is soon told.

“My sister decided that it would be difficult for Ari san to pass Hokusei University. I felt that if I could help her pass with my guidance, I could beat her. I would be able to think that I have done what my sister couldn’t do…….”

I was convinced when she said that much.

An older sister who easily does things that her younger sister cannot do. Did she want to accomplish what her older sister had failed to prove that she was better than her?

I understand, but I cannot sympathize with her. However, she must have been the one who had been compared with her sister, and had been instilled with a sense of inferiority, and that is why she had the backbone to do so.

She sipped her wine with a sad and lonely smile on her face as if mocking herself.

“It’s shallow, isn’t it? Poking into other people’s lives for the sake of your own appearance. Besides, even if I could get Ari sab to pass the entrance exam, it’s no match for my sister, who sends many students to higher education every year. What I’m doing is a one-person sumo-wrestling match.”

Senpai took the last sip of her drink and crumpled the paper cup.

“I’m not qualified to lead others like this. After all, I am no match for my sister…….”

The person who had been so motivated just a few minutes ago turned out to be a weakling. As she talked about her feelings of inferiority and guilt, she must have realized her own immaturity. Unfortunately, the alcohol made me feel relaxed.

But I didn’t think she was a shallow person at all.

“Senpai is not the self-righteous person she thinks she is.”


Shewas caught by surprise and started to speak. The face that had been downcast lifted up and stared at me with round eyes.

“The reason for this is the fact that you’re helping Ari san. It is your achievement that you have helped her to overcome her weakness in Japanese language in no time at all.”

“Therefore, it was just for my own glory–“

“Was it really just for your own glory?”

I asked, shooting straight into Senpai’s eyes.

“You can’t be so kind and so hardworking just because of your rivalry with Fumino san. I’m sure that the reason why you’re so enthusiastic is because you’re undeniably rooting for Ari san.”

Evil intentions are something that people can see through. If Senpai was teaching only for the sake of showing off to Fumino san, I’m sure Ari san would not have opened her heart to her.

“The motive is trivial. What is important is that the Senpai currently has the sincerity to support Ari san.


“Yes. I’m going to ask you. Can you say that you are a tutor for Ari san yourself?”

Senpai was suddenly aware of this, and her eyes widened. 

“Of course ! My greatest wish right now is to spend time with her on campus. Hokusei University is a good place, and I’m sure she’ll have great memories there, and for her future and her confidence, I want her to pass.”

“I’m glad to hear that. After all, Senpai is the perfect tutors for Ari san.”

People’s hearts are shifting and changing shape. It goes against the initial intention, but it is never a bad thing. Even if the motive is shallow, if there is sincerity at the end, it will be compensated.

Seeing Senpai’s relieved face, my face naturally broke into a smile.

At that moment, our phones rang at the same time. I checked my phone and found a message from Ari san on the LINE group.

[(Ari) I received the results of the mock exam at school !]

I see, it was today. The last mock exam before the common exam is graded and returned early. Senpai and I had been waiting for it for a long time.

I received a picture of the results.

 [National Hokusei University, Grade A.]

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt as if I had seen a vision and immediately looked at Senpai’s face. She was looking at me with the same round eyes.

“She got an “A” grade ! She  got an A, Senpai !”

“T-that’s amazing……. I’m so impressed that she can get that high in a rush !”

I was so moved that we held each other’s hands and rejoiced.

It’s not a mistake. Ari san achieved results in just one month.

I remember that Fumino san said that Ari san had improved her academic performance. So she must have seen our contribution with her own eyes. Was that another reason to believe in us?

Senpai was tightening her lips as if she was biting back her joy. I guess she was happy that her contribution had paid off, that the achievement of Ari san’s goal had become a reality.

The complex that she has harbored since her childhood is something that others cannot understand. So she has no choice but to overcome it herself.

I had a feeling that moment would soon come.

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