I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Ch. 2: School Life Begins To Change
“Oh no, I overslept!”
It was around noon when Yamato woke up.
After the event, he went home and went to bed thinking he would be able to sleep for just an hour, but this was what happened.
The Kuraki family consists of Yamato and his mother, who often goes to work early in the morning. Therefore, Yamato relied only on his alarm clock, but it didn’t seem to have any effect on his body after an unaccustomed all-nighter.
Incidentally, my mother did not blame me for what happened last night because I had informed her in advance that I was staying at a friend’s house. I took care of that.
It was already too late to arrive before school started, but skipping was not an option for Yamato. He quickly finished his preparations and hurried out of the house.
He pedaled his bike for ten minutes.
As Yamato rode his bike down the usual steep hill, he saw the school building of Ao Saki Metropolitan High School, which he attended.
I wonder if that saint, Shirase Sayla, is on her way to school. She’s been up all night as well, and maybe she will be absent.
(I don’t think I’ll be able to talk to her at school. There are other students there.)
While I was thinking about this, I went through the school gate and parked my bike at the bicycle parking lot.
I managed to arrive during the lunch break, so I walked to the classroom among the other students and sneaked a peek inside through the back door.
Then, in the bustling classroom, I saw Shirase Sayla sitting alone by the window with her cheek in her hand.
Her black blazer-type uniform looked stylish when she wore it properly, and her white thighs stretching out from her skirt were dazzling.
The air around her was different than usual, and no one dared to approach her. Everyone kept their distance so as not to disturb her cool profile.
In other words, there was only the usual image of a beautiful, solitary girl.
Therefore, Yamato was quietly disappointed. He knew that what had happened last night had been a dream, an illusion, or perhaps just her whim.
(What are you expecting?)
Since he couldn’t stay here forever, Yamato decided to go into the classroom.
He quietly walked into the classroom, making his presence as invisible as possible.
As I sat down in my seat, third from the back in the hallway, one of the boys noticed me and exaggeratedly said, “Huh?” and approached me.
“Oh, are you going to work as an executive? You’re a real piece of work, Kuraki-kun.”
The boy who approached me in a light-hearted manner was very handsome.
His name was Shinjo Eita. He had bright brown hair, an amiable face, a cheerful personality just like he looked, and a height around 180 centimeters. He was the leader of the class, even though it had only been a week since we changed grades. Naturally, he was popular.
However, he doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend at the moment, and he has a crush on the school nurse. One of the reasons why Yamato dislikes him is the fact that he talks about such things loudly and openly.
“No, I mean, I kind of overslept. Hahaha…”
Therefore, Yamato responded with a fake smile and a laugh as naturally as he could make it.
“It’s true. I also can’t get up in the morning because I’ve been watching videos and stuff.”
“Yeah, yeah, something like that.”
“But going to school at noon is amazing. If it were me, I’d definitely take a day off.”
Eita speaks in a light-hearted manner.
He had no ill intentions and was probably just trying to be friendly to one of his classmates who was behaving unusually. He was indeed fit to be called the leader of the class.
However, Yamato was not a fan of this kind of behavior. He knew that Eita was not a jerk, but he felt uncomfortable just being around him.
A few classmates seemed to have gathered around him, and one of them, a girlish-looking girl, saw Yamato and opened her mouth curiously.
“Ah, I’m pretty sure he’s that guy. You know, the one who didn’t go to school last year.”
As she said, Yamato had been out of school the year before. As such, he could not deny it and was at a loss about how to react.
As Yamato fell silent, the atmosphere around him seemed to deteriorate.
“Hey, hey, don’t say things like that. We were just having a good time, but it’s going to be awkward now. I’m sorry, she didn’t mean to offend you.”
Then, Eita gave a warning to the gal-like girl and she even apologized to Yamato.
Yamato kept a smile on his face and didn’t raise his voice. Perhaps it was because of this that the girlish girl responded, “I’m really sorry, we sometimes talk without thinking. Please don’t worry about it too much.”
After all, Shinjo Eita was a capable man. He didn’t let the atmosphere worsen, and he didn’t forget to be considerate of Yamato.
However, whether or not they can become friends was another matter.
From Yamato’s point of view, being involved with someone like Eita is awkward in itself.
Therefore, Yamato was just praying and thinking.
—That this time would end soon.
At that moment, the noise and bustle around him stopped.
He immediately understood the reason.
“Good morning, Yamato.”
I was surprised to hear a slightly husky voice reach my ears and I turned around.
Shirase Sayla was standing behind me.
Perhaps overwhelmed by the mysterious atmosphere she created, the students around her backed away.
But Yamato also felt the same way.
“But it’s already noon. Isn’t it too late?”
It was Sayla who approached him, but there was no way that Yamato could be happy about this.
That was because this was at school, and he was in the classroom. There were classmates and students from other classes around him. It was impossible for Yamato to not care about what they saw.
However, for Sayla, all of these circumstances seem to be irrelevant, and she tilts her head to look at Yamato, who was at a loss for words.
“Is it possible that you’re still sleepwalking? Or have you forgotten what I look like? Well, not unreasonable. I’m in uniform now.”
“No, that’s not it…”
“That being said, give me your contact information. I didn’t get a chance to ask you yesterday.”
“Shirase-san, just a minute!”
Unable to help himself, Yamato stood up and ran out of the classroom with Sayla’s hand in his.
He ran around the corridor looking for an empty place, receiving curious looks from students passing by.
However, it was currently lunchtime and every school building was full of students. When Yamato was at a loss, Sayla suggested a place to go.
“How about the roof? I don’t think there’s anyone there.”
“Well, the rooftop is off-limits to… even if we wanted to use it, it would be locked.”
“I know how to get to the roof. We’ll be fine.”
Sayla was not acting proudly of that fact and started to walk in front of me as if she was leading me. Since he had nowhere else to go, Yamato decided to follow her quietly.
When they reached the top of the stairs, they found that the door leading to the roof was still locked.
Just as Yamato was beginning to think that the landing would be a good place to talk, Sayla kicked the vent at the bottom of the door.
Then, the air vent part came off perfectly.
Sayla went through it without hesitation and then beckoned him.
(Who the heck gave her the nickname “Saint”…)
As Yamato walked out onto the rooftop in such thoughts, the sunlight shone brightly on him.
He looked down and then looked up to see a clear blue sky above him.
“Feels good ~”
Sayla, who shouted this out, spread her hands and looked comfortable.
The wind was blowing her hair and her skirt at the same time, which made Yamato feel nervous.
He was even a little worried when he saw how defenseless she was.
Suddenly, Sayla turned around.
Then, while holding her hair in place, she turned her big eyes straight up at me.
“Did I bother you?”
Sayla asked in a matter-of-fact tone, neither questioning nor apologizing.
She was probably referring to the fact that she had called out to him in the classroom earlier. Knowing this, Yamato shook his head left and right.
“No, honestly, it was a big help. Although it was a little awkward.”
Maybe Sayla was intentionally helping him.
Even though he thought so, Yamato decided to nail it down beforehand.
“…… But, if possible, I would have appreciated a less conspicuous method. Shirase-san may not care about it, but I care about other people’s eyes, the mood, things like that.”
If the incident that had just occurred triggered a strange rumor or rumors, I might get into trouble.
Yamato understood that it was probably already too late, but he still said it just in case, thinking about the future.
Sayla replied simply, and then tilted her head as if to say, “are you done?”
Yamato was relieved that she didn’t seem to be offended, and said something else that was on his mind.
“But I was happy to be able to talk to you, or rather… I was also hoping to exchange contact information with Shirase-san.”
“I see. Well, I’ll call you later.”
“Uh, I mean…”
“Anyway, let’s exchange contact information.”
Then she pulls out her phone from her pocket and shows him the screen.
While Yamato was working on the registration, he decided to remind her.
“But next time you call out to me, think about the time and place.”
“Hmm? I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“I’m kidding, don’t take it seriously.”
Yamato’s heart skipped a beat when Sayla smiled at him without warning.
(Every time, it’s just too sudden and surprising.)
This time, though, the smile was more like that of a naughty child than that of a saint. Anyway, it was still bad for the heart.
She usually had a dry expression on her face, so when she smiled, her destructive power was immense. Yamato really thought that the smile of a saint might be one that makes people ascend to heaven.
“But Shirase-san, you can make jokes and stuff too huh.”
“A little more clarity would be helpful.”
“Hmm, I’ll think about it.”
Sayla said she was joking, but it was unclear if she understood what it meant to read the atmosphere, to think about the time and place when speaking.
However, Yamato felt that he would only be tossed around more and more if he pursued the matter any further.
It was almost time for lunch break to end, so I was going to suggest that we go back to class and I turned around to speak to Sayla.
“Um, what are you doing…?”
I noticed that Sayla was lying on her back in the middle of the landing.
Sayla took off her blazer and used it as a blanket and closed her eyes as if she was feeling comfortable. She was completely in nap mode.
Since she didn’t respond to Yamato’s question, she might already be asleep.
Nevertheless, I need to wake her up.
“…Yamato, would you like to join me? It feels good.”
“The bell’s about to ring.”
“You’re so ready to skip..”
Ding dong dong dong… and there the bell rang.
But Sayla didn’t show any signs of waking up.
Apparently, she was seriously planning to skip her afternoon classes.
With a sigh, Yamato also laid down.
He was half-hearted about it, but he knew that he would inevitably be asked a lot of questions by his classmates if he went back now.
Perhaps it was because I was thinking about this that I casually laid down next to Sayla.
As Yamato was wondering if he should keep a little more distance from her, Sayla turned her head to look at him.
“Eh? Yamato’s skipping after all.”
“Somebody looked too beautiful to be real.”
“Well, thank god for that someone.”
“I will when I feel like it.”
After our short exchange, the main bell rang. It’s impossible to go back to the classroom now…
“Maybe I’ll get called in later.”
“They won’t be calling our parents, are they…?”
“I might have to agree with you on that one.”
Unusually, Sayla was frowning. It seems that even the saint can’t help but be concerned about her parents being notified.
“The classroom must be abuzz with talk about us right now, it must be a bit of a festival for social media.”
“You don’t care about that at all do you. You should start to care about that stuff a little bit, too… I mean, Shirase-san is so popular, I don’t know why you don’t get along with anyone.”
“Eh? I get along well with Yamato though.”
Sayla said with a straight face. Embarrassed, Yamato turns his back to her.
“Well, that’s true… but you don’t have anyone else you’re close to besides me. Why haven’t you attempted to make any friends before?”
I asked with my back turned, and Sayla let out a growling “hum.”
“If you’re not comfortable answering, you don’t have to.”
“I haven’t thought about it that much, but I guess it’s because there was no one I wanted to talk to. I don’t really like caring relationships or anything of the sort.”
I turned around to see her face as she said this, her hand reaching for the sky and a distant look of contemplation on her face.
“Then why did you invite me to hang out with you last night? Is it because we’re both students from the same school and you didn’t want me to find out that you were out on the town in the middle of the night?”
It was a terrible question to ask, Yamato thought.
But that was the only reason he could think of.
We didn’t see each other last year because we were in different classes, and even though we were in the same class now, we never talked to one another. It’s a relationship that she didn’t remember my name properly until I told it to her last night.
The solitary girl had invited such a person, with whom she had no prior contact with, to hang out together. From Yamato’s point of view, he could only think that her purpose was to have him keep quiet about an inconvenient incident.
“Because… I wanted to talk to you.”
This was why Yamato was startled when he heard the words she said so casually.
When Yamato was contemplating as to how to respond, Sayla turned her head and continued.
“I saw the boredom in Yamato’s eyes. It made me feel closer to him.”
It seemed that Sayla had seen through Yamato’s true intentions from the beginning.
In fact, Yamato was fed up with the boredom of his daily life, and when he saw Sayla, who seemed to be in a different world from his own, he felt a sense of longing for her.
But the “felt closer” part was troubling to him. Was she also feeling the same boredom as Yamato and longing for a change in her own daily life?
But for Yamato, the fact that Sayla was aware of his feelings and invited him to play was more than enough to make him happy.
“…Thanks for that. I’m so glad you asked me out yesterday.”
So, unlike his normal self, Yamato was able to express his gratitude honestly.
“Fufu, You’re welcome. I had fun and I’m glad I invited you too.”
Yamato flinched when Sayla said this with a carefree smile on her face.
Seeing Yamato like that, she laughed again.
Sayla Shirase was unpretentious and natural, and tried to communicate everything in a straightforward manner. Yamato couldn’t help but admire her because he seemed to be the complete opposite of her in every way.
Is that why? Yamato suddenly felt like telling her something about himself. He wanted Sayla to know about it.
“…Actually, you know. I used to be a truant.”
I thought I had come out rather heavily, but Sayla reacted like nothing of importance was said.
Yamato was a little uncomfortable but continued to talk.
“I couldn’t attend the ceremony because I caught a cold on the day of the entrance ceremony, and it lasted quite a while. By the time I recovered, it had been a week. …It made me afraid to go to school.”
“After a week, relationships, or groups of people, are formed. And I wasn’t able to attend the most important first meeting. I just couldn’t bring myself to go, thinking about how people would see me.”
It was a simple affirmation, but he could tell that Sayla was listening to him.
Because of this, Yamato was able to continue his story without hesitation.
“So I took a day off. At first, I thought it would be just one day, but I realized it was already May as I dragged it out. It was a big holiday to say the least.”
“I knew I was in trouble, and I was in a panic. Then I read on the Internet that the holidays reset all relationships, so I finally went to school after the holidays.”
“Heh, did it reset?”
“No, it didn’t… Well, of course not. I didn’t even have a relationship to be reset.”
I thought she would laugh at me, but Sayla didn’t even blink.
She remained silent, just looking up at the sky.
For some reason, Yamato was relieved to see her like that and started to close the conversation.
“So I’ve been alone since then because people thought I was a bad guy. I guess the rumors had some weird twists. Well, I can’t explain every single reason for this embarrassment, and there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
As Yamato finished speaking in a self-mocking tone, Sayla smiled at him.
“But you’re not alone now.”
“Look, I’m here.”
Yamato blushed in the face of Sayla, who said such words without embarrassment.
But he did not feel like denying it.
“…It’s thanks to Shirase-san, I’m graduating from being a loner.”
Sayla didn’t care if Yamato had been out of school in the past or not. She would never change her attitude because of it.
For this reason, Yamato felt rather refreshed, even though he had just told her about his past, which could be called his black history.
The two of them lay in the sun together for a while.
It was the chime of the end of the fifth period that brought the slumbering Yamato back to consciousness.
Hum~ Yamato woke up with a sluggish and lazy body, followed by Sayla, who stretched widely.
His back hurt, and he let out a moan of pain.
“My body hurts. Next time, I’ll bring something to lay on.”
This saint was planning to slack off in the future as well.
“Well, I guess you’ll have to give up your saintly nickname. You skipped class with impunity.”
“Maybe. Well, I’d better get back.”
“I’m calling for some students. Kuraki Yamato-kun from Class 2B. Shirase Sayla-san from Class 2B. Please come to the staff room immediately. I repeat…”
Yamato’s face turned pale as he heard the school broadcast, and then he turned to look at Sayla.
Then Sayla huffed and sighed as she folded her arms with a sullen look on her face.
In other words, it’s pretty bad.
“I don’t think I’m going to be able to worry about how others feel now…”
“I’m sorry, I dragged you into this.”
She stuck her tongue out without any remorse.
The gesture was so outrageously cute and adorable that Yamato began to feel like it didn’t matter anymore.
“Well, I half knew this would happen. I mean, in addition, I skipped out too.”
This broadcast would have made Yamato a well-known name in the school.
After all, he was summoned together with the saint. This is no longer the time to be worrying about the atmosphere around him.
As I started to think about the future, I gradually began to cower.
As Sayla laughed, Yamato’s cheeks started twitching and she patted him on the shoulder.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine. I’ll take care of it if it comes down to it.”
In such a dire situation, Sayla’s demeanor is so cool that it makes Yamato, a boy, feel like he has nothing to lose.
“You’re so reliable, Shirase-san, I can count on you even in times like this… but I’ll take the blame too.”
Yamato tried his best to show his manly spirit, but on the inside he was scared.
When Yamato made up his mind, Sayla peered into his face and asked.
“Speaking of which, why do you keep calling me with ‘san’? It’s fine to drop it.”
“Um, not for any particular reason…”
Sayla went through the vent of the door, seemingly not intending to pursue the matter any further.
I wanted to call out to her, so I said it out loud.
And then, Sayla peeked out from the vent.
“Did you call me?”
It seemed that she had heard Yamato, and he felt his face burning.
“I, I’ll start calling you by your name from now on.”
After Sayla withdrew her face in satisfaction, Yamato also went through the air vent.
Yamato tightened his mouth, which was about to loosen, and went with her to the staff room.
As it turned out, Yamato and she were not scolded so much.
This was because the teachers were strangely kind to Sayla after she blamed her health condition as the reason for skipping class.
Rather, it was more harder for him to return to the classroom.
After the sixth-period class, Yamato was bombarded with questions from his classmates.
The questions were all to the effect of, “are you two dating?”
To which Sayla replied, “we’re friends.”
Just the fact that Sayla has a friend seems to be big news, and everyone around her is in an uproar.
Yamato explained how he had skipped class, as he had told the teachers, and the situation was resolved.
The next day at school, the stares of the people around me pierced me with pain.
As expected, the incident of skipping class with Sayla had made Yamato a celebrity in the school.
The change in the reaction of the people around me was, to say the least, depressing.
Students from other classes, whom Yamato had never met before, now visited the classroom frequently, looked at him from a distance and whispered to each other.
Of course, many of them approached Yamato and asked him about his relationship with Sayla. The label “former truant” seemed to be powerless in front of the topic of the saint.
It was understandable that it was easier to talk to the sober Yamato than the dry and unapproachable Sayla. Even so, if the same questions were asked over and over again, it was indeed tiring.
By the time the school day was over, Yamato was completely exhausted.
However, there was still something to be concerned about…
When it seemed that school was finally over, Eita familiarly nudged Yamato’s shoulders.
Yamato, who was called by a strange nickname, felt annoyed but couldn’t help it and smiled.
“Can you please stop calling me that? Just address me normally.”
“Really? I think it sounds nice, Krakin.”
“No, just address me…”
Eita gave me a smile and an okay sign.
Yamato is not a fan of Eita’s easy going habit… and he is fed up with it, but he manages to return the okay sign.
Eita had taken an interest in Yamato after the incident with Sayla yesterday. Unlike other students who like to gossip, he wanted to be friends with Yamato, so Yamato couldn’t ignore Eita.
However, it was harder than expected to keep up with his easy going nature. I almost regretted my decision to talk with him.
“Which reminds me, Kuraki is not a member of any club, right? Would you like to come and play in our futsal club?”
[TLN: Futsal: football game played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. Basically soccer on a smaller scale.]
“Sorry, I’m not good at sports, so I’ll pass.”
“I see. Too bad. Our manager is pretty cute, though.”
Eita’s shoulders slumped in deep disappointment.
Like any boy of his age, Yamato was also interested in the topic of cute girls.
But for Yamato, who hadn’t had a single real friend until recently, making more female friends and eventually getting a girlfriend seemed like a secondary concern.
It would be the same even if the other party is Sayla.
He even thought it would be foolish to even think about having a relationship with such a beautiful girl.
More than anything, Yamato had no desire to break up the friendship that he had made.
For the record, I haven’t talked to Sayla even once today.
I was sure she was trying to avoid talking in public places, but seeing her dashing out of the classroom without even saying hello made me feel lonely.
“Hey, don’t you have to go home with the saint?”
Eita asked, not coldly, but as a genuine question.
“I didn’t promise her anything today…”
If anything, we didn’t even go home together yesterday.
Yamato took his bag to hide his embarrassment as if he was trying to look normal.
“All right, I’m going to head home.”
Just as he was about to leave the classroom, Eita bid Yamato a friendly, “see you later.”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow.”
After replying, I left the classroom and naturally started to walk faster.
Since I was able to become friends with Sayla, it should be normal to say goodbye to her, just like I just did with Eita.
(We’re not that far apart yet, are we?)
After changing his shoes at the shoe locker, Yamato immediately started running.
It was hard to catch up with Sayla, but Yamato had reached the downtown area.
He thought that he might be going with Sayla after school, so he decided to walk to school instead of riding his bike, which backfired.
It was a little different from the direction of my home, but I was determined to find her.
If you asked what I was going to do after finding her, I hadn’t decided on anything specific.
I just wanted to have a word with her, that’s all.
As soon as I entered the downtown area, I immediately spotted Sayla.
However, things were not looking good.
Even from a distance, Yamato could see that Sayla was being stalked by a group of rude men.
Some of them were very strong, which made Yamato’s legs cower.
But Yamato slapped his own thighs vigorously, inspired himself, and started running.
He called out her name loudly, and Sayla turned her head in surprise.
As it was, Yamato stepped in between the men and immediately lined up next to Sayla.
“What’s with this guy, your boyfriend?”
Yamato replied to the irritated man, shaking his head from side to side.
“No, he’s my friend.”
The other guys started laughing, probably because they saw Yamato trembling.
“If you’re just a friend, stay out of it. You’d rather play with us than this bean sprout, wouldn’t you?”
One of the men asked coldly, but Sayla didn’t respond as if she didn’t hear the man’s voice, and instead poked Yamato in the shoulder.
“Hey, is Yamato’s house over here?”
“No, it’s not, but…… I mean, you’re awfully calm.”
Unlike Sayla, who asked him in an extremely carefree manner, Yamato was concerned.
When he looked at the man who had been ignored by Sayla with trepidation, he saw, as expected, that he was very angry, his veins rising on his temple.
I have to do something before the man snapped.
But the police station was some distance away.
The adults around me pretend not to see me, and I don’t feel comfortable shouting for help.
It’s just a matter of picking up a woman’s hand and walking away, Yamato thought for a moment, but then changed his mind, because it seemed like they were not going to let them leave for free.
Poke poke. Sayla poked me on the shoulder again and said,
“So, let’s go”.
Yamato also started walking as Sayla urged him.
Hey, are you kidding me?
Then one of the men grabbed Yamato by the shoulders. He was the biggest of them all, and Yamato’s shoulder creaked as he was grabbed.
The men laughed in amusement as Yamato’s face contorted in pain.
“Hey, hey, is that guy crying?”
“I think he’s going to sh*t his pants sooner or later.”
The men around me were teasing me and chanting, which made the man grip my shoulders even harder.
This is not good. It looks like we’re not going to get away with this. When Yamato made up his mind that he might have to call for help, the man holding Yamato’s shoulder changed color.
“—Ouch, ow, ow, ow!”
The next moment, the man was crawling on the ground with a pathetic scream.
Sayla grabbed the man’s wrist and twisted it in an instant.
Immediately after that, Sayla waved her hand toward the rear of the men and said in an inattentive voice, “officer, over here.”
Just as the voice said, there was a police officer heading this way in the distance.
Unlike the group of men who immediately scattered, Yamato stood there in a state of mindlessness.
It wasn’t because he was relieved of the pain, or because he was relieved to see the policeman.
It was the sight of Sayla twisting the man up earlier that was haunting his mind.
At that time, she had no expression on her face.
Yet, there was certain anger in her. She had a scary but dependable look in her eyes.
Just remembering Sayla’s face at that time, my heart raced like a throbbing drum
At that moment, Sayla grabbed his right hand, and Yamato came back to himself.
As soon as he called out, Sayla pulled Yamato by the hand and started running in the opposite direction of the police officer.
Yamato didn’t understand why they needed to run away too. He just kept moving his feet so that he would not be left behind by Sayla who was leading the way.
They continued to run on the streets, and even after passing through the downtown area, they kept going.
People looked at me curiously as I passed them, but it didn’t slow down my speed.
(Normally it’s the other way around……)
It was our positioning.
In the current situation, Sayla was the one running ahead, while Yamato, who was following behind her, had his hand held like a princess in a fairy tale. It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with the composition itself, but I’m disgusted with myself for being so weak.
In addition, Yamato started gasping for breath first, and because he didn’t know where she was going, he felt like he was being taken away.
“Haa, hey, where are we going?”
I asked when we were far away from the city and at the edge of an empty river or stream. At this point, Yamato’s lungs were at their limit.
Then, Sayla slowly stopped and turned around.
“Haa, haa… I wasn’t thinking.”
The way Sayla wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand while catching her breath was quite refreshing.
As it was, Yamato couldn’t help but smile as he realized that if he had left her alone, she would have run until she collapsed.
Sayla, who seemed to have decided to take a break around here, took off her blazer, rolled up the sleeves of her blouse, and collapsed onto the grass.
Yamato followed suit and lay down next to her. He took a deep breath, his lungs begging for oxygen, and the smell of greenery filled his nose.
“Phew, we’ve run a long way… where are we?”
“Good grief. You’ve got no sense of direction, yet you’re going ahead without thinking.”
Then Sayla turns her face to me.
“I’m not directionally challenged.”
“No, you have no sense of direction. Without the map app, you would be lost even in the neighborhood of the school.”
“I guess so. Isn’t that normal?”
Sayla’s poker face was still the same, but she was not willing to give up. Yamato thought that he should make it clear here, so he responded forcefully.
“No, it’s not normal. You go to the arcade and karaoke a lot, right? And yet, you have to open the map app every time you get lost.”
“But you see, that area is so chaotic and confusing.”
“And even now, you’d have to open a map app to find your way back, wouldn’t you? I’m rather surprised that Shirase yourself wasn’t aware that you had no sense of direction.”
After saying that, Yamato realized that he had said too much.
Perhaps that’s why Sayla next to me had her back turned before I knew it.
“Yamato, you say mean things too.”
Sayla blurted out, sulkily.
“…My bad. I crossed the line.”
“I don’t mind.”
When Yamato was wondering if he should peek at Sayla’s pouting face, Sayla turned to face him again.
She seemed to have already returned to her normal state with her usual poker face on.
I wish I could have seen her pouting face, but I was relieved to see that she wasn’t that bothered.
“I’m all sweaty and sticky. I need a bath.”
“There’s a river.”
“Hmm, it still looks cold.”
I thought I was joking, but she replied with a straight face. I wondered if she would have been in there if it was in the summer.
I suddenly realized that Sayla had both eyes closed and was about to fall asleep.
I was afraid she might catch a cold, so I asked her what was the matter earlier while I was waking her up.
“Hey, why did we even have to run? I mean, it is a pain to explain to the cops but…”
“Hmm… we’re in uniform today, and I thought it might be difficult if they remembered our faces.”
For Sayla, it seems that the police are a much more important target to watch out for than the delinquents.
In that case, I asked her about one more thing I was curious about.
“Also, you didn’t talk to me at school today. Perhaps you were just looking out for me?”
Then Sayla raised her upper body and blinked her eyes as she looked at Yamato.
“What are you talking about?”
“Was it different?”
“Ahh, I’m sorry. I was just thinking about going to the CD store today.”
In other words, it wasn’t that she didn’t care about Yamato, it was just that she had something else on her mind.
It was very typical of Sayla, she was as elusive as ever.
“That’s fine then.”
When Sayla saw Yamato’s disappointment despite his words, she tilted her head in confusion.
But it was only for a moment, and She soon remembered another matter. After clapping her hands as if inspired, Sayla opened her mouth again.
“By the way, I never thanked you. Thanks for coming by earlier.”
Yamato averted his gaze, embarrassed at being thanked so dutifully.
“I didn’t do anything major. I was trembling, I thought I was going to help, but Shirase ended up saving me instead.”
Sayla was really cool at that time. The way she twisted and turned without regard to the difference in size was a sight to behold.
She must have learned some self-defense techniques because she was able to handle them so well. The fact that she can put it to use is amazing.
However, Yamato had a man’s pride and was not inclined to praise her honestly. Even if he felt that way, he didn’t want to say, “that was cool!”
Sayla smiled and said to Yamato, who was struggling in his mind.
“But Yamato was really cool that time. I’m really glad you came.”
She said what I wanted to say very easily.
From Yamato’s point of view, it was amazing for her to speak straightforwardly and without pretense, while Sayla didn’t like to feel embarrassed and wants to hide even after receiving a compliment.
“…Thanks for that.”
The fact that I could barely reply to her made me feel lame. My sense of inferiority had only grown stronger since then, and I was on the verge of falling into a light self-loathing.
“Well, I’d better be off.”
Sayla then stood up and stretched widely.
She was not aware of the inferiority complex that Yamato was secretly harboring. He felt that he was saved in many ways by her refreshing personality.
And there, as I was watching Sayla’s back as she brushed the dirt off her butt, I suddenly realized.
(—What was that? Could that be…)
The back of her blouse was transparent, and a thin black line was visible.
…… There’s no doubt about it. It’s underwear.
(No, don’t look. It’s just plain perverted to look at a girl’s underwear.)
Even so, it is the nature of men that their gaze is drawn to them.
But still, black. What a mature color.
“Hmm? Is there something on my back?”
Sayla suddenly turned around and asked curiously.
This is not good. It would be impossible to cover up the fact that I was looking at the back of her blouse now.
“N, no, there’s nothing on it……”
How should I respond? As Yamato was thinking about pointing out the fact that her underwear was showing, Sayla seemed to have caught on.
“Is it perhaps, transparent?”
“Heh? No, I mean, well……”
“I have a blazer, so I’m not wearing a camisole.”
With that, Sayla put on her blazer.
“Okay, let’s go”.
(That’s the end of it!?)
Despite Yamato’s confusion, Sayla started walking as if nothing had happened.
“Wait, oi, Shirase.”
When Yamato stopped her, Sayla looked back at him curiously.
“You know, I think you should have a little more shame than that, right? …I know I’m not in a position to say this, but…”
“I don’t mind if it’s Yamato.”
Sayla said so without hesitation and without blushing.
Does that mean that she didn’t care because she didn’t consider Yamato as a love interest, or does it mean that she trusts him that much?
Yamato didn’t understand the true meaning of her words and froze with his mouth open.
Seeing Yamato like that, Sayla said to supplement him.
“I was the one who was careless, so don’t worry about it. More importantly, it’s getting cold. Let’s get home.”
“If that’s what you mean… I understand.”
It was indeed getting a little chilly, probably because the sun was setting. If it continues like this, I might catch a cold.
As they started to walk towards the station, Yamato asked a question.
“Is Shirase’s house close to here?”
“Hmm, probably. It’s about a fifteen-minute walk. How about you?”
“That’s how long it’s going to take me too… or maybe 20 minutes.”
“You’re walking today, aren’t you? Yesterday you biked.”
“…I thought I might hang out with Shirase today.”
It’s rare for Yamato to be so honest.
After I said it, I could feel myself getting hot to the ears. It’s not something I’m used to doing, Yamato thought.
“Ah… I see. So that’s why you were in the downtown area.”
Sayla nodded her head as if she understood what was going on, and then continued.
“Then leave your schedule for tomorrow after school open. I’m going to the CD store and I need you to accompany me.”
After that, we walked in silence and parted ways when we reached the nearest station.
It had been a long time since Yamato had felt so anxious for tomorrow to come.