I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Ch. 5: Interacting With The Saint
Yamato was currently on the way home after receiving advice from May.
As he usually cooked for himself, he was pondering what to make for dinner.
Just as he reached the main street, he was greeted by an appetizing aroma.
The rich aroma probably came from a nearby ramen store.
I glanced over and saw a sign saying “Specializing in Seafood Tonkotsu” and a line of people waiting in front of the store.
[TLN: Tonkotsu is a type of ramen.]
Looked like it’s not open yet, but it was incredibly popular. I’ve never had ramen here, but I wonder if it’s that good.
(Though I don’t think I can afford it.)
I have a lot of leftover ingredients in my refrigerator. It’s much easier on my wallet to cook food myself rather than eat out.
On top of that, there was that huge line. Even if I lined up now, it would not be any shorter by the time the restaurant opens. By the time I start eating, it will be dark.
(Okay, patience, patience.)
Having come up with a reason to leave, I tried to walk past the restaurant.
I found a familiar face in the line, and our eyes met, and we let out a cry.
“Good afternoon. Is Yamato heading home now?”
The other party, Sayla Shirase, curiously asked me and tilted her head.
“Well, I’ve got a lot going on. Are you eating ramen by yourself?”
“Yes, it’s delicious here.”
A high school girl going into a ramen store by herself may seem like a somewhat high hurdle, but I guess that doesn’t matter to Sayla. She had the guts to stand in line in her school uniform.
Yamato did a double-take because she looked so out of place.
This was the first time I’ve seen Sayla outside of school since the day we went to the CD store together.
It hadn’t been that long, but it felt like we hadn’t talked outside of school in a while, and I didn’t know how to continue the conversation.
Looking at Yamato, who remained silent, Sayla tilted her head curiously again.
“Do you want some ramen, Yamato? This place specializes in seafood tonkotsu.”
And there Yamato’s stomach rumbled.
The timing was too good, it was like my stomach was answering for me.
Yamato’s face turned red with embarrassment as he replied, and Sayla burst out laughing.
“Oh, come on, don’t laugh.”
“I’m sorry, let’s line up.”
With that, Sayla easily exited the line.
“Eh, Shirase doesn’t have to exit the line.”
“But I’m already out. And besides, I want to eat with Yamato.”
Sayla said simply and went straight back to the end of the line.
(This person says these things without hesitation…)
Yamato also got in line at the end of the line, feeling his face getting even hotter than before.
Perhaps it was my imagination, but everyone in the line seemed to be fidgeting.
The ramen store opened about ten minutes after Yamato and Sayla started lining up.
After another twenty minutes or so, they were able to enter the store.
It was a small wooden restaurant with counter seats for only a few people, giving it the atmosphere of a long-established restaurant.
Yamato and Sayla sat down next to each other and ordered two regular ramens.
While waiting for the ramen to be ready, Yamato drank a glass of water to drown his hunger.
“Haa~, water doesn’t fill me up.”
“This place makes it fast, you just have to be patient.”
“We had P.E. today, and to be honest, I’m starving.”
Then Sayla put her lips to my ear and whispered to me.
“By the way, are you okay with money? I know I asked you out earlier… if you’d like, I can pay for it.”
At first, Yamato was nervous about what was going on, but then he was taken aback by the unexpected offer.
After a few seconds or so, Yamato came back to himself and gave a small cough before answering.
“No, It’s fine. I was planning to have dinner at home, but it’s okay to eat out once in a while.”
Sayla looked relieved. In fact, Yamato was not sure that Sayla was worried that she was giving him trouble.
To make sure, Yamato made up his mind to ask.
“But it never occurred to me that Shirase was concerned about my budget. … By any chance, is that why you haven’t asked me out lately?”
“…Well, something like that.”
Sayla traced the rim of the cup and hesitantly continued.
“You said you were short on money the other day. You said something similar a few times previously as well.”
It was true, I remember saying something like that several times. In fact, I’m running out of money right now.
Regardless, Yamato was strangely happy that Sayla was concerned about him, and he grinned.
“Hmm? Why are you grinning?”
“No, well, I’m just happy…”
“That’s weird. Yamato is strange after all.”
Yamato’s smile deepened as he saw the expression on Sayla’s face, who was slightly taken aback.
It’s hard to deny that I’m acting weird right now, so I’ll get back to the point.
“—I’m sorry. In any case, I’m sorry for making you feel uncomfortable. It is true that I am short on money, but it is not as bad as Shirase thought, so don’t worry.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. If you invite me out, I can keep up with you at least once every two times.”
“Hmm, in Yamato’s case, I have a feeling that if I ask you out, you’ll go with me regardless. That’s why I wasn’t sure if I should ask you out.”
Did she think he was very friendly, or that he was a good-natured guy? Either way, Yamato was relieved to know the reason why he hadn’t been asked out recently.
“Even Shirase gets lost on what to do sometimes, huh? —Ah, and also lost on the road often.”
“I’m lost at what to do. I’m not lost on the road.”
It was typical of Sayla to not get upset in this situation. In addition, she doesn’t admit that she has no sense of direction.
“Hey, Shirase, can you get me some water?”
“Go get it yourself. I don’t want to right now.”
No, Sayla seemed to be annoyed in her own way. Although she said it plainly, her face was expressionless and cold.
“Ahahaha… You’re right, I should at least get my own water.”
Since he did not expect her response, Yamato was frightened, but took the pitcher of water and poured it into his cup.
Then Sayla held out her own cup and said,
“Fill mine too. I’ll forgive you if you do.”
Seeing the smile on Sayla’s face, Yamato felt relieved and poured the water.
At that moment, Yamato promised himself that he would stop teasing her so thoughtlessly.
Not long after that, the ramen seemed to be ready.
The seafood tonkotsu ramen placed in front of him was served with two slices of chashu, spring onions, and a boiled egg.
[TLN: Chashu = pork belly.]
The rich aroma of seafood and pork bones in harmony stimulated my appetite, and I could imagine how delicious it would be before I even put it in my mouth.
[TLN: Itadakimasu = Let’s eat.]
I decided to learn the etiquette of the restaurant first and glanced at Sayla.
She tucked one side of her hair behind her ear and picked up a bamboo spoon to take a sip of the soup.
Then she picked up her chopsticks, blew on the rice noodles, and slurped them up in one gulp.
She then licked the fat off her lips with her tongue and started eating the noodles again.
Yamato couldn’t help but salivate.
The way Sayla was eating was so sensual.
In fact, Yamato finally realized that he didn’t care about the etiquette, he just wanted to see Sayla eat ramen.
I took a sip of the soup before it cooled down and tried it myself. Then, the rich flavor of seafood filled my mouth. It was a little strong, but not too overpowering.
Next, I took a mouthful of the thick rice noodles, and with their plump texture, the flavor of the seafood tonkotsu flooded my tongue.
It was delicious. It’s no wonder that there are lines of people waiting to get their hands on this. The secret to its popularity is that it is easy to eat despite its richness.
After that, I couldn’t stop eating. I chewed on a piece of chashu, and then continued to eat the rice noodles. Next, I ate the boiled egg. Occasionally, I would take a drink of water to refresh myself and start eating again.
Because of his hunger, Yamato was eating at a fast pace, but he stopped in the middle of his meal.
Because Sayla, who was sitting next to him, was holding something that didn’t look right.
“Mmm? It’s garlic. You can add any spices you want here.”
With that, Sayla opened the lid of the jar containing garlic without hesitation.
At that moment, the strong scent peculiar to garlic wafted out of the container. I had thought that women avoided garlic, but apparently, it was nothing to worry about for Sayla.
Sayla crushed the garlic one after another and threw it into the ramen at once.
She then took a mouthful of rice noodles without hesitation.
The sight of the uniformed JK eating the tonkotsu ramen with extra garlic, squinting with happiness, gave a strangely soothing effect to the restaurant.
Then Sayla drank up every drop of the soup and said quietly, “gochisosama.”
[TLN: Gochisosama = Thank you for the meal.]
Yamato was shaken by the scene, but he soon came to his senses, crushed some garlic, threw it into his bowl, and ate the rest of the ramen.
“Me too, gochisosama.”
“There’s no need to rush.”
“No, this is a kind of willpower.”
As expected, Yamato had no choice but to compete with the girl who had come with him, as she was more manly than he was in eating ramen.
As Yamato showed such a man’s determination, Sayla, sitting next to him, remained puzzled.
“No, it’s nothing. …We’ve finished eating, let’s leave.”
When we left the restaurant after paying the bill, it was nighttime.
“This feels oddly nice.”
Maybe it was because of the ramen, or maybe because night has fallen, but Sayla seemed to be in a very lively mood. It seemed like she was about to ask me to hang out.
Fortunately, it was not too late, so an hour or two of fun wouldn’t be a problem.
Yamato doesn’t have much money left, but that’s just a matter of withdrawing his savings. He was in the mood to let Sayla off the hook a little for worrying about him.
“All right, let’s go to the arcade.”
With his hunger satisfied and in a good mood, Yamato made a suggestion on the spur of the moment.
But Sayla, standing next to me, had a troubled look on her face.
“Hey, what’s wrong? You look like you’re in some kind of trouble.”
Then, Sayla turned her back and replied,
“I’m sorry, I’m going home today.”
“What? Is there something you have to do?”
“Not really, but…”
It was unusual for Sayla to be so stubborn. Yamato was curious if there was something she could not say.
“What is it? Is it possible that you’re still worried about my allowance?”
She shook her head from side to side.
Combined with the fact that she didn’t tell him the reason, Yamato became frustrated when Sayla didn’t turn back to look at him at all and positioned herself in front of him.
“Hey, what have you been—”
But then he realized the reason why Sayla had said she was going home.
She was covering her mouth with her hands. In other words, she was worried about the smell of the garlic she had just eaten.
Yamato also turned his back and apologized, to which Sayla replied in a whisper, “It’s fine, the feeling is mutual.”
“I think I’m going home for the day.”
They started walking side by side, but the distance between them was half a step wider than usual.
But rather than being reserved, the distance between them was due to their awareness of each other.
“…I’ve been in there alone until now, so I didn’t know it smelled so bad.”
Sayla murmured in a small voice as if she regretted it.
After all, Sayla is also a young maiden age-wise.
Yamato pretended not to hear her, but inwardly felt the gap between her and her normal self, and thought that she was still cute and adorable.
After seeing Sayla quickly leave the classroom as soon as class ended, Yamato hurriedly headed to the shoe locker, where he was approached by May.
“See you later, Kuraki-kun.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
But May only said a few words to him before leaving.
Still, the encounter was a special event for Yamato. Ever since May had recognized him as a “comrade” a few days ago, they had been having friendly exchanges like the one they were having now.
After exchanging greetings with one another, May immediately went home with her friends, and Yamato watched her back with a peaceful feeling.
“Oh dear~ is this a premonition of love?”
When Yamato turned around at the sound of a chilling voice, he saw a grinning Eita. It was a depressing sight to see.
“You’ve heard the story from Tamaki-san, haven’t you?”
The day after May and Yamato became comrades, Eita was seen in the classroom during recess asking May about her interest in Yamato.
“Kee~, you’re not worth teasing~”
“I knew it was just a simple matter. … Isn’t there a club activity today?”
As he said this, Yamato changed his shoes.
Yamato was about to walk away when Eita sighed lazily and began to speak, “yeah, I’ve got club activities again today~”
“Oh, there you are.”
He was about to walk away again when Sayla appeared and pointed at him.
He thought she had already left, but it seemed that she was still in the school.
From what she just said, it seems that she was looking for him, but he doesn’t know the reason why.
“I see Shirase is still here too. What’s the matter?”
“I sent you a message, have you seen it?”
When I took out my phone from my pocket, I saw that I had indeed received a message from Sayla.
The message read, “Can you come to the rooftop after this?” The message arrived just a few minutes ago — right in the middle of HR before school was out. It must have been on silent mode and I didn’t notice it.
“Sorry, I just noticed. I’ll be fine today.”
Yamato immediately changed into his slippers and said to Eita, “See you later,” and walked off with Sayla.
Although Yamato did felt a little bad when he heard Eita’s lonely voice behind him saying, “There’s a big difference in attitude between the way you treat me and the way you treat her, well that’s fine though.”
“So, what brings us to the roof?”
Yamato was on the landing in front of the rooftop, and asked Sayla about her business.
There were already two sheets of newspaper on the floor of the landing, so he could only guess that something was about to happen.
“Yamato said he didn’t have any money, so I thought I’d give him a haircut.”
Yamato jerked in surprise when Sayla stated her purpose with scissors in hand. Apparently, she had brought them all the way from her home for this purpose.
“Um… I’m sorry, I’ll pass.”
I tried to carry my bag and walk away to show my resistance, but Sayla, with a comb in her other hand, was full of motivation.
“Why? I thought it was pretty long the last time we had PE.”
“Well, it’s shorter than Shirase’s…”
“So if I cut mine, will you cut yours?”
“No, I’m sorry, please don’t do that.”
At this rate, Sayla might seriously cut her own hair as well, so Yamato couldn’t help but declare his surrender.
He had no choice but to sit on the newspaper and take off his blazer and shirt, as Sayla instructed him to.
“You’re not taking off your T-shirt?”
“Give me a break…”
When I refused her last request out of shame, Sayla seemed to reluctantly give up.
I tucked a piece of newspaper into the collar of my t-shirt and used it like a cloth.
“All right, let’s get started.”
Sayla walked behind Yamato and immediately touched his hair.
The feeling was not comfortable but also wasn’t unpleasant.
“…I’d appreciate it if you don’t cut it too short.”
From Yamato’s point of view, who doesn’t want his face to be seen too much, it’s better to have his hair as long as possible.
Even so, if it was too long, it would stand out, defeating its purpose, so Yamato thought he had kept it just the right length. … He didn’t have the money to go to a barbershop these days, so he may have left it too long.
So, the mist spray, or what I think is mist spray, came out from the container and made contact with my hair which made it a little cooler. It was surprisingly authentic that she had even prepared such a thing.
“It’s cold… Why did you say you were going to cut my hair all of a sudden?”
“I told you, I thought it was too long when I saw it in PE.”
“If you could, I’d like you to tell me in advance…”
“It’s a surprise, you know.”
While we were having this conversation, the sound of crunching and cutting reached my ears.
She seems to be using the scissors properly, but I wonder if Sayla has any experience cutting other people’s hair.
“Do you often cut your family’s hair?”
“No, I don’t. I live alone.”
“Then whose hair do you usually cut?”
“Hmm? Is there anyone else?”
“Friends… no, like your boyfriend’s hair.”
Remembering that Sayla didn’t have any friends, it was regrettable that he had said something like that on the spur of the moment.
Even if she wasn’t bothered by it, Yamato still would have mixed feelings about his comment.
“No, I don’t. I’ve never had a boyfriend or anything.”
Yamato was deeply relieved to hear such an indifferent answer.
Sayla is very popular, but it was surprising to hear that she had never had a boyfriend. He had heard rumors that she turned down every confession given to her, it seemed that the rumors were true.
“I don’t really understand those things, about relationships and love.”
It’s true that I can’t imagine Sayla having a specific romantic partner. This is also true for me.
As the conversation went on, Yamato was prepared to be asked if he had ever been in love, but she remained silent for a while, only the sound of scissors echoing in the background. Perhaps this topic was not of much interest to Sayla.
As the conversation died down, Yamato suddenly realized.
The fact that Sayla had never cut anyone’s hair but her own meant that this was the first time she had cut someone else’s hair.
“… Is it the first time Shirase has cut someone’s hair? Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine. I’ve kind of got the hang of it.”
“You just got the hang of it…?”
“Besides, I have an image in my head of what I want to do.”
After saying that, Sayla positions herself in front of Yamato.
It smells so good when she’s this close, and I can’t help but feel fidgety because Sayla’s chest is right in front of my eyes. Even from the top of her uniform, I could see that they’re bulging, and it stirred my imagination in many ways.
I closed my eyes for a moment to shake off my evil thoughts, and then Sayla’s hand touched my bangs.
“Yamato’s hair is so silky.”
“It’s hard to set, though, and it’s not very nice.”
“So? I like it.”
Yamato felt his own face burning at the casual compliment.
“Now that you mention it, Shirase’s—”
“Ah, don’t move.”
A few minutes had passed.
“All right, it’s done.”
As soon as he opened his eyes, he was offered a hand mirror.
When Yamato received the mirror, he checked the appearance and exclaimed with admiration, “Ooh.”
“I don’t know, it hasn’t changed much. Though I’m thankful for the haircut.”
She smiled as she cleaned up the tools she had used.
“But it’s lighter, isn’t it?”
“Sounds about right. Especially when I shake my head.”
The heavy part in the back was lightened properly, and the bangs and sides around the ears were cut so as not to be too short.
“Are you satisfied?”
Yamato subconsciously looked away when Sayla looked into his face and asked him a question.
“Yeah, I think it looks really good. That’s a skill you develop for cutting your own hair.”
“Fufu, I’m like a hairdresser myself these days.”
Even so, it was an amazing feat, although she’s not flattered, I’m very satisfied with her work.
“I’d ask Shirase to do this every time from now on.”
“Whenever I feel like it. I had a lot of fun cutting Yamato’s hair, and I’d like to do it again.”
As they talked, Sayla brushed the hair from Yamato’s neck.
“Okay, I got it all out. You can put your shirt on now.”
“…Thanks for that. I was wondering what was going to happen at first, but I realized once again that Shirase is capable of anything.”
“You’re giving me too much credit.”
Sayla laughed shyly and rolled up the newspaper with Yamato’s hair in it.
“Did you bring that newspaper all the way from your home too?”
“No, I got it from the art room.”
“Is that why you left the classroom right after homeroom?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“As she answered, she put the newspaper into her bag.”
“Eh… are you taking that home with you?”
“I don’t feel comfortable about dumping it at the school.”
“Then I’ll take it home. It’s my hair.”
“It’s fine. I was the one who cut your hair.”
Strange as it may seem, Yamato was strangely happy that Sayla was treating his hair as her property, and his mouth naturally relaxed.
“You’re smiling again for reasons I can’t quite make out. Now that I’ve freshened up your bangs, it’s easier to see your expression.”
I don’t think I should be happy about this, anyway, Sayla seemed to be happy about it.
“…I’m telling you, there’s absolutely no way. Shirase sees me in a better light compared to what I actually am.”
When Yamato confidently assures her of this, Sayla shrugged her shoulders.
“It’s not something you realize yourself.”
She sounded very convincing.
“Well, anyway, if we are done, let’s get going.”
“Right. Let’s go home.”
With his hair tidied up, Yamato was in the mood to go out and have fun, but Sayla was already planning to leave.
We walked through the school, where the number of students had completely dwindled, and after changing our shoes with the box on the floor, we passed through the elevator.
When Yamato noticed that they were casually leaving the school together, he hurriedly looked around, but there were no students around.
As they approached where they normally parted, Sayla opened her mouth.
“You look good with that hairstyle. Bye-bye.”
With that, she waved and left.
Yamato, who was left alone, scratched the back of his head and muttered to himself.
“I think I’ll try a little harder to style my hair from now on.”
Yamato had been indifferent to fashion, only fixing his sleeping habits, until now. He decided to take this opportunity to rethink his fashion choices.
The first goal is to be a man who is not ashamed to stand alongside Sayla— However, this was too high of a hurdle for him currently, so he decided to be safe and take a step forward to improve his current self.