I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Ch. 7: Sports Festival And Cheerleading Competition
- I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble
- Ch. 7: Sports Festival And Cheerleading Competition
The day of the Sports Festival arrived.
It was a perfect day, a clear sky with no clouds.
However, it had rained last night, so the ground was still muddy, but thanks to the early morning work of the students on the sports festival committee, there seemed to be no problem with continuing the festival.
All the students had changed into their gymnastic uniforms gathered on the ground, and after listening to the principal’s long speech, they began their warm-up.
Then the festival began as programmed.
There were many parents who had come to watch, and even though it was only mid-morning, the place was already crowded.
Yamato’s first event was the men’s 200-meter sprint. Even though the sports festival had only just begun, he was feeling a little worried.
“Kuraki, aim for first place!”
Eita cheerfully shouted from their class section.
“No, I think third place is more appropriate for me…”
“Why are you beating yourself down before the race?”
Eita turned to the gal girl next to him, and she said, “Oh, yeah. Kuraki-chan, go for it!” She cheered Yamato on with a strange honorific… Well, Yamato didn’t mind it.
As for May, sitting next to her, she was gazing at the back of the entrance gate where the women’s 200-meter runners were gathering. That’s where Sayla was.
(Well, I’ll do my best.)
It totally wasn’t because he was cheered on by the girls, but Yamato went through the gate full of energy.
The men’s 200-meter run began immediately, and the first heat started.
In the 200-meter run, which involves running in a circle around the track, it was important to manage your stamina. If you run too fast at the beginning, you will be exhausted in the second half.
However, if Yamato, who was not that fast, started slow, he would definitely not be able to take first place.
Therefore, Yamato decided to take a gamble and use the so-called “getaway strategy”.
He was going to give it his all from the beginning, and even if he got tired in the latter half of the race, he would still be able to maintain his lead.
Finally, it was Yamato’s heat. His position was in the first lane, a position where Yamato would have an advantage if he could get a good start because of the tight turns on the inside course.
The starter called out, “Take your mark” and Yamato took his starting position. His heart was already beating nervously.
Then, the starter called out “Go” to start the race, and Yamato started to run as the gun sounded.
The first part of the race on the straight was as expected, as Yamato was racing for third place.
He felt as if he was being rushed as the cheering and clamor around him reached his ears.
As they entered the first turn, they were side by side, and Yamato was able to break away into first place. He continued to run as fast as he could down the straight.
But his lungs were already screaming. His legs also felt heavy.
Still, Yamato didn’t give up and moved his legs as hard as he could. Yamato could hear the second place breathing from behind. He was probably closing the distance.
Yamato entered the final corner and continued to run without slowing down, no matter the curve…
Yamato felt his legs tangle.
The next thing he knew, he lost his balance and fell forward.
Yamato quickly got up, but he could see the other runners out of the corner of his eye.
Apparently, he had gotten his foot caught in a muddy patch that hadn’t dried out yet. Both of his knees were scraped and ached. After grasping this situation, Yamato started running again.
And so he finally reached his goal.
Immediately after reaching the goal, Yamato took a deep breath and looked up at the sky, unable to put his hands on his torn knees.
The result was, of course, fourth place, the lowest place. Yamato couldn’t look at the cheering section of the class because he felt so bad and embarrassed.
“Nice run, Kuraki!”
Eita’s congratulatory voice came from the cheering section. Eita’s other classmates followed suit, saying, “Nice run!” Then, other classmates called out to him, “You did well!”
Yamato was embarrassed by this, so he gave a small bow and sat down in the resting area for the students who had finished running.
Not long after that, the boys’ 200-meter run was over, followed by the girls’ 200-meter run.
Sayla’s turn to run came later, so Yamato washed his wounds with water and sat down on the cheering section.
“Waa, Kuraki-kun, that looks painful.”
May said with concern when she saw the wound, and the rest of her classmates suggested that Yamato go to the infirmary.
“Well, I’ll go in a little while.”
Yamato couldn’t clearly say, “I want to see Shirase run,” but he managed to cover it up. Some of his classmates noticed, of course.
Finally, it was Sayla’s turn to run. In Sayla’s case, it was also decided by lottery, but she seemed to be the fastest among the girls in the school, and everyone was paying attention to her figure.
With her hair tied into a ponytail, she took her starting position with supple movements.
Everyone who saw her gasped for breath, and soon after the gun sounded, she started running.
Immediately, the people around him cheered.
She was fast compared to others.
Leaving the other runners behind, she ran at a speed that was as fast as a man’s. Her form was beautiful, dignified, and yet powerful. She was like a horse.
Without slowing down, Sayla crossed the finish line.
The way she relaxed and stretched, taking off her hair band while catching her breath, was very alluring. Even though she had just finished her run, she had the attention of everyone around her all to herself.
“Shirase is amazing after all.”
Yamato, who had been watching the scene, muttered quietly and left his seat.
Yamato’s next event was to knock over the sticks. But there was still some time before the start of the event.
Therefore, Yamato went to the infirmary alone.
After changing into his in door shoes, he slowly walked down the empty corridor.
Thanks to the lack of sunlight, it was cooler in the school building, and his sweat began to recede.
Yamato knocked on the door of the infirmary, and a gentle voice answered from inside, “Come in.”
Yamato went inside, where he was greeted by the cool breeze of the air conditioner.
The cleanliness of the room and the faint smell of chemicals calmed him down.
“Oh, you scraped your knee. Sit down there.”
A mild-mannered woman in a white coat —Fujita-sensei, the school nurse, urged him to sit on the sofa.
With her wavy dark brown hair, intelligent and calm face, and a figure that gave a sense of maturity, it’s no wonder she’s so popular with the students.
“I washed it with water, just in case.”
When Yamato reported that he had washed the wound beforehand, Fujita-sensei bent down in front of Yamato, checked the wound, and nodded her head.
“Well, you’ve washed it clean. Now all we have to do is put on the adhesive bandage.”
“Umm, don’t we need to disinfect it?”
“No. With this wound, all you have to do is put a bandage on it and you’ll be fine.”
The older, more beautiful woman suddenly looked up and smiled at him, and as a teenage boy, Yamato was naturally very nervous. In addition, his eyes were drawn to her ample bosom.
(This is the person Shinjo likes… Indeed, she is a different type apart from Shirase.)
This was the first time Yamato had talked to her properly, but he got the impression that she was a healer, or at any rate she was very receptive. She had a warm personality that makes one feel relieved and healed just by being around her. If Yamato had an older sister or mother like her, he would be proud of her.
“Did you get this wound during the competition?”
Fujita-sensei asked him as she took out an adhesive bandage from the shelf, making small talk.
“Ah, yes. I fell down in the 200-meter run… Because of that, I came in last.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I’m not very good at running either, I used to fall down a lot when I was in school.”
The way she talked was as if she was nostalgically recalling a memory from perhaps almost ten years ago, it seemed vaguely charming.
So Yamato opened his mouth, trying to be as natural as possible.
“But Shinjo, who was in my class, told me it was a nice run, so it wasn’t too awkward.”
Fujita-sensei was puzzled for a moment, but then she quickly smiled kindly.
“Heeh, Shinjo-kun. That’s just like him.”
She bent down in front of Yamato again and put large adhesive bandages on both knees. The palms of his hands were also scratched in some places, so she put smaller bandages on them.
“Okay, that’s done.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Good luck with the rest of the competition!”
After bowing, Yamato left the infirmary.
It may have been unnecessary meddling, but it was the first time Yamato felt as if he had encouraged someone’s love life, and his heart was beating strangely fast.
When Yamato returned to the track, he saw Sayla in the class cheering section.
“Ah, welcome back. How’s your wound?”
Sayla called out to him with a sports drink in her hand.
“I’m back. I’m totally fine. Also, there doesn’t seem to be many people participating in this event.”
“Maybe it’s because there’s no one willing to jump hurdles?”
Yamato sat down next to Sayla, and she offered him a sports drink.
“No, I don’t…”
Since there were several classmates around him and he didn’t intend to drink from someone else’s bottle on a regular basis, he cryptically declined.
Then May and a few other girls from the same cheer approached them.
Apparently, they wanted to take a picture with Yamato and Sayla.
“Come on, guys, come closer!
Using her phone as a camera, the girl in charge of taking the picture stretched her arms to the limit to try to capture everyone in the picture.
Yamato was in the center of a dreamy harem of popular girls taking pictures with him, but he couldn’t help but feel the resentful stares of the boys from afar.
“Here we go—”
With a snap, the girl in charge of taking the picture pressed the shutter button and it was done.
Yamato was relieved that it was all over, but he was shocked when a girl whose name he could not remember poked him on the shoulder.
“Kuraki-kun, can you tell me your ID so I can send you the pictures I took?
With the momentum, he exchanged contact information with the girl, and then with other girls.
But it seems that most of the girls wanted to exchange contact information with Sayla as well. Yamato was used as bait, but he didn’t feel bad about it.
The other girls who had finished their business left, and May, who had stayed behind, opened her mouth while looking at the program.
“The cheerleading competition will start after the lunch break, so please gather at the club’s building twenty minutes before the lunch break ends. We’ll be handing out uniforms there. If your parents are coming, you’d better tell them about it beforehand.”
As expected of a class committee member, she seemed to be checking the schedule frequently to make sure there were no mistakes. This was something Yamato wanted to learn.
Speaking of the uniforms for cheerleading, they had just had their sizes adjusted a few days ago. Both boys and girls were wearing the cheerleading uniforms, and Yamato was looking forward to seeing Sayla in hers.
“Thank you, Tamaki-san, but my mother isn’t here as she has work.”
“Me neither. My parents are busy.”
In Sayla’s case, it seemed that her parents were not coming for other reasons. Yamato couldn’t explain every single thing about his family, so he played it safe.
“I see, then it’s okay.”
After the confirmation, May said, “Let’s do our best in the rest of the competition!” With that, she left her seat.
“I’ve got to get moving too.”
“Have a good run!”
All the participants of the pole vaulting event were already gathering in front of the entrance gate, so Yamato was eager to get going.
He slapped his cheeks to get into the spirit, hoping to show off his good qualities this time.
“The morning’s competition is over. We will now take a lunch break—”
The broadcast said, and it was time for their lunch break.
As for Yamato, he was burning up in the class cheering section. Although he was able to win the pole vaulting competition overall, he was not able to play a prominent role, and that was what he regretted.
“Yamato, let’s have lunch.”
Sayla called out to him as usual, and Yamato was immediately revived.
“Right. Shall we go to the rooftop?”
“Yes, there won’t be many people there.”
And so they began to move towards the rooftop.
Yamato was out of breath just going up the stairs.
“Are you okay? You had a pretty hard morning.”
“The 200-meter run took more of my energy than I expected, followed by the pole vault and then the relay for everyone without pause. It was really tough for someone from the go-home club.”
“We’re almost there, so hang in there.”
Sayla smiled and held out her hand to Yamato.
Her figure, illuminated by the sunlight streaming through the window, was unmistakably that of a saint.
Yamato took her hand, ran up the rest of the stairs and finally made it to the roof.
As expected, there was no one around, and the wind was blowing pleasantly.
“It’s such a relief. There were so many people everywhere else.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Why don’t we just sit here in the sun for a while?
Sayla said, and lay down on the ground.
“No, we have a cheering competition next, so we can’t skip it. If we do, I feel bad for Tamaki-san.”
Yamato sat down in the shade and opened his lunch box, though he had no appetite due to fatigue.
On top of the white rice were the words “Fight!”
“Wow, that’s luxurious.”
Sayla looked into the lunch box and said enviously.
It was true that a meat-filled bento box containing fried chicken, sukiyaki beef, pork cutlet and grilled chicken was more luxurious than usual.
“The calories are too high, though. To be honest, I don’t know if I can finish it.”
“Then I’ll eat the rest.”
“If you could take half of it, that would be great.”
“Leave it to me.”
Sayla took out her own chopsticks and held them up happily. She may have been expecting this situation, as she had already prepared chopsticks.
The two of them split the lunch in half, and Yamato took a sigh of relief.
“I could never have eaten all of this by myself…”
“It was delicious. Gochisosama.”
“…Shirase’s parents aren’t here today, either. Where’s your sister?”
When Yamato asked her about something that had been bothering him, she shook her head.
“I think they probably don’t even know that today is the sports festival.”
“Well, I don’t mind if Shirase is okay with it. It seems that many people don’t even bother to invite their parents to high school sports festivals.
“Ah, but my grandfather might come.”
Because Sayla said it so casually, Yamato’s reaction was delayed for a moment.
“Heh…? Eh, grandpa? Shirase’s grandpa is coming to the sports festival!?”
When Yamato shouted out in surprise, Sayla smiled at him.
“I don’t know, maybe. He said he had some business coming nearby, and he called me, so I told him.”
“O-Oh… Then I’ll finally get to meet him.”
Sayla’s grandfather was the owner of the rooftop amusement park that Sayla and Yamato visited on the last day of Golden Week. In other words, he was a very important person to Sayla.
“I guess so. Are you nervous?”
“…Honestly, my stomach is starting to hurt.”
“Haha, that’s because you ate too much. But you might as well get used to it while you can.”
Then, Sayla started to play with her phone.
The screen of the phone she showed Yamato showed an old gentleman wearing a stylish beret. He had a kind smile on his face, and the image made him appear kind.
However, Yamato’s attention was on another person in the image with him, a young girl with hair down to her waist.
This was definitely Sayla when she was a child.
“This seemed quite some time ago…”
“What do you mean?”
“No, I’m talking about this. —Your grandfather seems like a very kind man.”
“Yeah. I’m proud of him.”
Hehe, Sayla smiled innocently. She had been unconcerned earlier, but she was still happy that her grandfather was coming to the sports festival.
“Ah, the picture was taken quite a while ago, so he looks a bit older in person. By the way, that’s me in the picture with him.”
“I had an idea of what to expect… You were cute.”
It became somewhat awkward, so Yamato checked his phone again and stood up.
“I guess we better get moving. Did your grandfather tell you what time he’ll be here?”
“Well, he said he’d be here in the afternoon. But I haven’t heard from him yet.”
“Oh, well. But let’s do our best.”
This time, Yamato held out his hand, and Sayla took it and stood up.
“Yamato’s mother also said, ‘Fight!’.”
“Stop messing with me through my bento…”
When they moved to the club’s building, the meeting place, the distribution of uniforms had already begun.
After receiving their uniforms, the cheerleaders headed for the changing rooms. Those who had finished changing were the first to assemble in front of the entrance gate to the building.
“I’ll see you in a little bit.”
After receiving her gakuran, he left Sayla and went into the changing room.
Yamato had only worn blazer-type uniforms in the past, so it was refreshing to wear the gakuran. He felt strangely masculine as he put on the outfit.
As he was wondering how far he should fasten the buttons on his chest, someone came up next to him.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
Yamato looked next to him and saw a large man standing next to him, Takao, the leader of the white team’s cheerleaders.
“Ah, Thanks. …It’s okay, I guess.”
“An okay is good enough. Let’s enjoy the cheerleading competition.”
Takao smiled at him, and Yamato nodded, feeling somewhat embarrassed.
Takao was probably concerned about Yamato’s inability to fit in with the rest of the group, especially the male members. As expected of the leader.
Yamato was grateful for his thoughtfulness, but at the same time he felt a little sad.
There was one thing that Yamato learned by participating in cheerleading. He knew that he wasn’t suited to be involved with bright people.
However, it was fun to practice cheerleading, and he felt a sense of accomplishment when everyone performed together. Yamato learned that there was such a way to participate in an event.
After getting dressed and getting ready, Yamato turned to Takao.
“I’m looking forward to the white team’s performance. I look forward to seeing you at the cheering competition.”
As he bowed, Takao smiled and made a gutsy pose.
When they moved in front of the entrance gate, most of the cheerleaders had already gathered.
There was no sign of Sayla yet, but May and Yanagi, the leader of the Red Team, were already waiting. Both of them were looking quite good in their school gakuran.
At that moment, someone shouted in admiration, drawing everyone’s attention to a single point.
As Yamato turned her gaze, he couldn’t help but let out an exhale.
Standing in front of his gaze was Sayla, dressed in her school gakuran.
Her hair was tied up in a single bun, and her cool, dignified face and the majestic design of her school gakuran combined to create a miraculous combination of beauty and coolness.
Everyone, boy and girl alike, were transfixed by the sight of the beautiful girl in male attire.
Like the other members of the group, Yamato was at a loss for words, but Sayla noticed him and approached him.
“It looks good on you. It’s very cool.”
With an elegant smile, Sayla praised Yamato.
Yamato felt a strange feeling as if he was being hit on by the world’s most handsome man, and replied in a dazed manner.
“Is that ironic…?”
“No, Shirase is that kind of person.”
Yamato smiled back at Sayla, who was puzzled, almost holding her head.
That was when Yamato noticed May collapsing happily in the distance. …Yamato guessed he’d better leave her alone for now.
“Still no word from your grandfather?”
Yamato asked in a hushed voice, and Sayla nodded.
“I don’t mind. I think it’s enough to be able to see his face, so don’t worry about it.”
“Yeah, okay. Then, let’s get with it.”
For once, both Yamato and Sayla were both in high spirits.
“Bravo! You look great, Shirase!”
Yanagi called out, clapping excitedly.
“I think the red team will win this one.”
“Hah? Don’t underestimate the White Team.”
The one who intervened with a booming voice was Takao, the leader of the White Team. The combination of his stocky physique and the gakuran was a perfect match, and he looked cool in a different way than Sayla. In fact, the girls around him were crying out in excitement.
“Wow, you look too manly for a hot day, sort of rough~ Today’s boys need to be more stylish, don’t they~?”
Takao smiled at Yanagi’s agitation.
“If that’s the case, I’ll make it black and white in this cheerleading competition. I’ll show you who is the true leader of the cheer team.”
“Interesting, I’ll take it. We have the strongest lethal weapon, the saint, Shirase-san. I don’t think I’m going to lose this one in the slightest.”
The two leaders were blazing with fighting spirit. The other members of the group also start to get excited by their enthusiasm.
Yamato, who was not quite able to get into the groove, muttered with a wry smile.
“In the first place, was cheering supposed to be a competition…?”
“It’s called a cheerleading competition. Well, the leaders seemed to have a lot of personal feelings involved.”
Sayla, who also seemed to be having trouble getting through the situation, said in a dumbfounded tone. Yamato and Sayla looked at each other and laughed, they hadn’t expected this to happen.
Not long after that, the announcement was made that the lunch break was over, and the first red team formed a circle.
“We’ll show them what we’ve been able to do, and we’ll make the sports festival in the afternoon a lot more exciting! Red Team Fight!”
As soon as the Red Cheer Team finished their circle full of spirit, Yanagi shouted, “Let’s go!” The Red Team cheerleaders went through the entrance gate at once.
After they lined up on the ground with the sound of drums, Yanagi gave them a start.
Immediately after the start, the sound of the drums modulated, and the performance began on cue.
As the cheering members of the red team performed their powerful and passionate dance, the heat in the hall rose to a climax.
At first, Yamato was just focused on not making any mistakes, but as he was surrounded by the enthusiasm of the audience, he became more conscious of his dynamic movements and felt a sense of elation that he had never felt before.
The strength of his spirit was reflected in his performance, and his heart was racing as he danced happily, powerfully, and in unison with the other members of the group.
Yamato looked at Sayla out of the corner of his eye. That was another factor that lifted Yamato’s spirits. As if pulled by her graceful and gorgeous figure, the other members also improved their own performances.
At the end of the five-minute performance, the audience broke into applause. After Yanagi’s call, the Red Team’s cheerleaders promptly left the ground.
The performance was a great success, and after leaving the ground, some of the members hugged and praised each other, while others were so moved that they started crying.
One of them, May, expressed her gratitude with tears streaming down her face, saying, “I really appreciate what you two have done, Saint and Kuraki-kun.”
After that, the white group performed a spirited performance and the cheerleading competition ended successfully.
“That was quite cool.”
Eita said to Yamato, who had returned to the class cheering section, looking a little regretful.
Soon after, the girls in the class gathered around and said, “That was really cool! It was really good!” “Kuraki-kun, let’s take a picture together!”
(Could this be the arrival of my “popularity period”?)
For a moment, Yamato had high hopes, but their attention was immediately turned to Sayla and May who had returned.
As Yamato was inwardly disappointed, Eita grinned and squared his shoulders.
“Don’t worry, it was a short-lived glory.”
“Shut up Shinjo.”
“Well, well, don’t be so angry. I thought the winner of the cheerleading competition would be announced at the end of the festival.”
“Right, but I don’t think I care about winning or losing anymore.”
These were Yamato’s sincere words, and he felt a great sense of accomplishment that he had been able to give his best performance with everyone else.
“How nice, very passionate. Keep it up and have a wild cavalry battle!”
With Eita, Yamato rushed towards the entrance gate.
Yamato didn’t feel like he could lose any competition now in such a mood.
“Oh, yeah! I’m so cool!”
Eita was basking in the glory of victory when he returned from his overwhelming victory in the cavalry match.
Yamato was also basking in the joy of victory, but he was too embarrassed to make as big an appeal as Eita.
Just then, a boy from the class who was a member of the sports festival committee came running up to him, looking troubled.
“Hey, can someone stand in for me in the mixed two-person three-legged race?”
Then, Eita raised his hand vigorously.
“Okay, I’m in!
“No, Shinjo is a member of the original team.”
“Ah, I see. Then, Kuraki!”
When Eita unexpectedly called on him to help out, Yamato’s body jolted.
“Yes! There’s still time for tug of war, right?”
“Yeah, but can I race without practice?”
“You’ll be fine, it will be fine!”
They decided that Yamato would sub for the event, and he was anxious but prepared.
Then, one of the boys on the committee said with a troubled look.
“Actually, we are missing the girl too.”
The whole area went silent.
Just when Yamato was about to swear and say, “Why didn’t you say that first?”
“I’ll do it then.”
Sayla stated as she volunteered herself. She seemed to have just come back from the restroom.
The combination of the two seemed unexpected, but not unexpected at the same time, and the people around them began to buzz.
But Sayla didn’t seem to care about that at all and started walking towards the entrance gate.
“Yamato, let’s go.”
The way Sayla turned slightly and spoke to Yamato made him feel very confident.
Yamato, who was already in high spirits, also headed for the entrance gate.
For the two person, three legged race, Yamato was on the right and Sayla was on the left, and they bent down to tie the strap around each other’s ankles. In the middle of this, Yamato asked something that had been bothering him a little.
“Are you tired, Shirase?”
“I’m fine, though the crowds make me feel like I’m getting drunk.”
“I see. Take it easy.”
“Thanks. —Ah, that knot’s gonna come undone.”
Then, Sayla tied Yamato’s ankle strap again.
In the middle of doing so, Yamato could see Sayla up close, and she smelled very good.
“It’s done. —You’re looking a bit red. Are you okay?”
“Uhh, I’m fine. …Maybe.”
Yamato stood up as if to cover up his evil feelings, and Sayla followed suit.
“I hope so. Come on, let’s get some practice in before we start.”
Yamato’s voice was a little too loud as Sayla suddenly put her hands around his waist.
Yamato also put his hands around Sayla’s waist, but—
Yamato thought he heard an outrageously cute squeal beside him and saw Sayla’s face turn bright red.
“Umm… Shirase, san?”
When Yamato grabbed Sayla’s side again — or rather, Sayla’s waist, he found that it was soft.
“Hyaah!? —Seriously, really don’t.”
The next thing Yamato knew, Sayla gave another cute squeal and said angrily.
As it turned out, Sayla was apparently weak in the side. Yamato’s heart skipped a beat at the discovery of this unexpected weakness, but he was afraid that she would be seriously offended if he took it any further, so he let go of his hand for now.
Yamato didn’t know where to hold her. Yamato tried hard not to burst out laughing as he asked.
“P-Pff… then, where should I grab?
“Normally, it’s the shoulders. Yamato is taller than me, so I grabbed your waist. —Also, stop laughing.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do that.”
Sayla’s cheeks puffed up slightly and she began to pout. The sight was too cute for Yamato to handle.
However, Yamato thought he really needed to pull himself together soon. The pressure of the white eyes of the other pairs competing in the race was incredible. He could even feel their menacing auras.
Even Eita was yelling at them from afar, “You guys, you really need to pull your weight…” They probably should get it together.
“I’m sorry, please don’t be mad.”
“I don’t mind at all.”
Sayla still looked mad as she looked away. Her words and actions didn’t match up.
In the meantime, the race was about to begin, and in the end, they were unable to practice properly before the actual event.
At the start, Sayla put her hands around his waist again. Yamato felt weird, but put his hand on Sayla’s shoulder.
Sayla’s soft yet slender shoulders were slightly sweaty, and the warmth of her body transmitted through his palms made Yamato’s heart beat faster.
“Then, let’s call out ‘one, two’ and Yamato’s feet will go in the order of ‘right foot, left foot’.”
Unlike Yamato who was nervous, Sayla seemed to have completely focused on the competition. When she suggested a shout for order, Yamato hurriedly agreed.
“The stride length should be about half a step. If it doesn’t fit too well, we can adjust it as we run. I’m shorter than you, so Yamato should match my pace.”
“O-Oh, I understand.”
“Okay, here we go.”
As they found themselves stranded in front of the entrance gate, Yamato and Sayla shouted “one, two” as they moved to the waiting area for the runners.
Feeling the jealous and vindictive stares from the people around him, Yamato decided to concentrate on the race with Sayla.
Soon the first pair of runners started running, followed by Yamato’s pair.
As they stood at the starting position, the other pairs glanced at Yamato. They must have been surprised that Sayla was participating in this kind of competition.
And so, at last, the two people three legged race began with a bang.
After a sluggish start, Yamato and Saira shouted “one, two” in unison and began to gain speed.
Yamato and Sayla overtook one pair at the corner and passed the other pair as they entered the straight.
Just as they were about to pass the other pair and cross the finish line, Yamato noticed a muddy spot in the direction they were going.
Sayla had just stepped on the spot and slipped—
Yamato immediately stepped on the outer leg with all his might and hugged Sayla’s shoulders tightly, as she was about to fall.
Thanks to this, they were able to avoid falling, but Yamato ended up hugging Sayla as hard as he could.
The soft feeling in his arms almost took Yamato’s consciousness away.
“Sorry, let’s hurry up.”
He looked at Sayla, who had not yet given up on victory.
With her words, Yamato concentrated on running again.
So he ran hard, but the result was third place.
Even so, Sayla looked refreshed.
“Thank you, Yamato. We were able to finish the race.”
Seeing her smiling face, Yamato’s frustration vanished.
“Thanks to you too. I managed to get into shape because I was with Shirase.”
“I almost fell, though. But I’m really grateful for your help.”
“Then I guess we’re on the same page. Now, shall we untie the string?”
They both laughed, and as Yamato bent down, the school announcement came on.
“I’m going to call out a student, second year B class, Shirase Sayla. Please come to the staff room immediately. I repeat—”
After hearing the broadcast, Yamato and Sayla looked at each other again.
“You’re being called over for something.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong though?”
“I know, I know. Go ahead and go.”
“Ehhh, Yamato, you should come with me. There’s still time before the tug of war, right?”
“Guess I don’t have a choice…”
She may have said she hadn’t done anything wrong, but it didn’t mean she didn’t have an idea of what it was for.
There was certainly time left before Yamato’s next event, the tug-of-war, so he reluctantly decided to follow along.
They knocked on the door of the staff room, and when they entered, the homeroom teacher informed Sayla that there was a phone call for her.
So Yamato waited in front of the staff room, but when she came out a little later, Sayla’s face was very pale.
When Yamato called out in concern, Sayla fell to her knees and sat down on the floor.
“They said, Grandpa collapsed…”
Sayla continued in a muffled voice.
“And it seems that he was just taken to the hospital…”
Sayla’s whole body trembled and she curled over in a huddle.
It was the first time Yamato saw Sayla this distraught. Even when she had a high fever, she was somewhat aloof, but now she couldn’t afford to be like this now.
At that moment, Yamato thought as quickly as he could.
—He wanted to do something.
“He’ll be fine, Shirase.”
When Yamato called out to her gently to calm her down, she looked up slightly.
She looked terribly frightened, a look Yamato had never seen on her face.
“What, do you mean he’ll be fine…?”
“Today’s medical technology is very advanced. If your grandpa has been taken to the hospital, he will be fine.”
This was just to comfort her. But Yamato doesn’t intend to just comfort her.
That was why Yamato held out his hand.
“If you’re that worried, just go check it out. I’ll go with you, so you won’t get lost.”
“Did you get the name of the hospital?”
She nodded her head slightly.
“I’ll call a taxi, and you can change into your uniform in the meantime. You can’t go to the hospital in gym clothes.”
Sayla took Yamato’s hand, stood up, and began to run.
After watching Sayla’s back as she ran, though unsteadily, Yamato used his phone to call a taxi as she headed to get her things.
(—It’s times like this when I have to be strong. I’m not going to be intimidated!)
The truth was, there was no guarantee that Sayla’s grandpa would be okay.
On the contrary, having been told such a story, Yamato felt his legs would start to shake if he let his guard down.
However, Yamato tried his best to keep his mind strong for now.
He was ready to do anything for Sayla.