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E6 - 6 This article contains HEAVY spoilers. Please view at your own risk.

This is Legend of the Black Tomcat of Misfortune from Volume 1 of the Toradora! Spin-Off Light Novel series.

Transcript

"...... D- d- d-, did you see it?"

"It's no use, the trees over there are blocking...... a little more to the left."

"...... H- h- h-, how?"

"It's no good, that tree is blocking it this time. ......ah, darn! This is quite frustrating! Can we cut it all down!?"

--I might do it.

Takasu Ryuuji struggled as he crouched down silently in order to drop the hooligan off his shoulders. The hooligan got down on the ground violently with both feet.

"Damn!"

She swore at the whole world, unleashing her frustration. She tore off an innocent leaf of a shiso plant in the lush flower bed. The mint's scent drifted in the hellish heat of the noon of midsummer.

"Oh forget it, it's okay, that's a wrap. ......aaaah, even though I took the effort to come to school during summer vacation, I can't get one clear view of Kitamura-kun in his club activities. I am extremely unlucky......Hey, why are you ignoring me when I'm feeling down!?"

As Ryuuji crouched down to pick some shiso leaves, the hooligan, also known as Aisaka Taiga, kicked him right down and kicked him again in the middle of the buttocks with the toe of her shoes.

"Ow...... that hurts, you dumbass!"

"You stupid idiot! You impudent dog!"

Whack! And he got slapped in the mouth this time, then Ryuuji's fierce eyes shone as he shouted back at Taiga without backing off one bit.

"Hit me or whatever you want to do, but I, these shiso, you can't stop me from taking them! These mints are FREE! I'm free to take them! Do you understand!?"

"Tch! Waitaminit! Spit! Gross!"

"Shut up! It's free, I'm free to take it. Besides, mint is my favorite! You should be happy to be able to enjoy these in the delicious salad noodles and pickled tuna covered rice every day! Incidentally, I planted the mint! On dry days I'm also the one who waters them, sending the pests to the afterlife was also me! Therefore I have every right to harvest these mints!"

"......"

"Nevermind that! Help me pick them if you understand! Ah... It's good that I remembered, last time I finished picking them all, I wasn't sure how soon they would grow again. So careless, so careless, to almost forget. And I don't usually come here when summer vacation begins...... but then, the shiso plants are strong, look at this lush growth!"

Happily-- totally forgetting the original purpose for coming to school, Ryuuji became preoccupied with the shiso plants. Casually keeping one step apart, he didn't notice Taiga's eyes glaring at him.

Even with the violent (like a wild carnivorous animal) person known as the "Palmtop Tiger" present, concentrating on harvesting shiso mint under the golden sun in the heat of the day, Ryuuji had no thought of running. Instead Ryuuji went "he he", laughing happily, occasionally smelling the fragrance of the crop going "mmm..." while narrowing his eyes and thinking, I wouldn't mind putting some of these shiso into a sachet for my wallet and mobile phone. Whether it was the demonic eyes or the scary features of the face, he looked like a hopeless addict picking some illegal weed that was secretly cultivated in the Hokkaido region, although he was just enjoying the feeling of having a miniature agricultural life with his small personal herb garden.

"Ah, that's right, Taiga!"

"......"

A smug smile and the usual cold silence was all he got. But Ryuuji crawled over to Taiga on his knees from the mint plants without minding,

"In the flower bed over there, I have also planted eggplants and cucumber. Say, don't you want to take a look!? The seedlings grew and flowered before the closing ceremonies! Though I attempted last year, it was tragically caught by the gardening club and removed...... But this year!"

"Don't want to."

"Why? ......Hey, why are you so mean to me? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"You are becoming more and more detestable! I knew I should have come on my own after all."

"Why is that!?"

In the first place, the reason why we came to school in the middle of summer vacation was to get the needed textbook which Taiga left in the locker. Although he wasn't asked particularly, but Ryuuji, who was bored with a lot of free time, decided to accompany her.

As they passed through the school gate, they found the baseball club practicing. Taiga's crush, Kitamura, was there. Since the closing ceremony, Taiga had not seen Kitamura. Kitamura was of course busy with club activities and could be seen from a distance, but Taiga did not want to be spotted spying on him.

And so Ryuuji and Taiga hid down beside the flowerbed at the side of the school building where the flowers grew thick, nestled between the sunflowers which swayed whenever they peeked. However, the huge weeds of the mid-summer was larger than the petite body of Taiga and blocked her view. So he let Taiga sit on his shoulder. For Taiga's sake, he showed her some kindness. And then,

"You said I'm detestable, how am I detestable?!"

"There are lots of reasons, ......such as your face, or your sweaty back. You, your entire shirt is drenched. Ah, that reminds me......"

Taiga puts her hand inside her own skirt, thinking about the close contact between her buttocks and Ryuuji's shoulders earlier. Her eyes widened in shock, her small face twisting with disgust.

"Uh......ugh! My ass is wet with the sweat from your back! eeew! eeew!"

She stuck out her tongue and pretended to throw up. No matter how good-natured Ryuuji was, it still felt insulting.

"Oh, don't you think it's also possible that my back is getting wet from the sweat of your butt as well!?"

"Not a chance!"

Instant denial, cutting off further talks Taiga turns around going, yuck! yuck! and starts to kick at the dirt with her foot like a cat after it uses a toilet. Sweat poured from Ryuuji's skin, leaving spots on the ground.

"Ow! Ow! ......cough! Stop that you idiot! I was even nice enough to carry you on my shoulders!"

"I'm now regretting that! What a disgusting sweaty dog! Go away! Get lost!"

"I will be using these shiso in tonight's tempura for our dinner, how can you say such a thing!? May lightning strike you down!"

"Ha! Lightning strikes can kill the germs! Whatever, I'm going to hurry and get that thing I forgot (textbook in the locker), as for you, you can stay here and bake in the heat!"

Like more lightning strikes hurting Ryuuji's feelings further, Taiga's long hair fluttered as she turned towards the school building and ran off. Ryuuji quietly rubbed his sweat-soaked back, while shaking off the dirt in his hair like a dog, and biting his lip thinking. I knew it, she really is a terrible person.

--That witch, definitely, will have a horrible end.

Brushing her light colored hair with a tinge of gray, Taiga walked the deserted corridor towards the classroom on her own. Her exquisite profile as refined as delicate etched glass made her look like a French doll.

If she didn't open her mouth, rather, if not for "that" personality of hers, everyone would see Taiga as a very beautiful young lady. Her large eyes with light-colored pupils moved relaxedly, looking like a kitten as it opens its mouth, the palmtop tiger let out a lovely yawn. At times when no one is looking, Taiga does have a most captivating face.

However, the calm arch of Taiga's eyebrows suddenly raised steeply. From the other side of the corner, loud footsteps can be heard. It seems to be coming towards this place.

She disliked such a noisy person -- ignoring her own shortcomings, Taiga pouted with irritation at once. At this rate they may collide at the corner.

......Or maybe not.

She did not try to change the route to an empty path nearby, this girl is called "the palmtop tiger" for a reason. Taiga absolutely walks where she wants to walk. Even if the other person is a guy from the sumo club or even if the other person is a teacher, she did not intend to change her way. She is walking properly, the other person is breaking the rules running, there is no reason to give way.

Sticking out her elbow sharply, Taiga lowered her head, and continued to plunge towards the quickly approaching prey. Sure enough, the moment she reached the corner,

"Ow... oh!"

"There it is...... kiyaaaah!"

Crash!

The elbow connected bluntly. The other party was knocked over, screaming loudly and landing on their butt, sitting in the hall due to the force of the momentum. Standing firmly like a rock, before the eyes of the unperturbed Taiga, the schoolgirl's rather short skirt opened and was exposed fully. Both her pure white thighs and the seams of her light blue underpants were 100% exposed.

"......ah ah ah uuunggh~!"

Noticing the embarrassing position, she hurriedly sat down in the hall panicking and cried out again, pulling down on the hem of her skirt. And expressing "ouch" while pressing down her considerable chest that is best seen from the above. But by pressing down too strongly, did she know that it further enhanced the rounded shape to become clearly visible?

For some unknown reason (without any explanation), an even deeper cruelty and malevolence appeared in Taiga's eyes, looking down at this figure.

"......You, pay attention"

"Ah, s.. s... sor......"

Realizing that her panties had been exposed to just another girl, she lifted her eyes in that instant with a tinge of relief. However, with a blink of an eye, she realized that it was "the Palmtop Tiger" that stood arrogantly in front of her.

"......te... te... te..., teno...... eeek!"

Her round cheeks lost all color of blood in that instant.

Between Taiga's eyebrows, furrows looking like sawblades appeared.

Not even apologizing for knocking into me! Instead, acting frightened like a victim. I hate this kind of person the most. Incidentally, I also hate those irresponsibly big breasts. ......without stating any apparent reason.

”......Can't you even say "I'm sorry"? Or is it, in your world, the "te... te... te..., teno..." acts as a form of apology? Eh? What a barbarian!"

"o... o... o... urk!" (TL comment:the girl is trying to say "sorry")

"You're still not apologizing!"

To quickly settle this simple issue. Facing the frightened girl, Taiga ruthlessly stepped forward. Whether the other party is a guy or a girl makes no difference, Taiga's hostility to either was easily aroused. But at this moment, it felt like her foot was stepping on something.

"......?"

The girl who collided had dropped her notebook, and it was under Taiga's foot. She noticed it, and grimaced,

"Aaah...... Kota-kun's notebook...... the only symbol of our love......"

She cried out in despair. Tch, and Taiga clicked her tongue while, with some emphasis, picking it up with her hands, and playing with it in her hand without returning it,

"You're really good at acting as the victim......if having something so important stepped on would make you cry, then you shouldn't have dropped it in the first place......."

Glaring through her glittering and brutal eyes, sizing up the girl from head to toe. Her nasal breath was rough with excitement going "ngggh nggggh", and blood rushed throughout, fueling the serious malicious intent emanating from her body. "or-, or-, sor-", the female freshman cried tearfully, seemingly frozen in that spot.

A cruel smile twisted on the rosy lips of Taiga -- now then, let's see what we can do to this big-breasted girl with audacious panties that are fully exposed.

"What is it, Sakura?"

From the other side of the corridor, a voice echoed coldly.

"Sis-, sister!”

The big breated girl who had her panties exposed stood up and ran away, hiding her body like a rabbit behind the girl who appeared. Taiga recognized that girl,

"......It's here......"

She muttered with very low voice. From her entire small body, the scent of danger from a one ton tiger emanates. All reason seems to disappear from her eyes -- Taiga hates this person the most.

"What have we here? ......Aah, Aisaka Taiga. You are Kitamura's friend, I believe. I,"

"......think."

The girl with waist-length flowing black hair, was cold and spoke rudely like a man, which did not match her good looks. Taiga knew her. It was the president of the student council.

The student council president worked with Kitamura everyday, and often as cleaning volunteers; they walked alongside each other, and Kitamura would smile happily without a word -- Taiga was bitterly jealous of that girl.

"You recognize me? ......Well then, why? Why are you bullying my younger sister? Can you give me a good explanation?"

Calmly, without showing even a trace of fear, with an indulgent smile, the obnoxious student council president asked Taiga.

"......Your younger sister?"

"Ah, this is my younger sister, Kanou Sakura, a freshman. ......Bullying an underclassman girl, as expected of the Palmtop Tiger, aren't we attacking easy prey?"

The big breasted panties girl hid behind the president of the student council, her body trembled going "pu ru pu ru". Taiga pointed at her without hesitation,

"Hey, as the elder sister, you should be ashamed of that exhibitionist. Your younger sister was running in this corridor, and crashed into the blameless me, rather than apologizing to me she spouts some crazy words and crying as if I were the one at fault, and now hides behind you."

"Hey. ......Sakura. Is this true?"

The big breasted panties girl was startled. She grimaced, and then looked up at her elder sister gasping,

"Mo... mo... more or less.... !"

As soon as she nodded, the top of her head was struck! Even Taiga felt a little sympathy seeing that merciless karate chop. With some uncertain steps, her back was pushed down in front of Taiga,

"Now, you've made me look bad! You should properly apologize! How long are you going to hide behind me!"

Having been yelled at with such a resounding voice. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes as she cowered down and looked up hesitantly,

"S.. s.. s-sorry...... I'm very sorry......Aisaka-senpai......"

In front of Taiga she bowed down deeply. "Keh", and Taiga snorted through her nose losing some of her fury, brushing her hair up and decided to forgive her this time, she starts to turn away.

But,

"Uhm... uhm.... no..., notebook...."

"......Huh!?"

At the sound of the soft voice, Taiga turned back again and her eyes filled with murderous intent. Although the big breasted panties girl shivered with fright, she didn't hide behind her elder sister again, even though both her legs were shaking, she desperately reached her hand out.

"Uhm, uhm, the notebook......? Please return it! It's not mine! I... it's from someone important, it's our only connection! I.. I... I'll do anything~!"

However that desperation, struck at Taiga's heart......no, it lit an inherent fire of fury.

"SH... SH.. SHUT UP! Don't blame me! I just forgot about giving this to you! You think I would want something like this!?"

"Not!"

Taking the notebook in her hands, Taiga violently threw the notebook towards the throat of the big breasted panties girl, hitting her back like a butcher.

While trying to catch the notebook the big breasted panties girl fell down on her knees groaning painfully. "Aaaah", hitting her elbow while the student council president looked on, Taiga turned around and started to leave.

But just at that instant, something deliberately jumped right into Taiga's sight.

On the cover of the notebook with the distinct 22.5 cm shoeprint in the hands of the big breasted pants girl, the owner's name was clearly written with a felt-tip pen. ------"1-A Tomiie Kota".

* * *

”Waaah~, today it's somewhat extravagant~! Ryu-chan, how many prawns are there?"

"3 pieces per person"

"Yay~, yay~"

Having completed her makeup except for the lipstick, with a hot curler still attached to her brightly dyed hair, Ryuuji's mother - Yasuko, wearing a pink camisole and Ryuuji's old middle-school jersey (track) pants and her huge breasts swaying wildly.

The innocent child-like face happily holding the chopsticks, looked like a young girl with her makeup, with beautifully painted rosy pink glossy nails, her hair flowing over her smooth collarbone, highlighting her feminine charms with a sweet scent that emitted from Yasuko's skin more suitable for her real age and her evening work.

"Eat the vegetables too, ok? And also the shiso."

"Tempura shiso, I loooo~ve it! Ryu-chan, I loooo~ve you too!"

At the narrow and low dining table, like peeking through a sheer cloth, the colorful vegetables could be seen as well as Ryuuji's wonderful tempura, all lined up. In the miso soup, there is tofu, daikon (radish/turnip), vegetables; the steamed rice mixed with five spices; and today's side dish, pickled eggplants --- grown in secret in the school's gardens. As for the tempura sauce, lemon juice, or grated daikon, or anything to suit the personal taste.

It was half past 6 in the evening in the Takasu family living room. Sitting around the low dining table were Ryuuji, Yasuko, and Taiga, ready to have their usual dinner.

"Bon appetit", they all said together, Yasuko reached over for the prawn, while Ryuuji brought the miso soup to his mouth. Taiga's chopsticks hovered over the prawns, but why was she hesitating?

"Hey, move your chopsticks."

Ryuuji scowled. But Taiga just grimaced, without any retort, and just like that stopped moving.

"......What is it?"

"......What's the matter? Taiga-chan?"

Even though she was being asked by both the mother and the son, Taiga remained seated rigidly. "......", keeping her mouth shut. The usual Taiga would have taken even Ryuuji's share of the main course together when she extended her chopsticks. Yasuko was concerned, and put down her chopsticks,

”I see... I see..., sorry * Ya-chan absolutely looo~ves Taiga-chan~ *"

"Huh"

Swoosh, and Taiga was hugged tightly. She kissed, "tsup tsup tsuuuup". Being buried between those huge breasts Taiga couldn't make a sound, and before long, her small hands pushed painfully with a pitter-patter sound.

"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!"

"Aaaahh......"

At the time she was released, she gasped for air and simultaneously collapsed onto the seat futon (zabuton). After a little while, not wanting Ryuuji and Yasuko to worry about her, she slowly straightened her body.

"......No.., nothing. Actually, I just a little bit......don't really feel like eating anything."

"You don't have any appetite!?"

"That is just so~"

"......Even me, even when I'm slightly ill, I would still have it! ......this, take this. and this too."

Taiga passed a prawn towards Yasuko, another towards Ryuuji, and the other one left, after being dipped in the tempura sauce, she gingerly brought to her own small mouth like trying out the taste.

"Don't force yourself to eat. Are you really okay?"

Taking a bite, Taiga nodded her head while sprinkling salt, adding more. She paused and continued eating it as it was.

"......Don't worry. I can eat this. Delicious."

Also taking in a mouthful of white rice.

"Shouldn't you probably take back the prawn? You should savor it since you're able to eat. You see shrimp on our dining table only once a year~"

"It's ok, after eating the vegetables I'm already good."

After eating one prawn, Taiga's appetite seemed to have improved, as she also drank the miso soup. And so Ryuuji was relieved,

"Shiso can be considered medicine. You should take more."

The platter of mint was turned so that it faced Taiga. Taiga nodded, and took one piece to her mouth immediately. She seemed to like it, and took another piece.

In the end, Taiga also ate the other vegetable tempura, the pickled vegetables, the miso soup, and also some rice (this is a very rare situation, as she normally can easily finish three bowls), for the time being we have finished eating.

Yasuko also felt relieved after seeing that, and headed out to work taking the Chanel bag that she always treasured.

-- Disaster struck several hours later.

"......Ryuuji......I......may be dying......"

Ryuuji turns his head upon hearing this shocking statement, it was already after 10 in the evening.

As usual they were relaxing after eating and having a good time, folding a cushion in half and spreading it, the two of them were carelessly lying flat down on the tatami mat watching television. Neither of them did anything, they begin to fall asleep.

"......I'm dying......"

"Wh......what?"

Noticing Taiga behind Ryuuji, she seemed to have sprawled down awkwardly, somewhat like toppling sideways holding her stomach, her complexion very pale. Although Taiga has always been very fair-skinned, her skin tone now was a tinge of pale beige, she was very pale. Ryuuji hurriedly got up, crawling over causing Taiga's hair to scatter on the tatami with his knees.

"How is it!? Is it a stomach-ache!?"

"I-.. it hurts... a... lot...."

"Do you need to go to the toilet? Can you stand? Are you going to throw up?!"

"Toilet...... I don't think the pain is that bad......"

Wheezing and coughing, she vomited, Taiga softly shivered. Traces of cold sweat form on her damp forehead, it was quite cold.

"Is it your stomach!?"

"I-..., I don't know...... it just hurts..... here."

Around the navel of the dress which has a repeating cotton lace pattern which expands softly, she strokes that area with her small hand. Ryuuji realized clearly, this is quite serious.

"w-, we should go to the hospital!"

Inside the birdcage placed in a corner of the living room, a disfigured parrot called inko-chan also chimed "that's right!" while nodding with the whites of its eyes bulging.

"Oh yes, ambulance......must call the ambulance!"

"I-, i-, isn't that a bit exaggerated....?"

"But you can't walk, right!? Aren't you dying!?"

"Calling an ambulance just for a stomach-ache......don't......I-... I can cope......uuugh~......"

Taiga strained her voice, and twisted her body to try to endure the pain. It can't be helped---Ryuuji quickly opened the phonebook, verifying that the nearby university hospital had night time emergency facilities, dialed the phone while taking his wallet and the health insurance card and putting them in his pocket.

"Oh! use my insurance card!"

The trembling became more apparent. The health insurance card was taken out and inserted into the slanting back pocket, carrying the light body of the weary Taiga who was lying down. Taiga was silent, like a ventriloquist's doll being carried in the arms of Ryuuji, her face pressed against his shoulders,

"......nngh......nnggh......"

While enduring the pain she moaned softly.

Impatiently locking the door with the housekey, Ryuuji rushed out from the front door even though he was only wearing his sandals. Making loud "kang kang" noise that rang on the iron stairs as he ran down, carrying Taiga to the main street to catch a taxi,

"Sorry, there's someone sick here! Would you mind letting us go ahead!?"

Jumping out in front of an older office worker who had just stopped a taxi, he pleaded. Under the light that shone on Ryuuji's evil-looking sanpaku eyes, the older man felt threatened, and dropped his bag out of instinctive fear, and took one step back,

"Thank you very much!"

Ryuuji interpreted that as a "Yes", and slides in the open taxi door. Informing the name of the university hospital and screaming, "Hurry, this person is sick!" to the driver, who adjusted the rearview mirror and nodded many times. Understanding the circumstance, he realized it was not a car-jacking.

"Taiga, hang in there! We're almost there!"

Taiga could not even sit properly, but instead could only lie prone on Ryuuji's lap, even now trembling due to the pain.

So pitiful -- no matter how she verbally abused him, or the violent treatment he received, they were kindred who ate meals out of the same pot. Taiga was really a girl after all. Ryuuji could see that she was patiently enduring the pain, trying not to cry out loud. And so he brushed her long hair gently that has become disheveled.

Just what on earth is going on? Is it food poisoning, appendicitis, or is it some other worse disease?

"......dead......"

"id-, idiot! Stop saying you're dead or dying! Saying such words will only make things worse!"

"......You're wrong......It's not me....That fellow......"

Maybe he is dead.

While lying on Ryuuji's knee, Taiga was babbling incoherently. Maybe it was playing dead, that fellow, that black tomcat, or maybe it really is dead. Then perhaps, this is its curse.

"Wh~.., what? What do you mean?"

"......Uhm, female freshman......final memento, those words......that thing......after death, that relic, that maybe....oh"

"That freshman's, uhm......are you talking about the incident this morning?"

It was when Ryuuji was in the middle of harvesting the shiso and eggplants when Taiga encountered that incident in the school building with the freshman girl. Ryuuji heard about it while they were on their way home.

"I..... stepped on it at that time, that notebook......because it was too ominous, I didn't say a word......that-, that thing, was......[Tomiie Kota's] property......"

Can it be? Ryuuji instinctively stares around the ear of Taiga who's facing down. He knew Tomiie Kota. He is a close junior of Kitamura, a freshman in the student council, and is Taiga's so-called "black tomcat" -- they say misfortune will follow when a black cat crosses one's path. In Taiga's case, it was Tomiie Kota in particular, who is the black cat that brought about this misfortune. Every time Tomiie Kota appears before Taiga, some unbelievable misfortune seems to happen to Taiga.

Her lunch sandwich would be trampled. The canned coffee would fly out of the machine and slam into her head. When cutting the tail of a fried horse mackerel, it gets stuck onto her forehead, this can also be attributed to him; when she was walking from school, she would get hit by a dropped eraser; sometimes soya milk would be sprayed onto her face -- it's because he is Kitamura's junior, and simply for this one reason that he is able to still survive, if not because of this, Taiga would have already personally delivered that insolent underclassman to hell.

Ryuuji also knew about this very well. Those encounters with Taiga were probably also miserable and unfortunate occurrences for him. But then,

"The-, the-, therefore, why the hell did this curse......"

"He's dead......that fellow, is dead......soul in that notebook......I, stepped on that......?"

Taiga's body continued shivering weakly. Her fingers grasping Ryuuji's kneecaps through the trousers felt icy-cold,

"......It keeps following......that fellow's, bad luck, through his spirit.....ugh......"

Taiga continued to moan, the sound of her suffering echoing in the silent taxi.

* * *

"For nighttime emergency medical diagnosis and treatment, it can be troublesome unless you telephone first, don't you think?"

......At last, we're here. While Ryuuji was carrying the trembling Taiga to the reception counter, she murmured for the first time:

"Th~, that being said......I'm sorry. And so..., uhm..., can we get this medical examination started?"

"What was that?"

The woman in a business attire with the strange thick makeup was a bit unnerved in front of Ryuuji's scary face, carrying Taiga carefully and looking up. Taiga seemed to be already at death's door, and could not respond to the situation,

"It seems to be a stomachache. She was already feeling ill before the meal, and it seems to have become very bad a few minutes after eating!"

"What did she eat-?"

"Tempura!"

"......Tempura!?"

Ha!

And, I heard a snort that sounded like a nasal laugh -- hopefully it was just my imagination. The woman tossed a sheet of paper forward from the counter,

"Here, please fill this-"

And even after being told that, his arm didn't move, but remained holding onto Taiga. Ryuuji cut the woman off and carefully laid Taiga down on the sofa of the lobby. Even though Taiga's eyes were closed, she doesn't lose consciousness, gritting her teeth to endure the pain with an expression of anguish. The fluorescent light were turned off; only small electric lamps dimly illuminated the spacious lobby. There were no sign of any other patients, and voices echoed strangely.

"Pl-, pl-, please lend me a pen."

After a cold glare, a pen was rolled across the counter with the "cara cara" sound echoing.

In any case; name and address (the house number of the building next to Ryuuji's home should be correct, right?), symptom, I scribbled it hurriedly,

"Er-, uh, is the insurance card good by tomorrow?"

"Please wait over there on the sofa-"

His question wasn't answered either, and the paper wasn't looked at also, the woman just casually tossed it into an unknown box at the side. What kind of treatment is this? He wanted to ask, but it seemed better to just obey that woman's instructions and wait. Ryuuji went back to Taiga who moaned, and sat down beside her, but somehow, had an inexplicable idea.

This place, it's no different from the jungle.

......Isn't it? Should he take her to another place before it's too late? That woman at the reception counter is certainly not a doctor or a nurse, but her symptoms are very dire, it's probably better to find out her condition now. Glancing quietly at the suffering Taiga, however, luck seemed to change in that moment of hesitation.

"Aisaka-san, please!"

A voice called from the examination room, and soon that woman approached us pushing a wheelchair with a clattering sound.

"Please ride in this-"

Taiga opened her eyes slightly, and reflexively twisted her body and tried to escape as if sensing something foreboding, the woman quickly reached across and with Ryuuji's help, grasped the child and placed her onto the wheelchair. The woman than pushed the wheelchair efficiently into the examination room. Ryuuji hastily pursued after them.

This is the patient-, the woman announced immediately, and the open door of the examination room started closing automatically.

Gaaa! Just as the doors were closing, he grabbed onto Taiga's leg and faltered. Ignoring both the wheezing Ryuuji and the silent Taiga, the woman calmly opened the door,

"Please, go in!"

Without warning, she pushed the wheelchair in and lets it go,

"Aiyee!"

Taiga's careening wheelchair was caught with the foot of a slipper by a young man in a white coat -- why is his head shaven, this doctor. He examined Taiga's leg while smiling amiably,

"What seems to be the problem-? ah, this leg? Is it painful, if that's the case I can surely heal it quickly."

"That was caused by banging on that door just now! It's stomachache!"

If Ryuuji didn't immediately say something, the doctor would probably only examine the leg and send them home afterwards. Ah, abdominal pain? How much? And the doctor put on the stethoscope to listen to the stomach of Taiga.

But Taiga's bulky cotton lace clothes had too many frills, piled up to the point of death (also known as Furi Furi one-piece virtue). Seeing this, the doctor shook his head, as if he could not understand where to open it.

"Hah! I give up. Lie down on the examination table for a while-, put your head here-, yes, yes, that's it"

The wheelchair's brakes weren't engaged. Taiga trembled as she endured the pain struggling while slowly transferring to the examination table. The doctor only read the medical chart without noticing anything else. Ryuuji being flustered, tried to lend a hand to Taiga, but,

"Ah, are you with her? her relative-?"

"Eh? uhm... no, a friend......"

Suddenly being asked by that doctor, Ryuuji turned his head around, in that instant, Taiga fell off the swiveling wheelchair that slipped. And she hit the hard floor with a dull thumping sound.

"Oh! Ta-, Taiga!"

"......uh......"

Clinging onto the wobbling consultation seat, Taiga stands up with a dazed look, quietly rubbing her forehead. The doctor then joked,

"Aha ha ha ha ha~, what are you doing!? Is that where it hurts~!? What's the~"

The doctor seem to jokingly place the stethoscope on the forehead, until he noticed the evil eyes of Ryuuji who stared in utter amazement at this unbelievable scene.

"......You-, your face, isn't it scary~! Can you go away for a little while so as not to distract me!? It's really scaring me~!"

"Eh......bu~, but......"

"It's ok, it's ok! Just wait over there!"

He was chased off up to the doorway of the examination room and almost totally pushed out. The curtain is closed, the view of Taiga passed out of sight. But how can he leave that seemingly useless doctor and Taiga alone together? He regretfully chews on his fingernails,

"......"

"......"

Looking around, an elementary schoolboy was sitting in the corner of the examination room. He had asthmatic spasm but still raised and opens his mouth widely to inhale some steam, arms crossed with a "Nobody else is allowed to fiddle with this" posture while tightly hugging the machine. His eyes were glazed over like dead fish slowly losing freshness -- perhaps, it's not only due to the illness that he is fatigued.

It was absolutely a mistake to have come here, realizing this now.

"Aaargh!"

Taiga's tearful voice echoed. Just like the scream of a bear caught in a trap.

"It's alright, it's alright, I'm just drawing a little blood! Ah, failed again. ......tch! What the shit!. ......this time for sure......still nothing, tch! Can't find the vein, wait a minute,"

"Aaaah, aaahh, aaaaaaahhh~!"

"I'm just looking for the vein......tch! No, this is no good! Switching to the other arm, this is also useless, tch! tch! shit!"

The sounds echoing in the consultation room were scarier than anything in the world. As the terrifying voice of Taiga came to a halt, Ryuuji was left standing petrified. The tongue-click noise continues, making him want to cover his ears, but the fact was he brought Taiga here himself. He could not avert his eyes from that scary responsibility...... Well, let's stop this already, I have to tell him to stop this. And then I have to get her out of here and go to another place.

With that determination he opens the curtain,

"Ha! I got it... I got it! With this it shouldn't hurt so much anymore, once we can examine the blood we should be able to determine if there was infection inside the stomach, you can rest assured from this blood check-!"

The syringe was full of Taiga's somewhat strange looking dark colored blood. The doctor smiled proudly after such a difficult ordeal,

"There, just wait a little bit! Here, take this as an apology for the pain caused!"

He took out a candy from the pocket of his white coat, unwrapping it and dropping it in the mouth of Taiga which remained half-open without moving. Taiga grabbed Ryuuji's hand suddenly, and coughed out the candy. The candy rolled a bit in Ryuuji's hand before becoming stuck. ......That's understandable, but, on the other hand, Ryuuji was feeling troubled. If a person comes to the hospital with a painful stomach, why would you give them candy??

After all this, we were told we had to go back to the sofa of the waiting room again for another 20 minutes. Taiga plopped herself down and occasionally groaned, and continued to shiver slightly and rubbed circles on her stomach desperately. The inner side of her left arm was quickly bruising. Absorbent cotton was taped to the inner side of her right arm, a seemingly impossible amount of blood seeping into it. Her eyes glazed over lifelessly, and her complexion became terribly pasty.

"......Taiga. Hey......"

"......"

There was no response. Her voice doesn't come out anymore either. Her lips were parched dry and cracked, but maybe because she also bit on them to endure the pain, that's why it is bleeding a bit. The truth was, she surely looked worse now then before coming to this place.

It can't be helped, but the cause of the stomach pain must be discovered, and it must be treated,

"Uhm, ahem~, I'm not really sure!"

From behind, incoherent voices conversed idly.

With a sinking feeling, Ryuuji looks back at that doctor standing behind him. In his hand was an intravenous bag that he was going to hang onto a metal support .

"That blood we drew just now, it won't be able to help us determine the cause of the stomachache!"

"Wo~, wo~, won't be able......"

"But it will help us to determine that there is no inflammation of the appendix. On the other hand, this may be something that we can't just treat at an emergency ward!"

Huh! Feeling dismayed at this time in the face of the smiling doctor, while discreetly keeping Taiga behind him, Ryuuji desperately questioned the doctor.

"If it's not intestinal, then, could it be some women's issue, for example gynecological problems......"

"If that's the case, that would not be considered a health emergency, unfortunately! If you really want to know what is wrong, please come back during regular hours to consult a general practitioner. Oh yes, as this is a university hospital, there is no referral, so it can be quite expensive!"

"So~, somehow could it be catarrh or...... those things are......"

"That-is-why~, she did not have diarrhea, right!? Nor did she she throw up, right!? Even though you have come to the emergency room, we were still unable to treat it! There is no bleeding in her stomach, and there is no symptom that warrants treatment at an emergency ward! Is it is food poisoning, there doesn't seem to be any such acute symptoms! Neither is it constipation! And it doesn't seem to be gas! Anyway, the only thing noticeable is that she is in pain but cannot elaborate what is the pain, so...this!"

And why do you seem to be so happy, or is it merely the night shifts causing you to have high emotional tension, the doctor just pointed at the intravenous drip. Picking up the readied tube, and as soon as the cap of the needle was removed,

"This is pain-killer! Ah, this is good, a needle was left in a while ago just in case something like this might happen. This child, her blood vessels are quite difficult to find~"

The cotton on the inner right arm of Taiga was peeled off. Blood was gradually seeping out......the needle on the rubber-like mouth still remained stuck. Eehhh......but Ryuuji took a few steps back, unable to do anything. The doctor worked in front of Ryuuji, with great skill and dexterity, adjusted the rate of the intravenous drip,

"When the drip runs out, call me!"

"......He~, here, leave the IV drip here......? This, in the lobby?"

"There will probably be other patients, therefore we must keep the examination room free. Because sometimes serious injuries do arrive"

"......That sounds terrible......"

"Like ruptured intestine."

Not really caring about stories about injuries to internal organs, and nonchalantly divulging such findings, the doctor finished by turning back to the examination room. This university hospital certainly has a reputation as a very advanced lifesaving institution; it is one of Japan's leading hospitals. It's only logical that such serious cases would be sent here.

However, I do get it, and Ryuuji incidentally also came to an unusual understanding. An excellent doctor will surely be assigned to more urgent lifesaving situations, this young doctor with seemingly less skills might have been left behind here. Oh my, although this is just the imaginings of a selfish layman, judging by the suitability of that unnecessary examination~

"Taiga!?"

Looking over suddenly, Ryuuji shouted shrilly. Rashes were appearing all over the entire body of Taiga to which the painkiller was administered, especially from the inner arm where the needle of the IV drip is stuck. The hives could be seen spreading quickly, connecting together forming large masses of rashes,

"Oh, oh, OH......EMERGENCY! TAIGA! someone help!"

"......oou~, aaaargh......"

"Someone please come and help!"

Mouth gaping wide and wailing beside Ryuuji, Taiga noticed the IV drip needle inserted in her arm for the first time.

"Wh~, what~......can't breathe.....whew~! This......wha~......ooow......whew~!"

"Taiga, hang in there! This is the drug to stop the pain!"

"......Tch, stop... pain..., drug......I......"

"Wheeze wheeze" sounded like from a high-pitched whistle was emanating from the throat of Taiga. Her body was twisted in pain. Her airway narrowed. The doctor and several nurses hurried over, looking at Taiga's face, and at that instant "bong!" and the eyelid can be seen swelling up,

"Oh, this is bad"

"I am allergic to pain-killers..."

--These few words squeaked out with great difficulty on Taiga's scant breath. Well then, is this an allergic reaction? Doctor, why didn't you first inquire about allergies? And, why was the intravenous drip administered without obtaining the patient's consent?

But Ryuuji did not know yet. Of course Taiga did not know either. Neither did the nurses nor the doctor know. Already on the floor above, on this hospital's second floor, a new misery......no, the curse of the black cat had already begun to carve its way to bring more terror for Taiga.

Second floor, at the public telephone at the nurse's station.

A high school freshman who is hospitalized with bone fractures in many places all over his body, grasping several 10 yen coins in his hand, paces back and forth unceasingly in front of the nurse's station since a little while ago.

What is it, Tomiie-kun? Want to telephone your girlfriend? Don't have a telephone card?

What is it? What is it? You do have a girlfriend!?

Eh? What kind of person is she? Girlie gal? Clean and innocent? Come on, come on, unless you call her quickly the grandma of ward 402 will be on the phone again for a long time.

We won't listen in, we're not listening in! See, we are not straining up our ears to eavesdrop.

Go ahead, go ahead, everyone encouraged~!

He was extremely hesitant and awkward but in the end, he only called home after all, and asked for some change of pants, and quickly left the nurses' station afterwards. He was not yet mature enough to be able to call the girl he likes in front of those working elder sisters.

At that time, the remaining 10 yen coin that he tightly clasped was accidentally dropped. The coin went "clink clank" as it bounded and rolled down the stairs, it was impossible to pick up as it rolled down and ended on the first floor before you could say "ah". Although it was only a 10 yen coin, money is still money, so he ran after it in a hurry, running all the way down to the lobby on the first floor. The rolling coin made a "korokoro" sound was still being chased, began to roll on to a deserted corridor.

As she was placed on the stretcher, Taiga was already quickly losing consciousness. She knew that she was having a lengthy bout of severe allergy. The mucous membrane of her eyes, inside of her mouth and trachea swelled up more and more, and became hot and itchy, and caused her to shiver. The abdominal pain became more severe, and a dark fog seemed to start to drift in front of her vision gradually.

Shouldn't Ryuuji be by her side? Desperately twisting her neck, and so Taiga saw that thing.

The moving stretcher was heading towards a T-shaped corridor.

From the left side onto the right, whoa, and it ran right through.

A death flag -- these words came to Taiga's mind. Because of that fellow, that fellow probably resembles that black tomcat who should already be dead.

"Wha~!?"

The first to cry out was a nurse. "kachink", and suddenly something small and hard got caught in between one of the wheels of the speeding stretcher. The wheel on one side of the stretcher stopped causing the stretcher to spin 180 degrees on its axle, sandwiching the nurse onto the wall, while the doctor's foot was run over by the stretcher that kept going forward due the inclined floor, causing him to stumble. Then Ryuuji also stumbled into that mass of people and hits his jaw on the floor, and then Taiga, who was suffering from severe allergic reaction and stomachache, flew through the air at great force -- the sudden stop of the stretcher threw her violently onto the wall causing her to bounce off it, and then she landed butt-first in the middle of the potted plants.

The last thing that Taiga saw was the overturned stretcher and, crushed underneath it, a mass of people like dumplings.

For a minute after all that, no one made a sound, it was just a catastrophe. After all, for a 10 yen coin to cause such a disaster, it's something that's unimaginable.

* * *

Eventually, an appropriate dosage of medication was given that treated Taiga's allergy before the day ended, and after calming down, her stomachache also decreased. Taking a taxi home, Ryuuji also sent Taiga up to the entrance of her home, and by the time Ryuuji also fell asleep, it is morning.

"This is not right~!"

In Taiga's apartment, it was unusual to find Ryuuji and Yasuko there. It was different here from the Takasu residence, the dazzling morning sunlight streamed into the room, Yasuko's carefree voice echoed in the room.

Ryuuji had mailed (SMSed) details about last night's events, and Yasuko didn't drink much, and instead had come home earlier. Guessing that it was almost time for Taiga to wake up, the two of them came to visit her together.

"......Because yesterday I didn't come up here, I didn't notice......"

"Taiga-chan, you must restrain yourself a little~"

Taiga, dressed in pajamas, looked embarrassed and stared at the Takasus quietly from the doorway of the bedroom while chewing on her sleeve (making soft gajigaji sounds) and fidgeting her bare feet on top of the rug.

In the large living room of Taiga's apartment, the marks of Taiga's horrible lifestyle were in evidence all around. First of all, two empty ice cream cups were left on the tea table. And also left inside were cheap popsicle sticks among the garbage. An empty potato chip bag was left on the stylish corner counter where the extravagant 42-inch television was placed, and a pudding cup was left on the kitchen island. Also a yogurt cup. The remains of the rare cheesecake from the specialty store were audaciously left on top of the sofa.

"......Are these... from yesterday... by yourself? Kushieda didn't come to visit?"

Yup, and Taiga nodded.

"After coming back from school? Before dinner?"

Yup, and Taiga again kept nodding.

They also found a milk tea PET bottle that rolled across the rug surprising Yasuko who was dressed in a jersey. She then lightly rapped Taiga on the head.

"You ate too much, no matter how one puts it, this is~. Taiga-chan! It's not good like this!"

"......I'm sorry......"

Obligingly, Taiga hung her head in shame. Her cheeks still had traces of the rash. Recalling the events of last night, Ryuuji couldn't bring himself to get angry with her now, but still was disgusted and began cleaning up the garbage.

"So, how's your stomach?"

"......After a night's sleep, it seems to be okay now......Now I'm hungry......"

That's it.

However Yasuko just laughed wryly, "Already? I guess it can't be helped though~☆ but, I'm glad you're well now", while rubbing Taiga's cheek gently with her own cheek. With Taiga now safe, her heart was relieved and delighted. And she continued to rub Taiga's cheek with her own bare cheek (without makeup).

"That's right, after we've cleaned this place up, we'll take your insurance card and go back to the hospital, then we can all go for breakfast~! McDonald's breakfast? Sudoba breakfast? Ya-chan just got paid so I can treat you to whatever you want~!"

"Hooray! Sudoba breakfast! Morning caramel toast!"

Taiga almost lept up in agreement, undoing her braided long hair that was tied up for sleeping as she went back into her room and closed the door, immediately changing her clothes the minute she went inside.

Ryuuji lightly glared at Yasuko in reaction,

"......Aren't you pampering her too much?"

After hearing this, Yasuko also rubbed Ryuuji's cheeks with her own cheek, just like what she did to Taiga a while ago. Realizing how much of a "mother complex" this seems, but this action......so Ryuuji gently pulled away, and Yasuko's eyes narrowed as she laughed.

"Ryu-chan, you did great~! Taking Taiga to the hospital properly, and bringing her back properly......yup, properly keeping the house, you're quite capable~! That's great! That's great! You're quite the man!"

"......"

Now what!?

While thinking.

While tossing the trash into the garbage bag, he hung his head down, slightly embarrassed. Inside Taiga's bedroom, she had almost completely taken off her pajama's trousers, BANG, a heavy thud, "OUCH!" came the awkward voice. What is it?, he calls in, do not come in you horny dog! among other things.

She seems to be back to normal at the very least, I guess.

By the way, the amount of money that Taiga paid to the hospital, including the various examination and lab fees, in the end came up to an enormous sum. So much so that the Takasu family of Ryuuji and Yasuko, and even the ostensibly rich Taiga, wordlessly expressed surprise to the accounts section woman with a frown and glare.

Looking back towards the imposing university hospital on the way back home, though it might be because of the tragic experiences they have had that they looked at it through unpleasant eyes, for some reason there was a threatening aura like it was about to release some turbulence about it. For example, even though the weather today is fine, it is the kind of midsummer's day with a deep blue sky and sunshine that grills the eyes, yet why is it that there is a dark cloud visibly hanging just directly above that hospital?

Shouldn't a hospital ward not even have a death god? As Taiga muttered with disgust, she made a new determination that she would never be coming back a second time.

Passing the supposed dead black tomcat, surprising Taiga to the extent that she spews the milk she was drinking, the heat of summer hasn't cooled down yet but it was the beginning of a new school term.

The End.

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