| This article contains HEAVY spoilers. Please view at your own risk.
If one were looking for the center of the ‘stand out group’ amongst the girls of class 2-C,
“Ami-chan, I saw the magazine that came out yesterday~!”
That would be Kihara Maya, the girl whose choice to dye her long straight hair over the break was met with fawning admiration from the girls but concealed disapproval from the boys. Then,
“It said that you’re putting your modeling on hold for a while, but is that really true?”
She had a small and oddly voluptuous beauty mark near her mouth, and she and Kashii Nanako were a pair of good friends. When the pair of girls who were flashier together as a set started talking with Ami, some more girls gathered around as if being summoned.
“Maya-chan, so you took the time to see this month’s issue! Thanks~! That’s right, I was able to arrange for some time off work.”
Having ascended to the top of the ‘stand out group’, Ami was dispensing a simply dazzling smile, and the surrounding girls were all abuzz, basically saying ‘That’s such a waste~!’.
A few guys whose eyes were unintentionally drawn to the scene,
“Somehow, it feels like the girls in our class have gotten cuter overall…Really, when it comes to girls, forget the underclassmen, the girls in our class are the best, aren’t they?”
“That’s right, once you get to know one another properly, you can start building a relationship. It’s the simplest way. Ah~, when I joined this class in April and was wondering just how Takasu and the Palmtop Tiger got together, I got really depressed, but now that I think about it, isn’t that the greatest luck…There’s still Maya, and even Nanako, and then best of all, there’s Ami…If you just look at her face, the Palmtop Tiger is super cute, but…they’re all really cute.”
Ryūji was stuck between the black-rimmed glasses wearing Hisamitsu Noto and the superficial long-haired Kouji Haruta who were both smiling happily. Pretending not to hear them and narrowing his eyes, Ryūji was in the middle of reattaching the button that had fallen off from his cuff using a sewing kit. It’s good that they were able to think like that---While that’s what he was thinking, he was a pacifist who wouldn’t actually say it out loud. In any case, Noto and Haruta had told him about yesterday’s meeting with the freshman girls and how, after the pair treated the girls to McDonald’s and karaoke, it had ended horribly with the girls just saying ‘Thank you’ and not even giving out their email addresses.
“Ah, it’s Maruo. Hey, hey, as Ami’s childhood friend, don’t you think it’s a waste too? About how she’s taking a break from modeling, I mean.”
Being flagged down by Maya, Kitamura, who was fondly called ‘Maruo’ amongst the girls, readjusted his glasses and turned to face them.
“Isn’t it fine? As long as that’s what Ami has frankly decided. She can still go back to modeling once she’s graduated from high school.”
“Eh~! She’s so cute like this, it really feels like a waste! Maruo, you act too business-like to Ami-chan! Don’t say things like ‘frankly’!”
‘That’s right, that’s right’, their shrill voices besieged Kitamura from all sides, but there was an apparent tone of laughter that lacked any actual anger or scorn. According to the girls, Kitamura was absolutely “everyone’s adorable prized possession”.
“…What an inconspicuously popular guy…I wonder if I should wear glasses, too…”
At Haruta’s mutterings, the unpopular glasses-wearing Noto put on a complicated expression.
However, Kitamura just shrugged his shoulders, going ‘yeah, yeah’ with a bitter smile before he escaped from the group of exceptionally cute girls while acting perplexed.
“Oh, everyone’s here.”
With a face that made it seem as if he was being rescued, Kitamura came to a halt next to Ryūji and the others.
“Damnit, go back, get out of here! You aristocrat! This here is a crab-canning boat, it’s not a place for someone like you!”
“Ha, nice one. Aim for the world.” (!)
Brushing aside Haruta’s harsh words with a laughing smile, Kitamura took a seat facing Ryūji. If the group around Ami was like the sunlight, then the group of four boys was just like the shade.
“But, it’s not like it’s a real waste you know.”
The flashy Ami spoke in remarkably cheery voice that resounded throughout the classroom at break time.
“I’ve been wanting to enjoy a normal high school life like this. So this is fine. I’m even able to make lots of friends like this. You know, I’m really the happiest right now. That’s because everyone is here!”
How is she so good like this~! Ami-chan is just too good!---The girls’ excited voices were practically sighs of admiration. Ryūji instinctively glanced over at the side of Kitamura’s face. Even while he and Haruta were continuing to joke around, for just an instant it looked like Kitamura gave an almost imperceptibly small sigh.
“Is that how it is, yeah I guess that makes sense. I guess since models are busy and have to even go on diets and do other troublesome things, an ordinary high school girl wouldn’t be able to pull it off at all, right.”
Nanako was nodding, and Maya also chimed in with a ‘yeah, that’s right!’ as she opened her already large eyes even wider.
“That’s something I’ve been wanting to ask. Ami-chan, you’re really slender. You must have some sort of diet, don’t you? Is there a super specialized diet exclusively designed for models? Come on, tell us~, please tell us!”
“Yeah, I want to hear it!”
“Eh? Ami-chan’s diet? I want to know too~!”
When the discussion turned to dieting, the group surrounding Ami became all the more excited. However, Ami at first mumbled ‘Aw come on’, then gave a small laugh and started speaking.
“I don’t really diet or anything, so I don’t know about that. It seems like I’m naturally predisposed to not getting fat. I eat whatever I want, but as long as I eat healthily, it seems like I’m fine. I really love eating things like pastries, so I think it’s actually better for my body if I don’t restrain myself or anything.”
She spoke with a smile.
But ever so slightly, the corners of her mouth might have twisted mockingly.
One of them muttered quietly.
“…Is that so.”
“…I don’t get it.”
---Ami probably noticed it. That the atmosphere of admiration around her had suddenly dropped in temperature by about three degrees.
That Maya, who had been pushing herself every day for half a year to struggle and persevere with her afternoon diet of only salad and Oolong tea, was wearing a frozen expression.
And that Nanako, who just yesterday had been desperately walking off calories and had even turned down her father’s gift of sushi, looked as if her eyelids were twitching.
Even if she reapplied her good-girl façade, she had for some reason ended up allowing a glimpse of her true personality to rise to the surface.---It was obvious that in that instant the girls’ eyes had turned cold, so much so that even someone like Ryūji took notice.
Bang, the sound of someone standing up and knocking back her chair, the roaring voice filled with anger made the chilled atmosphere tremble.
The vein in her temple had risen in the shape of a cross and her two fists were practically audible with a crackling sound as she walked towards the front of the otherwise silent classroom.
Her name was Kushieda Minori…an energetic girl who, unsatisfied with just her club activities, decided on longer paths both between school and home and on the way to her part-time jobs, and she always traversed them at a fast pace.
“No matter how it looks, I’m a warrior of dieting, you know…”
‘That’s got to be a lie’ Ryūji thought with his head tilted. Just last month she supposedly ate a bucket of pudding by herself…however, it seemed like she was being serious.
“…Taiga. You’re here aren’t you?”
The wild beast who was associated with her as a steadfast friend, Taiga Aisaka made her way forward. This girl at least, there is just no way she is even close to being on a diet, Ryūji thought, but if it was for her friend, Taiga was the type of girl who would help out no matter what. Even if she had gone and eaten two servings of tonkatsu.
“Let’s go Taiga!”
“Hey, Minorin! Really?”
“Okay Taiga! Really!
The two suddenly outstretched their arms widely, and with a sidestep, started nimbly grappling sumo-style within the ring of girls,
“Eh?! Wait, wh, what?!"
They moved over to Ami, who was sitting in the center. The other girls were going ‘kya, kya’ and fled the area looking oddly indifferent to the situation, leaving nothing to protect Ami. In perfect harmony, Taiga and Minori quickly chased down Ami, who stood up in a vain attempt to escape the linked pair that started spinning around her to prevent her from getting away.
“What the heck you guys!”
“Fuhahaha! Can you break free from our guard, young lady?!”
“Excuse me for being such a shortie! Excuse my weird name!”
“Y, your name?! What are you talking about?!”
When he could see her face, Ami’s expression was of confusion and bewilderment, but she didn’t seem like she was going to act against the two’s unbreakable guard as she just cowered nervously.
Was it okay to not help her? Ryūji checked Kitamura’s face, but just muttering ‘Ara~’ like an old lady, Kitamura made no attempt to stand up.
“This is a case of bullying!”
“The Palmtop Tiger and Kushieda, they’re bullying Ami-tan!”
People might have noticed, but no one could do anything about it.
Minori twisted her lips charmingly into a huge grin. At Ami’s back, Taiga grasped and locked up her thin limbs. Then,
“Hey, wait you guys, wh…Ya! Kya~---!”
Ami’s shriek resounded. Minori had sprung forward like a striking snake and grabbed firmly with both hands onto Ami’s abdomen, which was covered by her blazer.
“…Ho…This is, this is…”
When she saw her grin, Ami’s expression stiffened in dismay. Then Minori slowly licked her lips once,
“Teacher---! Kawashima-san, she’s been hiding flab in her gut!
She turned into a devil. Rubbing the excess flesh she was gripping,
“Hey hey hey hey! It’s customary on trips to bring three hundred yen worth of meat at most! Is this three hundred yen worth of excess flab?! Eh?! This flab isn’t from eating bananas!” (!)
“S, s, st, stop it, stop, nooo~!”
Minori was violently moving both her hands that were thrust under Ami’s uniform back and forth. The boys were blushing as their questionable imaginations were being stimulated.
“Ohhh, you’ve been gathering up quite a bit, haven’t you?! Hmm?!”
“N, noooo, stop it----!”
“What’s with that ‘predisposed’ nonsense! Just what’s this then?! Hm?! What’s this right here?! Eh?!”
“Nooo, cut it out, kyaaa!”
“Ahahaha! This here is for meatbuns! Ahahahaha! And this is for Haagen Dazs! Take this, ‘divine fist of convenience stores~shining Family Market version’! High~ calories!”
“I said~ stop that…Nyaa---!”
Minori’s fists seemed to leave a golden trail, and in the end she stretched out from Ami’s stomach a bit of quivering flesh, which was certainly present but very minor.
Ami’s screams lasted for quite a while, but eventually they dissipated into empty space and vanished.
…A silence took over with everyone left breathless.
Eventually, Taiga released Ami from her restraining hold. Completely sapped of any strength, the fool fell to her knees without saying anything.
Holding her clenched hands to her heart, Minori looked towards the heavens.
“…Scattered like stardust, I dedicate this to the tears of dieting warriors…!”
“U~, u~, u~…!”
Released at last, Ami was clutching at her disheveled clothing with both hands while still pitifully kneeling on the floor. She sadly sat on the ground in a position hiding her small face flushed full red, and seemed to be crying and trembling, making low sobbing sounds.
Looking down at her condition, Minori smiled whole-heartedly in satisfaction.
“…Taiga. Your tattling is always so accurate.”
Similarly looking down on Ami, Taiga’s lips were also parted in a wide happy smile.
“No no, it was all Minorin. You did such a good job.”
And then, slowly making her way over to stand right above Ami, Taiga’s eyes glistened with a heartfelt happiness. Her face was rosy with pleasure, and her protruding lips were deep red like an animal that had gorged on blood.
“Kawashima-san. I’ll introduce you, this here is my best friend, Minorin. So now you know for sure that I have friends other than Ryūji.”
“4649!” (Note: 4=yo/shii, 6=ro, 9=ku, 4649="yoroshiku" which means something like "Nice to met you")
Raising her hand, Minori laughed. Then, standing next to her, Taiga pointed straight at Ami,
“This is---You covert glutton! You, you eat too much!”
She said it plain as day, just like that. Ami’s shoulders sagged as if she had no willpower left at all. Minori and Taiga were standing shoulder to shoulder going ‘Hahahaha!’. Laughing boisterously, they high-fived. ‘You’re the best’, ‘No, you’re the best’…These two devils started to walk off as they occasionally looked at one another and whispered. Then, taking a final look back,
“…Hey, plan on running a marathon? A black jersey would definitely suit you.”
At Taiga’s final parting shot, Ami suddenly looked up. It probably occurred to her that she had been spotted shopping at the convenience store. She wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes with her thumb,
“I’ll show you running a marathon or whatever! Running around and around and around, you damned midg…”
“Ami-chan, you okay~?”
A short squeak, Ami started biting her lip to hold back a wail. Sm…ile, she tried mending her appearance.
“I, I’m fine…”
She tried to smile at the girls who were lending support. It was a habit for someone skilled at controlling her impression.
“That was so wrong! Ami-chan isn’t fat at all~!”
“Ah, that was horrible, those two are so violent~!”
The girls voiced words that at least seemed kind, but everyone seemed to be laughing somewhat happily as well. Similarly trying to laugh as she stood up, it seemed Ami was gritting her teeth as if trying to endure the humiliation. The mask of the smiling angel, as to be expected, seemed to have been shattered and was beginning to disappear.
“…You guys are demons.”
He was certainly happy from the bottom of his heart that he could see Minori's refreshing face, but even so, Ryūji couldn’t keep himself from muttering. Ami might have in fact been ‘rescued’, but he still wondered if this was okay…No matter what might have happened, it still felt like they went overboard. Ami had just become so pitiful. However,
For some reason, looking as though he had figured something out on his own, Kitamura was nodding lightly.
“If you act that way, then Ami will become like that.”
Ryūji was thinking ‘Just what in the world do you mean by ‘become like that’?’, but the bell signifying the end of recess rang before he could ask his question.
- * *
Night was drawing nearer as the sunlight of the long early summer's day began to recede.
Housewives out shopping, middle school students finished with their club activities heading home with their bikes, children walking their dogs, and students wearing earphones with dangling white cords, shadows intermingled chaotically along the sidewalk lined with Japanese zelkova trees in full-foliage as everybody walked hurriedly amidst the slightly chilly wind.
Having finished shopping at the busy supermarket, Ryūji and Taiga also joined the mass of people and headed to the Takasu residence beneath the darkening indigo sky.
It seemed the events at school had done wonders to relieve her stress,
Taiga was walking a little in front of Ryūji and, completely different from her broken-down state yesterday, hummed to herself while lightly swinging her head back and forth. It was unusual---However, Ryūji just followed her without saying anything as the shopping bag swung in his hands. If he were to say even a single phrase, like ‘how rare’ or something, she would probably get angry and stop humming immediately. Her somewhat off humming, it really was quite rare.
He overheard a little girl who was passing by ask of her mother, ‘That person, is she a princess?’. Certainly with Taiga’s fashion sense, she might have seemed to children like a stereotypical princess straight from a fairy tale. Underneath her pale lime green cardigan was a one-piece dress patterned with small flowers, and the lacy pure white petticoat, distinguishable beneath the partially unbuttoned dress, had numerous layers of frill that airily added a lot of volume and made Taiga’s short body look very charming. Her long and somewhat wavy hair was tied with a ribbon, which was unusual, and she even had a beaded purse and dainty white sandals that Ryūji hadn’t seen before.
Although she dressed in such fashion everyday, today nevertheless seemed especially extravagant. Really though, it must have been her mood.
When it was time to go home after school, Taiga, with a smile, said something along the lines of, ‘I’m going home first, so come get me when you go shopping.’, and somehow she even waved farewell to Kitamura who was next to Ryūji---Of course, her face was completely red, both her eyes were resolutely turned upwards, she couldn’t get herself to say anything, and her face was horribly stiff, but still. Ryūji saw Taiga give a small leap on the spot after Kitamura acknowledged her with an ‘Ou!’.
Even if it was only that, he might as well enjoy Taiga’s current happiness.
Suddenly turning his way, Taiga slowed down until she was beside Ryūji and matched his pace. This was also quite unusual. Walking in front as if she was his master or walking angrily behind him in sullen contempt, those were Taiga’s normal positions.
“Are you cooking salmon today?”
The abnormal Taiga inquired with a calm voice, which seriously moved Ryūji…This current state of affairs, it wasn’t bad at all.
“Yeah…I’m thinking meuniere style. First adding salt and pepper, then sprinkling it with flour, and then frying it in butter. It should be tasty if we eat it with ketchup.”
“That’s good! Sounds delicious!”
The calm conversation that sounded just like a discussion between young housewives was suddenly hit by a major earthquake in the next instant.
“Hmm I know, maybe I’ll make a salad.”
At the word ‘salad’, the shopping bag slipped out of Ryūji’s hands.
Ryūji looked up with his eyes wide; Taiga was scrunching her lips in displeasure. Even so, her anger was only up to about thirty percent from normal.
“…N, nothing…I was just surprised. Just now…I must have been hearing things. Yeah, that must be it.”
Brushing off the surprise and picking up the shopping bag, he was going to pretend that nothing had happened, but,
“That’s not so! Even I can make a salad at least!”
It’s not that easy. Taiga, who doesn’t even take her rice bowl to the kitchen after she’s done eating, is saying she will make a salad. The same Taiga who nearly starved to death because the bentou shop had closed down. Was he still in the real world…? Nearly at a loss for words, Ryūji started shaking his head back and forth.
“I, it’s impossible.”
“Why’s that? You underestimate me too much.”
Fufu, laughing almost haughtily, Taiga puffed up her chest with pride and took on an imposing stance.
“When I was in elementary school, I made one in class. A salad, I mean. I even made the dressing.”
“…Well then, try telling me how you do it.”
“That’s easy. First, you buy the lettuce, right? Then you separate the leaves, don’t you? Then you slice them up, right? Then you put it on a plate, right? Then you serve it with mayonnaise, right?…And with that it’s done.”
“That’s not right.”
Ryūji firmly shook his head.
“It’s not that I hate simplicity, but the first thing to do is wash the lettuce. You run it under cold water don’t you? Just what were you talking about dressing for?”
“Such trivial things…"
“It’s not trivial. It’s really important, if you don’t run the lettuce under cold water to make it crisp, then it’ll be all limp when you eat it, won’t it?”
Calling him such an unexpected name, Taiga left behind Ryūji, whose eyes had become sharp and bright, and started walking in front of him at her normal position.
“Ryūji is such a sister-in-law. A sister-in-law who takes over the house, not letting the wife speak or use the kitchen at all. I, the pitiful wife, am forced to do the simple chores of cleaning the toilet, cleaning the bath and chopping wood…”
“Just when did I ever make you clean the toilet or the bath or anything like that at all?! And if you think you can chop wood, then why don’t you try it?! More than any of that, just whose wife are you supposed to be?!”
“Don’t ignore me!”
“How the heck do you read that?!"
In the end it was like always, the harsh quarreling would build up futilely and they would eventually reach the last street corner. They finally made it to the rented housing where Taiga’s apartment and the Takasu residence were.
However, at that time,
“Finally caught up to you!”
Coming up from behind them, something had suddenly dove right before Ryūji’s eyes. Taiga, who was walking in front of him, disappeared from his sight.
“W, what the heck?!”
This fellow was hanging off of Ryūji’s arm as if practically jumping at him. Considering how tightly he was being clung to, he felt like his left arm was being grasped with a desperate helplessness.
“I saw you go by just now, so I ran after you! Please…pretend to be my friend!”
Short of breath and with a hazy expression on her white face, the one pressing her slender body was a descended angel---Or rather, it was Ami Kawashima, the girl generally ranked number one. She wasn’t wearing the hat or the sunglasses at least, but she still had that black full body jersey on, and as usual, because she was trying too hard to be inconspicuous, she ended up standing out even more than usual. He wondered if she had maybe listened to what Taiga had said and been actually out running a marathon. However,
Her pleading voice was overflowing with serious desperation, and even her breathing seemed a little jagged. Ryūji had absolutely no clue what on earth she was asking of him.
“N, umm…W, what?!"
“That guy over there…”
The slender fingers that were gripping Ryūji’s arm tightened. Her hand was sweaty, and more than that it seemed to be trembling slightly; it seemed like something was seriously not right. Perplexed, he tried following Ami’s line of sight,
The street corner just a bit in front of them, the shadow of a lamppost. There was a man standing abnormally still. Without thinking, Ryūji’s face also stiffened.
Quite difficult to see from where they were standing, the guy looked relatively slender and carefully dressed, so he looked a bit like a college student on the outside, but if that were the case, he would be carrying more. At first glance, he might not be taken for a ‘weird guy’, but no matter how one thought about it, it just wasn’t normal for someone to stand still, hidden in the shadows, so there was an atmosphere of weirdness about that guy, making him stick out from his surroundings.
Seeming really frightened just from looking at that guy, Ami was trying as hard as she could to use Ryūji’s body as a shield and hide behind him. However, that man didn’t seem to really care that they noticed him, since he didn’t stop staring at Ami even for a moment.
It was a bit…no, it was probably exceptionally creepy, so Ryūji was starting to step back with Ami in tow when,
“That’s right, it’s about time…Come on, let’s settle this…”
Something even scarier had been on standby behind them. Turning around at the sound of the low curse-like murmur, he saw Taiga, who had more than likely been knocked aside by the leaping Ami and rolled to the edge of the street, as she slowly pulled herself up,
“I told you to run a marathon, but nobody said you could run around in front of my house, you damned brat…I’m going to turn you into a dirty rag.”
She held one hand low with her fingers fluttering, the other raised up in the form of a fist, and both her feet were freely shuffling back and forth, left and right. Performing such skilled amateur footwork and calling out for a fight as if saying ‘Come’, her eyes sparkled hungrily…
“Read the atmosphere. You get it, don’t you?”
It was as if a tiger (the pissed off Taiga) was at the front door and a wolf (the weirdo) at the back. They had unexpectedly ended up acting out the Chinese proverb, and having turned himself around a full 180 degrees, Ryūji was forced for the time being to try and calm down a wild animal that had lost all sensibility. Without even really paying attention to Taiga, Ami had been roundaboutly running around trying to avoid eye contact with that weird man until finally,
She clung to Ryūji’s shoulder and firmly pressed her face against him.
For a single moment, Taiga’s pretty French doll face shook. Little by little, bit by bit, it kept twisting as if expanding diagonally from top to bottom until at one point---Crack! Ryūji definitely felt like he heard the sound of something snapping. And then,
“…Listen tou mweeee---!” (!)
Perhaps overly agitated, she was fanatically tripping over her words. Taiga shouted and with incredible leg strength that could even knock over a lamppost sent a nearby recycling bin flying with a vigorous kick. The seemingly heavy object made a loud ‘bang!’. Spinning through the air, it passed over Ami’s and Ryūji’s heads making a beeline for that suspicious character and continued for several meters before landing near his feet with a thunderous clang.
Understandably taking a few steps back in fright, the man changed directions. He started running seriously and fled.
“Hm?…Who’s that guy?!”
Watching his retreating figure, it seemed like even Taiga had finally noticed that there was someone there. Her great wrath disappeared almost instantaneously,
Full of distrust, that uninhibited mutter passed through her lips.
Ami gradually started breathing normally and let go of Ryūji’s arm. However, she seemed helplessly unstable on her own two feet,
“Are you okay?”
“Ah, yeah…It’s just been a long time since I ran so seriously…Ooh, I’m so exhausted.”
She tried to smile jokingly, but compared to her normally perfect smile, right now she looked quite stiff.
“Just what the heck was all that with that guy just now? Do you know him?”
He asked while lending her a hand, but she just shrugged ambiguously,
“That is…Umm…When I’m trying to shop…I sometimes end up running into him there…Maybe he’s an odd fan…They’re around sometimes, those kind of guys…”
Looking disturbed, her eyes were swirling around. At her appearance, Ryūji and Taiga instinctively looked at one another. Considering how scared she had been just before, the fact she was now saying he was a ‘fan’, it left them uncomfortable and unable to say anything. However, Ami turned to Ryūji and clasped her hands aloft,
“Hey, I have a bit of a favor to ask. It’s scary walking home by myself right now. That guy might still be around here somewhere…It’s only for a little bit, so will you hide me in your house? Please!”
She said something like that. Rather than the good-girl act she always had on, right now she was honestly showing a real expression.
Ryūji thought for a moment before finally asking her.
“Between this two-story rented house built from wood and the second floor of that first-class apartment built within the past year, which one would you like to be hidden within?”
Replying without even a moment’s hesitation, Ami was pointing her finger straight at the apartment building. Even though Ryūji tentatively glanced at Taiga out of the corner of his eye wondering ‘How will she react?’,
“That's my apartment…It’s fine, come with me. It’s probably for the best if you lay low for a while.”
“Eh…Yours?!...This isn't a joke, I don't know what you'll do to me.”
Ami looked at Taiga, someone with whom she had a horrible relationship, with a staring glance, but,
“Don’t be stupid. Don’t you understand that this is an emergency situation?”
Taiga was shaking her head back and forth with a serious expression on her face. Then with a strong grip, she firmly took Ami’s hand in her own,
“Once something happens, it’ll be too late. This will be fine, so stay at my house.”
“Wait a second you…A, are you being honest? Are you saying that seriously?”
“I’m just saying this in advance, but that house over there is Ryūji’s home. There are quite a few problems concerning the safety over there. Seriously, one time in the dead of night, I sneaked in through the window and nearly beat Ryūji to death…It was easy. Easier than breathing.”
Ami looked to Ryūji as if saying ‘That can’t be’,
Ryūji nodded as he said that. Ami took some time to consider,
“…Is this okay?”
Gently raising her large eyes, she quietly asked of Taiga…Really, she gently looked at her.
“Yeah. Of course.”
And then somewhat lazily, Taiga nodded without any doubt. Just a little bit moved by it all, Ryūji unthinkingly ended up heartily whispering.
“You…you just might be a good fellow.”
“It’s just for this situation. It’s not like I can’t be sympathetic.”
Smiling generously, she firmly took hold of the still somewhat hesitant Ami’s shoulder. There might have even been a little bit of caring in her forcefulness.
“Kawashima-san, a lot of things have happened between us, but let’s call a temporary truce for now. At Ryūji’s house, there’s his busy mother and an ugly weird parrot. It would be for the best if you chose to come to my house.”
Because she was showing such kindness, Ryūji decided he would forgive her for insulting his pet by pretending not to have heard anything. Ami still appeared a bit hesitant, but holding onto her shoulder, Taiga was practically dragging her while making way towards the apartment entrance.
“Ah, Taiga. What should I do about your dinner?”
“Keep it for later will you, I’ll eat it over there afterwards…Because I think I’m more alert when my stomach is empty.”
Without even giving him a chance to ask about her puzzling words, Taiga and Ami disappeared within the apartment.
After it had gotten really late, Taiga came over to eat dinner at the Takasu residence,
“…I’m stuffed! That was the best!”
Smiling in an unusually happy mood, she had eaten three whole servings of white rice and salmon.
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Spin-off|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Epilogue|