Shinka no Mi Chapter 107
「I told you, it has to be 『Sei-chan』!」
「Uh, who was that again?」
Seto Airi, a member of a group that grossly stands out even among the heroes,
「Why you do not know him!? It’s that 『Seichan』, yanno!?」
「Like we know any Sei-chan!」
Towards Seto’s unreasonable question, Nojima could do nothing but retort.
「If Airi phrases it like that, then is that person someone we’re familiar with?」
「Nope? Ya not know him, yanno?」
「Then we can’t possibly know!」
Though Shimizu sent her a helping boat, Seto’s statement had her off the path to be saved.
「Rather, what’s with this 『Sei-chan』 in question? What’s between you two, Airi? An item?」
Upon hearing Amakawa’s question, Seto scratched her head with face coloured in red.
「Y, you little~… Lovers, you say~… Don’t make me blush~. …Not even close, tho.」
「So you’re not!?」
「Sigh… we’re going nowhere. So? Say this Sei-chan is here somewhere, whatcha gonna do?」
「Eh? I just feel that, I want help him~ or something」
「So Sei-chan is in a distressing situation right now!?」
Nojima’s retort was quick.
「I can’t see where this is going! We don’t even know who’s this Sei-chan in the first place, and we can’t do anything about him.」
「No, no way~ …You guys are cruel~」
「I’m just making a sound argument here!」
No matter how much Seto tried to tell them about the person called 『Sei-chan』, Nojima and the other two couldn’t do anything about him since they didn’t even know who she meant.
Furthermore, Seto had no plans nor anything in case she did meet 『Sei-chan』 in the future.
Alas, Shimizu reorganize the situation with a single sigh escaped.
「Phew… One thing we know for now about this 『Sei-chan』 person Airi’s been looking for, is that he’s in class F, right?」
「Since it’s such a hassle, why don’t you meet him first and act accordingly? It’s not like we know what Airi has in mind.」
「S, suddenly ambushing him like that… won’t he hate me if I do so…?」
「WHAT A PAAAIIINNNN!!!!!」
Nojima’s cry of anguish couldn’t be justified more.
Whilst Shimizu tried to calm Nojima down, Amakawa suddenly broke into grins.
「Rather, y’see, looking at Airi’s reactions~ No matter how you see it, she’s gotta have a thing for this 『Sei-chan』, ain’t she?」
「Eh!? Ya mean it!?」
「…Well, I kinda suspect so. 」
In response to them, excluding Nojima, Seto was——.
「N, n, nnnnot, not a… a chance, mkay!?」
Said the three simultaneously.
「Airi… you’re basically an open book…」
「No, Yuka still couldn’t read her…」
「I, I could, okay?」
「Calm, girls. …At any rate, Airi, you like this 『Sei-chan』don’cha.」
These three girls who found the matter troublesome at first, as expected of girls, suddenly so gung ho about it since it turned into a love story.
Airi’s face stiffened, confronted by the three with a glimmer of curiosity in their eyes.
「W, what izzit…」
「——Be a good girl and tell us everything!」
Airi who was jostled up by the girls, acted like the high school girls they were, or maybe closer to junior high ones, gave up.
「I, I got it, okay! I’ll tell, I’ll tell!」
「Agreed, surrendering is important.」
「Ou, then tell us already!」
Airi looked at them a little bit reproachfully, then let a sigh escaped before she started her story.
「Haah… First I met Sei-chan was at Junior High. I have ya girls know, but back then I was a loner, yanno?」
「You, Airi…? I can’t imagine that.」
The three didn’t hide their surprise.
They were friends with Airi since the first enrolled High School, and Airi seldom talked about her Junior High phase. Well, Airi first became what she currently is when she’s halfway her second year in Junior High, she said.
「I really was loner, like lonely loner, before that… the reason I could become the current me is all thanks to Sei-chan.」
Again with the surprising fact, the three once again raised their voice.
「I told ya I was a loner didn’t I. So like, I eat my lunch on the stairs leading to the rooftop. Really, it’s nostalgic to remember.」
With that as the preamble, Airi started to call back her past.
I——Seto Airi, was spending my lonely lunchtime with a sigh.
The reason I was eating my lunch all alone… just as I said before, I didn’t have a single friend. Unlike now, I was reserved yanno?
Anywho, I first found this ideal Loner Meal Spot namely the staircase to rooftop after I enrolled Junior High and had been eating my lonely meal there every day.
My Junior High was just like any other Junior High, the rooftop was a forbidden area, so I went there to eat my Lonely Meal. If it was forbidden to enter anyway, why would they make a staircase to there? Well, I assumed it was for emergency times.
Either way, I could use it for my spot, so I really had nothing else to say.
With that condition, by the time I finished my meal like usual——Sei-chan appeared.
「Eh? There’s someone here!?」
Sei-chan popped out so suddenly, and I was really troubled by it. I never thought that such a man of valour would come to this fantastic Lonely Meal Spot.
My impression when I first saw Sei-chan was… well, must be that. I thought he was the typical bullied kid.
I mean, not like I want to make fun of Sei-chan, but he was, like, super plump and his face wasn’t the most pleasing to look at.
He had a particular body odour, I didn’t care about it myself, but it seems like other people didn’t really like it.
Those qualities of him made him got bullied real hard.
Fortunately for my case, I had no friends, so its not like I got bullied or anything…
Anyway, neither of us expected anyone to be here, so it was awkwardly silent for a while.
The first one to speak up was… Sei-chan.
「Umm… a loner?」
「And you’re speaking!?」
T’was such an unexpected remark from him that pulled out my retort
But Sei-chan paid no mind and just laughed.
「Hahaha! It is weird that I called you that, of all people! I feel like crying now!」
「I, uh, I’m sorry?」
「It sure hurts when being apologized with an interrogative sentence!」
Even since then, Sei-chan had been high-strung and it was hard for me to keep up with his tempo.
「So, why do you eat your lunch in a place like this?」
「No… I’m pretty sure you’re here for the same reason…」
「Eh… Then, you really are having a lonely meal!? You kidding me!?」
「That’s sure some word from someone who’s having lonely meal too…」
「Ah, you’re right. No, but you see, I’m doing it because I’m being left out, but I feel like that’s not the case for you. That’s why I asked, why do you eat lunch here.」
「…Nothing you should be concerned about.」
「I guess that much. But if this spot is already taken… I don’t know any other place to eat alone…」
Watching Sei-chan making a troubled face, some words escaped my mouth.
「 …Then, why don’t eat together?」
「Yer being bullied, ain’t cha? If so, wouldn’t you prefer to take it easy at least when having a meal?」
「Well that’s… extremely grateful, but… are you fine with that?」
「I see… Then, I’ll gladfully take your consideration.」
——That was the start of a strange relationship between Sei-chan and I.
Ever since then, we were always there, on the staircase leading to the rooftop during the lunch break, having loner meal… no, two loners having a meal together.
When I tried to talk with Sei-chan, I began to learn that, while he is so high-strung that I find it hard to cope up with time to time, he is nothing short of kind.
In addition, for two people who shared no taste in anything, I started to find it comfortable to talk to Sei-chan, since he was unexpectedly a good listener.
Days like this continued, and for the first time I found someone close… or maybe I should say, I had made a 『Friend』. And so, I said it with all my spirit.
It was the first time I called Sei-chan like that, so his expression was that of confusion.
「Yeah! Taking the Sei from 『Hiragi Seiichi』, so it’s Sei-chan!」
Come to think of it… Sei-chan’s name was 『Hiiragi Seiichi』.
I’ve been calling him Sei-chan all this while, so I forgot about it.
…In addition, if I think that I’m the only one who calls him Sei-chan… How to put it, it feels like I’m someone special to Sei-chan, and it makes me happy.
Anyway, since it was the first time I called him 『Sei-chan』, he was quite dumbfounded for a while, then immediately put on a smile with a hint of pink.
「No, how do I say it… I’ve never been addressed like that, so it’s quite embarrassing…」
He was so cute.
No, I don’t know how other people take it, but for me, Sei-chan’s smile is the strongest in history. Don’t you know? Among us gals, cute means justice. …Though I don’t know if it stays true now that we’re in another world.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
「Then I also want Sei-chan to call me as 『Airin』!」
「Airin!? Oi oi, we both are loners here, you now? That’s way over us…」
「Isn’t that too harsh!?」
「I kid. But… Um… that nick is…」
Sei-chan just wouldn’t call me 『Airin』. I guess my despondent showed up and he catched it, so Sei-chan, stuttering and half-shouting, called to me.
「Hehehe~ …It sure is embarrassing~」
「I’m the embarrassed one here!」
I teased Sei-chan who hid his red face behind his hands for a while.
Thus, after we decided our nicks, we returned to our usual chemistry.
…Right. Though I’ve admitted it… by this time, I’d begun seeing Sei-chan as a member of the opposite sex.
Well, for me who didn’t even have a friend, lovers and such relationship looked like a hurdle too high to reach.
It was just, I never encountered Sei-chan outside lunchtime.
Even if I called out to him, Sei-chan just ran away from me, you see…
It was a hard blow to me and I felt quite hurt he did so, but… I learned that he did what he did precisely because he was bullied and hoped I wouldn’t be dragged along with… And that, felt like rubbing salt in my wound.
And one day, when we were having lunch together as usual, Sei-chan voiced one question with a curious face.
「Come to think of it, Airin. Why are you a loner?」
「Ain’t that one painful question you just casually asked!?」
Upon my reaction, Sei-chan continued his inquiry.
「Ah, no, I’m sorry. I didn’t meananything bad. I’m just thinking, unlike me, Airin isn’t exactly being left out, right? So…」
「…It’s not like I’m alone because I want to. I just, yanno, it’s hard for me to talk with people…」
「Even though you talk to me this much?」
「Sei-chan, it’s because you… well… you’re easy to talk with. Also, I’m not sure I can…」
「Oi, oi, have some confidence! You’re cute, Airin, so if you just dress up a bit and talk to others like you do with me, you’ll make friends in no time!」
I was thrown off-balance when Sei-chan suddenly said I was cute, out of the blue.
「Nn? Did I say something wrong?」
「N, no… I mean, cute is a bit…」
「…Ah… Naturally, I no longer speak whatever embarrassing thing that popped up in mind like I used to, but if I didn’t honestly praise someone, then how should I convey my feelings to them? That’s why, I mean it when I said you’re cute.」
「Ah, umm… err…」
Knowing it was Sei-chan’s true feelings only made me even more lost in cloud nine.
My head was pure white. I tried to come up with anything to say back, but nothing. And before I knew it, my mouth moved on its own.
「…Sei-chan, do you…. want to see me… dress up?」
Without a shred of doubt, Sei-chan nodded.
——And that was the starting line. The first time I got invested in dressing up…
At first I hadn’t a clue. I tried referencing to various fashion magazine, how to apply make-ups, how to choose clothes, all that. But there’s only so much my inexperienced self could do.
That was why, for the first time I summoned my courage and called out to girls from my class.
It was real scary, but my feeling of wanting to be seen cute by Sei-chan overpowered that.
Just when I tried to summon my courage… even to say it myself, it was super anti-climatic how fast I could adapt with the girl’s group.
In addition, I could talk to them like how I talked with Sei-chan.
When I came to, I realized I was already styling up, gyaru-like or not.
From that point onward, my Junior High School life was gradually changing.
Firstly, not only the girls, but I also became able to speak normally with the boys.
Speaking with a boy other than Sei-chan was a real nervous wreck at first, but that, too, came with time.
Also, even I couldn’t believe it ’till now, but the frequency of being confessed to just got skyrocketed.
Ranging from a boy I could chummy with, to a boy who was obviously a playboy… Anyway, I was confessed by a huge variety of boys…
But, unfortunately, I already had someone in my heart.
Anyone except Sei-chan was outside the question for me.
Like that, my gloomy loner school life transformed into a bright and cheerful school life, but… I lost something important as the exchange.
I patiently waited for Sei-chan there, on the staircase leading to the rooftop, but Sei-chan never showed himself again.
In addition to that, with my new friends got in my schedule, my free time was decreasing by the day.
That was why, I could no longer eat there, but rather having lunch together with my friends.
That was the first time… I felt like I’d prefer being a loner… yeah, it crossed my mind.
In the end, I never managed to meet with Sei-chan until the day of Graduation.
The silver lining was, there was a gossip that we got into the same High School… or rather, I heard about a bullying case, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t happy, despite the complex feeling accompanying it.
However, once again, I couldn’t meet with Sei-chan.
Even if I tried to catch him by surprise in his classroom, or going around the campus searching for him… I couldn’t find Sei-chan.
It was as if Sei-chan was actively avoiding me…
It was something I later found out, but apparently Sei-chan had a time where he shut himself in his house.
That strong-hearted… positive and optimist Sei-chan was being a shut-In, I couldn’t even picture it.
It made me think that Sei-chan had something terrible befallen upon him, and I was completely oblivious about it.
I felt… really frustrated that I couldn’t do anything for Sei-chan when he needed it the most. …And it was him who gave me my courage.
I didn’t want his effort to go to waste, So I… in my own way, expressed my gratitude by enjoying the life he gave me.
And that was when we all got transferred to another world out of the blue.
I was really at lost for a while, but after calming down a bit, I felt like now’s the time I got to save Sei-chan…
I feel like the current me can protect Sei-chan——.
「————-Well… something like that…」
「You’re all over him.」
「I feel like throwing up sugar cubes.」
「Both you and this Sei-chan guy… you’ve really suffered…」
「You guys are being too harsh! And isn’t Yuka being too emotional!」
While Rumi and Noa said so with some degree of awe, Yuka was bawling her eyes out. Un, Yuka’s this kind of person, ain’t she.
「I mentioned this a lot, but Sei=chan is literally my saviour. That’s why I wanted to say thanks to him. And then, I’d be the one who’ll protect him this time.」
When I said so, the three lined up their faces and told me.
「Really, you… Can’t be helped! If you told me such story, what can I say except I’ll help you!?」
「Frankly speaking, it’s bothersome. But it’s for Aika, isn’t it?」
「Un. We’ll help.」
Hearing these words, I couldn’t do anything but asked them back.
「Is it really okay? It’s not like you have anything to do with Sei-chan…」
「It’s fine. He’s the guy who took care of my little Aika. That means we have to say our thanks too.」
「I’m not yours tough, Yuka?」
「We’re not talking about that, are we!? Read the convo flow!」
I laughed at Yuka’s retort.
…. Sei-chan. It’s all thanks to you, Sei-chan, that I have made such precious friends.
「Then, let’s with godspeed raid Class F!」
「As, as I said… wouldn’t he hate me… if I suddenly showed up…?」
「YOU’RE REAL CASE OF TROUBLESOME YANNO!?!?」
And Yuka, once again, retorted.