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On White Day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Day#Observation
On the legend of Izanagi and Yomi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izanami-no-Mikoto#Death_of_Izanami-no-Mikoto
Also, probably the only chapter tonight due to its length.
Around the time that I took the unlucky doll out for repairs, the finals came around.
A few days later when the results came out, this is what the ranking board looked like:
1. Enjou Shuusuke
2. Takamichi Wakaba
3. Mizusaki Arima
5. Kaburagi Masaya
He had been a walking corpse up until the exams happened. Why did he shoot to 5th place the moment he recovered?! I was at my best but I failed to get in again! What the heck was this!? The curse of the doll?!
The girls around Enjou and Kaburagi had been celebrating Enjou getting 1st place and Kaburagi’s revival.
That was all when and good until I overheard,
“How cunning of her! She sneaked in between Enjou-sama and Mizusaki-kun!”
How was that her fault?
Meanwhile, Kaburagi was staring expressionlessly at the ranking board.
…I wondered if he wouldn’t take that anthology back.
I had glanced through it at least, but the thing was tagged whenever there was a poem that he liked. So pushy… Maybe I could sneak it into his desk. If not, then what if I burnt it instead? The anthology felt like it was filled with his bad luck…
The 14th of March was White Day. While I was chatting with my group over lunch as usual, my phone received a message. The moment I saw the contents I sprinted towards the school gates. My sides immediately started hurting though so I slowed down.
I waved at the pair standing by the gates.
“It’s been about two weeks, hasn’t it, Kisshouin-san.”
“Yes! Gokigen’yoh, Kasumi-sama, Tomoe-senpai!”
Tomoe-senpai in casual clothes! He looked even more mature out of his school uniform! So coool!
“Sorry for bothering you during your lunch.”
“Not at all! I am overjoyed to see the two of you again!”
“We’re actually here today to give you this. Here, it’s your White Day present,” said Tomoe-senpai.
What he handed me was a bag from a shop famous for their French marshmallows!
Yay! I loved these things!
In my past life I had enjoyed marshmallows for sure, but the expensive French guimauve marshmallows would melt away in your mouth in an instant, leaving behind a juicy fruit flavour.
What’s more, the bag I was holding was pretty heavy too. There were definitely a lot in there. …It was really nice.
“One more thing. This is from the both of us.”
With that, Tomoe-senpai held out a shopping bag from a jeweller’s.
“We picked out something that we thought would look good on you, Kisshouin-san.”
“Reika-sama, I would be happy if you liked it.”
“May I open it and see?” I asked.
Tomoe-senpai and Kasumi-sama smiled in acquiescence so I didn’t hold back.
Inside was a beautiful flower necklace! And in the middle of it was a little aquamarine. Cute!
“May I truly accept something so wonderful for just a little bit of chocolate?”
“Of course! We picked the flower because it’s you, Kisshouin-san. You’ll look great wearing it.”
So Tomoe-senpai’s image of me was a flower!? Ah-, another phantom nosebleed…
“Thank you very much. I will treasure it forever!”
“Forever? Gee, I’m happy to hear that.”
“The two of us are happy that you like it, Reika-sama.”
As Kasumi-sama laughed gently with a hand over her mouth, I noticed a ring on it!
“Kasumi-sama, that ring is…?”
“Eh, ah. This is Senju’s White Day present to me…” she said, turning bright red.
Kaaah! I’m so happy for you! What a happy couple!
But wow, I was so satisfied just getting this necklace.
Even though they were on holiday after graduating from school, they came all the way here just to give me these. I was really so happy.
Apparently the two of them were headed for a date after this. Tsk, and here I still had more classes. So lucky.
Since lunch break was about to end, I reluctantly bade them goodbye. They said they would come visit even after they entered university, so I was holding them to it.
Overjoyed, I practically skipped into the school building when I sensed an oddly strong gaze.
With my present in hand, I looked around only to find Kaburagi standing a little distance away.
He was staring riiight at me. Eh… What’s with him?
He was staring at me so silently that I could almost hear the silence. I stepped backwards due to the discomfort.
“Ummm… Is something the matter?”
What the heck? Do you want something or what? I’m not a mind reader so just staring at me won’t get you anywhere, okay? And it’s scary too. Just say what you want already.
Kaburagi continued to stare in silence. I continued to slowly back away. To my misfortune, nobody was in front of the school building with us. Whaaaat the heeeck…
…Hm? Paying a bit more attention, I realised that he was actually staring at the present in my hand.
Could it be that he wanted to say something about me receiving this even though I was supposed to be a comrade in heartbreak? Did he think I was a traitor now? The shopping bag even had the jeweller’s brand on it…
Oh, or could it be that he wanted some reference before choosing White Day presents himself?
“Kaburagi-sama… Today is White Day… isn’t it.”
Kaburagi’s eyes shot wide open.
Oh no! A landmine! I bet this guy didn’t receive Valentine’s chocolate from Yurie-sama this year! If he didn’t get anything, then of course there was no reason to give anything back!
His gaze was condemning me for being the only one feeling good out of the two of us!
Nooooo! This guy hadn’t gotten better at all! His sickness was way too deep! Stop it! Don’t get me sick too!
Nooo! Run away! I wanted to run away!
I tore open the marshmallow bag. There it was.
A clear case with French marshmallows of different colours. Pink ones were raspberry, the light blue ones were lime, the orange ones were mango, the white ones peach…
I pulled a peach-flavoured one out of the case and then wrapped Kaburagi’s hand over it as he stood there frozen.
Then I made a run for it!
Since time immemorial, the peach plant was said to have powerful anti-evil properties. According to the Kojiki, on his escape from Yomi, Izanagi was said to have thrown peaches to scatter the oni that followed him.
Which made this hallway the Yomotsuhirasaka! If I wanted to return safely to the real world, I couldn’t look back!
Pass on peacefully, Kaburagi!
Today was the middle school graduation ceremony, so here I was, waiting to congratulate that uncute cousin of mine.
Not only did I have a bouquet of lollipop lilies for her, I had even gone out of the way to prepare an Oniisama.
Oniisama was really busy at work but after some begging I got him to slip away for a while. Ririna, be grateful to the compassionate Reika.
I handed the bouquet to Oniisama to give.
“Why don’t you just hand them over yourself?”
“Ririna will be happier receiving them from you, Oniisama.”
Ririna and her classmates began filing out of the building. The moment she spotted Oniisama she abandoned her friends and sprinted here full-speed.
“Taka-niisama! You came!”
“Lilies! Ririna’s flowers! Thank you, Taka-niisama!”
Ririna beamed blissfully as she received the bouquet from him. I supposed she could borrow him for today.
Instead, I began handing out smaller bouquets to her friends as I congratulated them. Thank goodness I prepared extras.
“Thank you, Reika-senpai!”
“To think Reika-senpai gave me flowers!”
“Thank you very much, Reika-senpai.”
Similar things could be heard from the rest of my little kouhai. Not Reika-sama, Reika-senpai. Of course I was the one who asked them to call me that, but still, uhuhuhu, it had such a ring to it. Was this how it felt to be respected and idolised?
“Thank you all so much for staying friends with that wilful girl. It must have been trouble. Ririna can be such a child.”
“Hey!” she butt in, “What the heck are you saying!?”
Ahh, stop being so louuud.
“Goodness, Ririna. So rowdy even at your graduation.”
“Whose fault is that!?”
“Hahh. So noisy. This is why I called you a child.”
“What did you say!?”
“Get along, you two. It’s graduation day.”
“But Taka-niisama!” she whined as she pulled on Oniisama’s cuff.
“What are you even here for, Reika-san? You haven’t congratulated me once.”
“My, I must have forgotten. Congratulations, Ririna.”
“Say that earlier.”
Sooo not cute.
Oniisama glanced at his watch. He came here while busy so I guess time was up.
“Sorry, Ririna. I’ve got to get back to work.”
“I greeted Ojisama and Obasama earlier, so I’m going to head off now. Give them my regards.”
“…Fiiine. It’s a shame but work is work. Thank you for coming today, Taka-niisama.”
“I think I shall leave as well,” I chimed in. “Congratulations once again, everybody. Please excuse me. Gokigen’yoh.”
I waved to everyone and was about to leave when Ririna called out to me.
She was standing with her face buried in the flowers.
“…Thank you for the flowers…”
“You are 10 years too early for madonna lilies, you brazen girl. Lollipop lilies are more like it.”
Tired of dealing with my uncute younger cousin, I hurried to Oniisama’s side.
“Really, what on earth are you two doing?”
“Goodness, Oniisama. Do try to avoid lumping us together.”
Aaah, dealing with children had made me hungry. Since Oniisama was heading back to the company I thought about getting something to eat instead. Eating at home was fine, but eating out was an option too. I was feeling like Nagasaki champon.
That was when a lone boy appeared.
It was the bird-brained Katsuragi boy.
“Long time no see, Katsuragi-kun. How are you feeling?”
“You! I figured out your trick! It was a lie!”
Trick? What was he on about? A lie?
“That password! Don’t think I didn’t solve it right away! And no bloodied soldiers ever came, either!”
Aah! That! Wow, considering his tone just now he must have really agonised over it. And obviously no ghost soldiers ever came. Huh? Could it be that he didn’t solve it that night and was actually frightened that they would come for him?
“Sounds like you got lucky. Anyhow, we’re leaving now, so bye.”
“Is that all you have to say!?”
“Goodness, did you want to hear another story?”
Katsuragi turned around and prepared to run, so I used the chance to urge Oniisama towards the parking lot.
Birdbrain was still cawing behind us.
Gosh, life was peaceful~ Spring was around the corner too~
“Is it alright to leave him, Reika?”
“Oh yes. For some reason I seem to be surrounded by buffoons…”
“I’m pretty sure that’s because…”
Oniisama gave me a complicated smile, and rubbed me on the head.
I hoped spring break would come soon~