Precious Friendships (Shizune BE, Sisterhood plot) [Ch37 Updated 16 Oct 2020]

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ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 17, Updated 29 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri May 15, 2020 2:02 am

Chapter 21: Petrified

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing, Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing…

It’s time to wake up. I slowly remove my eye mask and turn off the alarm.

The eye mask. When I told Shizune that the curtains in my room cannot be shut tight, she bought me this. “Such a simple problem” as she said. Indeed, it was a simple problem. I didn’t manage myself well enough in the past.

Can’t rely on Shizune like this. I need to be more independent.

I pull myself up from the bed, perform my daily rituals, take my seventeen life-saving pills, and head towards the kitchen.

I prepare breakfast according to Shizune’s procedures. Pour water into the pot. Turn on the gas. Get today’s portion of oatmeal using a measuring cup. Get milk and eggs from the fridge. Break the eggs. Mix the eggs. Wait for the water to boil.

When the water boils, pour the oatmeal into the pot. Stir well. Add the milk. Add the eggs. Stir while cooking for a few minutes. Done.

I pour the oatmeal into a bowl, wash all the dishes quickly, and return to my room carefully with the oatmeal. I desperately need to dodge Kenji, at all costs, if I want to preserve my oatmeal and my morning.

Especially this morning. Today is a very special day.

When I close and lock the door, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I put down my oatmeal bowl and prepare myself for a last-minute revision of the last few mock exam papers.

Yes. Today’s the first day of the National Center Test. I’m a bit nervous, since it’ll be the first time I participate in a public exam on a national level. But I’m very confident. In my previous mock exam run with Shizune, I got an average of 85 (although I lost the duel again). Barring maybe a sudden blackout, I’m going to pass the exam easily.

Yet, I still want to score as high as possible. I want the scholarship.

And win against Shizune.

Let’s sit down, enjoy my oatmeal, and start my final revision.

When I’m half-done with my oatmeal, I hear several knocks on my door.

I’m very used to Shizune’s knock, so I’m 100% sure this is not from her. I really hope this is Misha.

When I open the door, I know my hope is dashed.

“Hey roomie!”

“I’m not your roomie, Kenji. We don’t live in the same room.”

“Whatever. I tried knocking on your door last night, but you didn’t answer.”

“What time was that?”

“Around midnight. I need your notes on the aerodynamics stuff. I heard that you did very well on Physics, so I want your help.”

“I see. I was sleeping. I sleep at 11pm.”

Kenji looks terrified.

“What? You slept? Today’s the exam! How could you sleep right before the exam?”

“Why not? I’m fully prepared! And by sleeping, I recover enough energy to do well in the exams.”

“No! You cannot sleep! I’ve heard that the girls here are extremely dangerous!”

“How?”

“I know their venomous plan! They want to dominate the education sector by sending more of their troops into universities. They will do anything to deny men of tertiary education! Once they control all the universities, they will take all the good jobs, get all the money, and make better weapons to wipe out all male beings in the entire world!”

I really shouldn’t waste my precious revision time on Kenji.

“And how’s that related to sleeping?”

“You don’t know!? They can picklock the door and sneak into your room. Then they steal all your notes and spray some powder onto your nose, and you’ll be asleep until the exams end! They have so many strategies to keep us from entering university!”

The fact is, you are the one who’s keeping me from entering university.

I decide to leave our feminine conspiracy discussions for another day. I have enough experience with Kenji to quickly dismiss him.

“You’re right. I’ll make sure to be more watchful from now on.”

“Good bro. Now, I need your notes. Quick.”

“Gimme a second. Here. Take it.”

“Thanks bro. Hey, what’s that food on the table? It looks very suspicious!”

“It’s oatmeal. Nothing special.”

“What? Oatmeal? It’s deadly, dude! Only women eat oatmeal! If you keep eating oatmeal, you can turn into a girl!”

I need to protect my oatmeal at all costs!

“No. There’s a man picture on the cover of the oatmeal box. I’ve been eating oatmeal for some time, and it’s healthy. I’m as manly as ever. What’s more, I cooked this myself earlier this morning, so nobody can poison it. Don’t worry.”

“Oh, maybe I made a mistake then. But bro, be on guard as always.”

“Sure, I won’t disappoint you.”

“Good. Thanks for the notes. See ya.”

I breathe an even heavier sigh of relief when I lock the door again.

I’m happy that my oatmeal is still intact, just a little bit cooler. I’ll add some hot water on it.

***********************

It’s almost time for the first exam. Shizune called me on phone, and I disconnected. We established this practice two months ago. Whenever either person wants to remind the other of something, just make a call. If the other party disconnects, that means the reminder is taken.

I didn’t ask for Shizune’s reminder today, but she did it anyway. How caring.

With all the necessary notes on my backpack, I set off for the exam hall. Shizune and Misha should be waiting for me.

When I arrive at the scene, I immediately sense that something’s wrong. Students are whispering to each other, and I see a stretcher, followed by some school nurses, heading towards where I believe is the girls’ dormitory.

I notice, from afar, a teacher pointing towards the exam hall, and students start following the teacher’s order. Seems to be Lilly’s homeroom teacher. Now that the students start to move in, I can see Lilly standing next to her.

Also, for the first time since more than two months ago, I’m finally able to see Hanako again. She’s talking to the girl who I recognize as Natsume from the newspaper club. Natsume sticks out a hand to Hanako, who puts her hand on top of Natsume’s. The two then give a defiant nod to each other and follow the rest of the students into the exam hall. Lilly slowly follows them as well.

Maybe Hanako will be fine after all.

My eyes suddenly go blind.

“Guess who, Hicchan?”

“Definitely not Misha.”

I respond reflexively, but then I realize immediately that I’m actually correct, because the fingers that are covering my eyes are much slimmer.

“You’re right~! How d’you know, Hicchan??”

[Good morning, Shizune.]

When my eyesight gets restored, I see Misha in front of me and Shizune coming to my side. She’s not happy.

[It’s not a proper etiquette to make girls wait for you.]

[“Sorry, Shizune. I wanted to study a bit more in my room. You know, today’s going to be tough for me, even though I’m well-prepared. We’re on time, aren’t we?”]

Today I’ll have Ethics and Japanese History. Two of my worst subjects. Shizune seems to understand.

[Yes. The students are entering already, so let’s get in too.]

[“Wait.”]

I want to follow what Hanako just did. I stick out a hand. The girls immediately understand. Shizune puts her hand on mine, and Misha puts hers on Shizune’s.

[“Let’s do our best together!”]

[Yes. We’ll do our best.]

[“Try your best, Hicchan and Shicchan~!!”]

We give each other a firm nod, and enter the exam hall.

***********************

I think I did okay in the Ethics exams. Japanese History is coming up in the afternoon. Lunch break first though.

I’m suddenly reminded of the stretcher this morning.

[Did anything happen in the morning? I saw a stretcher heading towards presumably the girls’ dorm.]

[So you noticed. It was Inoue.]

I almost choke on my ramen upon hearing the name. I drink a glass of water before speaking.

[“You mean Naomi Inoue?”]

[“Yup. She had an epileptic seizure this morning, and had to be carried by a stretcher.”]

[“Oh no! Will there be any make-up exam for her?”]

Shizune’s facial expression tells me no.

[Regulations regarding the Center Test are extremely strict, and there’s no chance for a retake.]

[“So Naomi’s going to fail the test?”]

[Unfortunately. She’ll have to take it again next year if she wants to enter university.]

Oh. My. Goodness.

I need some time to digest the news.

So it turns out that you can practically waste a whole year because your body decides to screw up and prevent you from taking the exam.

I never thought about that.

If I were to have a heart condition this morning, all of the studying with Shizune and Misha for the past few months would have been completely for naught.

If Shizune didn’t write me that lifestyle changing letter, I can’t imagine what would have happened to me today.

“Sup, Hisao?”

If I had kept the same lifestyle as the beginning of my Yamaku school life, I could’ve easily triggered a heart condition during the exam.

“Hisao?”

If Shizune didn’t force me to start studying way before the Center Test, I would have been cramming overnight. That might endanger my health.

“Hisao!”

Shizune is strict, but whatever she does is for a good cause.

“Hiiiisaaaaaaooooooo!!!!”

How much do I need to thank her!

“HISAO!!”

“Huh!”

I feel a forceful pat on my shoulder. I turn around to greet her.

“Almost thought you got petrified! Are you alright?”

“Sorry Miki, I was spacing out.”

“Figured. You’re always spacing out. What’s keeping your mind busy this time?”

“Nothing. I, I mean…”

“Hi Miura, we’re talking about the accident this morning.”

“Oh yeah, how unfortunate. Can’t do anything.”

“I just heard the news. I was shocked.”

“Makes sense. It happened in the girls’ dormitory.”

“I was thinking, if I had a heart condition before or during the exams, it would have been game over for me.”

“That’s why you’ve got to take care of your health.”

“Thanks to Shizune, I’ve been able to handle things quite well. How ‘bout you? Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“Your idea really helped. I might limp through, with some luck maybe.”

“How did you fare in your mock papers?”

“Tried several of them. Got 52 on average. Gives me some hope.”

“Try your best, Miki. I root for you. Remember, our friendship is on the line. Suzu’s too.”

“Gee, thanks for reminding! I’ll try my very best. Promise.”

“Good girl. Where are the folks?”

“Over there. Wanna join us?”

“I’ll come over in five minutes.”

Chapter 22: Luckiest Day
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri May 15, 2020 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 17, Updated 29 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri May 15, 2020 2:04 am

Chapter 22: Luckiest Day

Lemme check again.

Pens, pencils, eraser, ruler, and my secret weapon. All stationery here. Water bottle. Mock exam papers copied from Suzu.

I feel like I missed something. What the hell is it?

Anyway, I’ll figure it out in time.

I’m well-equipped. Let’s go to the kitchen to get my breakfast.

Today’s the third day of the Center Test. We’ll have Math in the morning, followed by Physics in the afternoon.

Oh I remember now! I forgot my calculator! Where is it?

Find, find, find… Not on my desk, not in the drawers either. On the bed maybe? I often study on my bed. Hmm… Not found. My coat pocket maybe? Nope, no calc either.

If I can’t find my calculator, I’m done for. Both my Math and Physics exams. That would be really bad. I spent so much time studying last month, and I don’t want all the time to go to waste. The last two months were probably the most efficient use of my time ever in Yamaku.

And I do have Suzu’s and Hisao’s friendships on the line.

Keep my head cool. Calm down. When did I last use it?

Knock, knock. Who’s that?

I open the door and find Suzu on the other side. She’s holding a calculator.

Oh! I remembered! I left my calc in Suzu’s room yesterday!

Last night I decided to challenge Suzu in a Math mock paper, just for the fun of it (and for a last-ditch practice). When I issued the challenge, Suzu rolled her eyes on me, and then she’s like, whatever, I accept, and we battled.

I lost, of course. At least I scored 51, which does give me some hope of passing the Math exam today. After chatting for a while, Suzu went to sleep, and I left her room without taking back my calculator.

I thank Suzu for giving me back my calc (it has my name on it, so she’s not going to mix it up with hers), head to the kitchen to get my breakfast from second-year students, and return to my room eating while checking if my calc is still intact. No mood to study right now. Gotta reserve my energy on the exam.

***********************

After wishing everybody good luck, we enter the exam hall together.

I sit down, open my bag, take out all the necessary items, including my secret weapon and my calculator, and await my destiny. Mutou distributes the answer sheets and the question papers under the orders of the Center Test invigilator. Then the invigilators sit on the stage, waiting for the clock to turn to exactly 9am.

When the clock’s second hand points to 12, the Center Test invigilator signals the beginning of the Math exam. Let’s go!

Wish me luck.

The first part is going to be Multiple Choice. I know it because I’ve been working on the mock papers for a whole month. Gotta apply Hisao’s strategies here.

The first question is to solve the equation (x – 3)(x – 2) = (x + 1)(x + 4). The choices are 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4.

The calculator is going to be handy here. Lemme put 0.1 into the equation…

Yup, the answer is 0.2. Both sides equal to 5.04. Don’t even need to check the last two answers. Saves time!

Next question. Make x the subject of the equation C = (x + y) / (x – y). Hisao told me to first put random values of x and y to calculate C, then put these values into each of the answers to see which one is consistent. Usually only one answer will match. If you’re unlucky you might need to guess between two.

What are my favorite numbers? Let’s put x = 5, y = 4, so C = 9 / 1 = 9.

Got it. The answer is x = y (C + 1) / (C – 1).



The next three questions are easy, even for my level. Now that I’ve studied so many exam papers, I realize that they have one thing in common: They always contain a few easy questions to give out free points.

Simplify [sin(270° - x)cos(180° + x) + cos2(90° + x)] / tan(x - 90°). No clue what they are, but I know what to do. What’s my lucky number today? Right. Put x = 30 degrees. Calculator time. Yup, got it. Answer is Choice A.



Find the value of angle AOB. Hahaha… Now it’s time for my secret weapon! Hisao told me that even though the question paper always says “the diagrams are not necessarily drawn to scale”, they are usually drawn to scale in order not to receive complaints from students or teachers. And my secret weapon is, of course, the protractor!! He said this method will increase my odds by a lot.

I get 46 degrees. The answers are 38.2, 42.2, 46.2, and 50.2 degrees. Easy choice.



Find the length of CD. Hisao strategy time. Here it says AB = 6cm. What I’m gonna do is to use my ruler to measure the length of AB on the test paper. Hmm… 1.6cm. Now I measure CD with a ruler. It’s 2.4cm on the test paper. So CD must be around 6 times 2.4 divided by 1.6, which is… 9cm. I’ve done this in every mock exam paper, and, believe it or not, it works every single time.

See what we’ve got. 7, 8, 9, and 10. EZPZ.



I’m now done with the Multiple Choice. I’ve done every question that I know how to do, and for the others I guessed an answer. Let’s move on to the questions.

This quadratic equation has equal real roots. Find the value of k.

Algebra is a nightmare. I’m not going to solve this, but Hisao told me to write down this sentence whenever it says equal roots: “Discriminant = 0”. This will earn me a point. Now I can write two more lines. I remember the formula. Discriminant equals to B squared minus 4 times A times C, and this is 0. Lemme put the numbers in the equation into A, B, and C. Okay, this will be another point. I’ve got 2 points. Done. I can move on now.

Oh wait, let’s randomly write down k = 3. If this is correct I’ll get another point.

Heck, why not try k = 3 into the equation that I hopefully didn’t write wrong. Just for the fun of it. I’m not going to do all of the questions, so I’ve got a lot of time.

Oh. My. Goodness. What? Really? I can’t believe my eyes! So k = 3 is correct!

Today’s gonna be my luckiest day. I hope the luck will last through the Physics exam in the afternoon.

Find the probability of whatever. Formula recitation! Probability is the number of favorite outcomes divided by the total possible number of outcomes. Nice, one point. Now just put in the numbers in the question randomly. Well, not exactly in random, because I know the number above must be a smaller number. Done. Hey, why not use my calc to find an answer? If I get the numbers right I actually score full marks.

I’ve a good feeling about this test. I think I’m gonna pass. Oh yeah!!

I love you, Hisao. Not in the way Hakamichi does, obviously, but yeah.

Triangle. Two lines and an angle in between. Don’t even bother reading the question. I’ve practiced so many times, and this has to be Cosine Law. What’s the formula again?

The square root of bracket A squared plus B squared minus… Oh no, I forgot!

I’m fighting for my friendship with Suzu and Hisao! Come on, Miki, you can do it!

I think it’s… this? Maybe. Anyway, I’ll give it a try. Put the numbers in, calculator time… I get 6.61 cm.

Hey, didn’t I get the calculator programmed the other day by Suzu? She said that you can just punch in the numbers and the calc will do it for you. Let’s put in 4, 6, and 80. The calculator shows… 6.61!! Yes!! Another 2 points in the bag! Well done, Miki!



Five minutes left to check my answers. Make sure there are no stupid mistakes, like the mock exam the other day, when I shifted the Multiple Choice answers by one question. Fill in all the Multiple Choice answers, as you can randomly get some correct answers. Next, I’m gonna count how many points I’m almost certain to get.

I can’t believe it. I think I picked up 46 sure points. Each Multiple Choice is 2 points, so I just need 2 more correct answers to pass! Let’s look for more free points…

“Time’s up. Pens down. Please stop writing. The invigilators will now collect your answer sheets. Please check if you have put down your name, student ID number, and examination number on your answer sheet.”

As Mutou comes over to collect my question paper, I’m almost in tears. I put my hands on my face.

I think I passed! My nightmare, Math, I’ve never got more than 30 points since high school. Yet today I’m gonna pass when it matters most! The studying has paid off. The strategies have paid off. The result won’t be anything spectacular, but that’s good enough for me. I’m so happy…

I admit I only studied for… less than two months I think, but since the week after Hisao asked me to pass high school, I’ve spent almost 10 hours a day on studying. It has paid off.

I wipe away my tears. Can’t be too excited yet. I still have Physics in the afternoon.

After handing in my exam paper, I look around to find Hisao. He’s… right there. I’m gonna rush to thank him the moment we’re allowed to go.

“Please be reminded that the Physics Exam will take place here at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. For Geography students, please go to Room 101 at 2pm. You may now leave.”

I’ve got to reach Hisao!

“Hey Miki!”

I turn around to find my friends Haru and Yukio waiting for me.

“Pick up Suzu for me, will ya? I’ll be right back.”

“Let’s meet in the cafeteria. We’ll pick up Suzu, no worries.”

“Gee, thanks!”

I immediately rush to the entrance. I can see Hisao with the Student Council duo.

“HISAO!”

“Hey Miki!”

When he turns around and I see him face to face, I instantly break into tears. I know the President is here, but I just have to do this!

I run towards him and practically fling myself onto him.

“Thanks so much Hisao!”

Hisao’s startled, but I don’t care!

“Miki, w-what’s the matter?”

“I… I… I think I just… passed… Math!! Thank you so much…”

“You actually did it? That’s awesome! I know you can do it, Miki!”

“Thank you… Thank you…”

I can only nod. I think this is one of the rare times I’m behaving like a girl.

Today’s probably one of the best days ever in my life. Everything around me has been blocked out. The only thing in my mind now is: I’ve just passed my test, and Hisao made it happen for me.

Of course, my other friends took part in helping me as well. Especially Suzu. Thanks everybody!

When I finally release Hisao, I see an extremely happy smile on him. Hakamichi and Misha look happy too. Hakamichi gives me a piece of tissue to wipe my eyes.

“Nice job, Miki! How did you know you passed?”

“Counted my points at the end. Should have at least 50, plus some more random points from the Multiple Choice. Your strategies paid off! You saved me.”

“Yup, Hicchan’s strategies are awesome! I’ve got to thank Hicchan too~~”

Misha throws herself onto Hisao, and this startles him once again.

Wonder how Hakamichi feels about all these hugs.

***********************

Instead of having dinner with Suzu and friends, I elect to eat alone tonight. Just tonight. ‘Cause I need to take a break from today’s events.

My two worst subjects are finally over.

For my Physics exam, I just kept reciting formulas and plugging in numbers. Hisao told me to remember the units of each quantity and then match the units in the questions with the quantity in the formula. I wanna say I barely passed the exam, but I might need some luck.

Luckily I don’t need to pass every exam to graduate. Just getting a pass on average score will do. And I do better in non-Math related subjects.

Even though I’m delighted to pass today’s exams, I feel a bit guilty. I didn’t really understand the subjects. What I did was to simply use a bunch of shortcuts to take the easy way out. I really got bailed out today. Still, I’m very happy that my two months of studying didn’t go to waste.

Now I only need to survive tomorrow’s two exams. The Computer Literacy exam will be where I’ll get the most points in, so I’m going to focus on that.

After tomorrow, I’ll be free to do whatever I want. I’ll first celebrate with Suzu and the folks in the weekend, then, since there’s no more class and I don’t take any Entrance Exam, I’ll first go back to dad’s place for a while, then I’m paying a visit to Tokyo. I’ve already contacted several vocational training schools through mail, and I’m going to pay a visit and see which job I like the most. I’ve a few choices in my mind already. All of them require at least a pass in the Center Test, and some of them require a pass in specific subjects. When I’m back, I’ll spend my remaining time in Yamaku with my friends before heading to Tokyo with Suzu. Hopefully.

Scoring big in tomorrow’s exams will be crucial. Unless I want to spend a whole year studying again.

It’s great to finally have a purpose in life.

Chapter 23: Best Friends Forever
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Wed May 27, 2020 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 19, Updated 3 May 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Wed May 27, 2020 5:06 am

Chapter 23: Best Friends Forever

“Bye~~ See you tomorrow~~”

I say goodbye to Aoi and Keiko, and head towards the pool for a nice swim.

After the end of the Center Test, Shicchan asked me to help the new Student Council with their work, as she and Hicchan need to study for the Entrance Exams. I happily accepted~. It’s been two months since I did any Student Council work~. Aoi and Keiko are a great pair. They complement each other quite nicely. Like Shicchan says, the Student Council should be in good hands.

Since we inevitably need to use the Student Council room a lot, we have agreed that Hicchan studies on his own in his dorm room. Shicchan is deaf, so she won’t be affected by our activities; Hicchan, however, will. What’s more, they now study different subjects in the Entrance Exams, so there’s no more point in studying together. As a result, they now only see each other during their afternoon runs. I heard that Hicchan actually skipped a few of those runs in order to focus more on the exams, and Shicchan was not happy about it.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Since there’s no class and I don’t see any boys, I just bought a few small boxes of “giri” chocolate to Hicchan and my friends. I expected Shicchan to make Hicchan some homemade chocolate, but she ended up buying all the chocolate from the store, and those were generic stuff. Hicchan seemed okay about it though. After dinner, Shicchan went back to the Student Council room to study, and Hicchan returned to his room. I kind of hoped that they could at least spend some time together on the roof, but they didn’t~.

I actually asked Shicchan about it today in the Student Council room. She said she didn’t have time to make chocolates, and she once again reminded me of her promise that any relationship with Hicchan will be on hold until the end of exams. Which will be next week.

That’s not an excuse at all.

I have a bad feeling about this. They say that a woman’s sixth sense is very accurate. What happened between Shicchan and Hicchan?

The last thing I want to see is another fallout between them. I’ve got to ask Shicchan again about this.

Enter the dressing room. Get changed. Do the stretching inside the dressing room. Go to the main area. Wear my goggles. 400 meters freestyle.

I never participated in the Aquatic Meet. I probably would have gotten several medals if I were to compete, but I didn’t want students and staff laughing at my obesity. I also had loads of Student Council work to do.

Given that this is my last year in Yamaku, maybe I should have competed this year. I didn’t. A few medals would have been great memory. Oh well.

Maybe I can compete when I get into university.

Last week the Center Test results were released. Except for Inoue, who couldn’t attend it due to an epileptic seizure an hour before the Center Test (which incapacitated her for almost two days), everybody passed. Thanks to those cramming sessions in the Student Council room, and Hicchan’s Math strategies, I earned my recommendation to the US. Hicchan and Shicchan both passed with merit, with a star next to their transcripts.

Miura and Ikezawa also passed. Miura immediately dragged Hicchan to celebrate with her and her friends in the city. Ikezawa, however, didn’t look happy at all. I didn’t even hear her talking to Inoue. She left the class five minutes from time, as usual.

I’m done with the warm-up, let’s move on to the main. I’m going to practice Butterfly today. Since it’s quite a tiring stroke, I’ll swim for only 400 meters, with 400 meters of breaststroke in-between. So, I’ll swim to the other side using Butterfly, then come back using breaststroke. Repeat and that’s it~.

***********************

Hicchan didn’t come to dinner tonight. Just me and Shicchan. We decided to cook our own dinner instead of getting food from second-year students. We’re now eating in the common room.

We didn’t get to talk much during the dinner preparations because our hands were busy. Now that we’re eating, we can talk with our left hands.

[Shicchan, how’s your studying?]

Shicchan adjusts her glasses with her empty hand, takes a bite of her onigiri (rice ball), and signs.

[I think I’m ready for the exam! I did several practice exams, and I scored 78 on average. I wanna push it to 80 by this weekend.]

[Great! Remember, I always root for you, Shicchan!]

[Thanks. How about you? How’s the new Student Council?]

[We’ve been doing great! They already drafted the annual event calendar, and I read it already. They want to get your approval after you finish your exam.]

[Did they just copy from our template?]

[No. They added several events. The Halloween Ghost House stands out the most. They said they’ll try to incorporate Room Escape elements in it.]

[Room Escape? Interesting! I wanna play! I wanna play!]

[You can come back if you don’t have a class in the university on that day.]

[I’ll try to schedule.]

[Awwwww… I wanna play too~~ Oh well, you and Hicchan can play on my behalf.]

Upon mention of Hicchan’s name, I see Shicchan’s smile falters just a little bit.

[You can fly back to Japan if you want to.]

[Nah. We’ll see though. I’ll bet they have some cool events in the university during Halloween time too. Especially in the US.]

[What do they do in the US?]

[I heard that some students will run naked all over the school ground, only covered by soap bubbles~. Others will try to shoot water at them to remove the bubbles~!]

[What a weird game. You’re not doing it, are you?]

[Of course not~! I might attend a cosplay party though. I’ll wear a hat, bring a wand, and pretend to be a witch~!]

[Fits you. Hope you enjoy your time in the US.]

We don’t have much time left. In one month we’ll graduate and I’ll leave Japan. I don’t know whether our friendship can maintain after we separate. I’ll definitely try my best. It’s nice to see all three of us pretty much already settled down. I’ve earned my recommendation letter. Shicchan and Hicchan are almost certain to pass the Entrance Exam and enter Kasshoku, with or without scholarship. The new Student Council has settled down and should be running smoothly too.

The only remaining issue is Shicchan’s relationship with Hicchan.

I decide to use the direct approach.

[Why didn’t Hicchan come?]

[He said he had to study.]

[He’s been studying really hard, hasn’t he?]

[Yes. He really wants the scholarship.]

[Don’t you think he’s been studying too much?]

[It’s now or never. I can’t blame him.]

[He’s skipped a few runs with you. Do you feel disappointed?]

[A bit. But I can understand.]

It’s such a struggle to talk to her about Hicchan, but I have to be brave. We don’t have much time left.

I focus my eyes on hers. It’s now or never.

[Shicchan, can we talk?]

Shicchan seems to understand what I mean by “talk”. She ponders for a while, raises her hands to sign but hesitates.

I’m determined!

[Shicchan!]

Eventually Shicchan gives in. She points towards her dorm room.

[Alright. In my room then.]

We tidy up the table and proceed to Shicchan’s room.

Believe it or not, it’s been quite a while since I visited Shicchan’s room. Before the Center Test, I was always busy with supplementary classes and Mutou’s tutorials; after the Center Test, I am occupied by Student Council business while Shicchan always stays late studying in the same room.

Her room is, as always, much tidier than mine. “Stylish” is the best way to describe it. But the object that sticks out the most is the purple toy cat Hicchan won for her. It’s sitting next to the pillow on the edge of the bed. Does she hug the cat while sleeping?

Shicchan sits on the bed while I pull a chair to sit down after closing and locking the door. I should start first.

[So… You and Hicchan…]

Shicchan frowns and glares at me.

[Why do you have to ask?]

Ordinarily, I would have been intimidated by her death glare. But I’m determined this time.

[Shicchan! Don’t you realize we don’t have much time left? After one month we’ll be graduating, and I’ll be at least twelve hours of flight away from you for at least four years. I want you to be happy when I leave Japan~!]

[I’m happy.]

Why are you always so stubborn?

[You’re not! I’m not stupid! When I mentioned Hicchan’s name, your smile instantly dropped. You can hide it against anyone else, but not me! Because I’m your best friend! Heck, I think Hicchan would have noticed as well.]

Shicchan looks defeated. She slumps her shoulders and signs unwillingly.

[Fine. What do you want to know?]

[What else? What happened between you and Hicchan?]

[Nothing.]

I almost want to grab her hands already!

[Tell me the truth, Shicchan. We’re best friends, aren’t we?]

[It’s… true. Really. Nothing happened. I’m just… just… thinking about stuff.]

What the hell is she thinking of?

[What are you thinking? Shouldn’t you two focus on your exams now?]

[We are. I’m just… You know, I promised you and the boy that I’ll consider my relationship with him after the exams.]

[Yup. And Hicchan did everything you’ve asked for!! I don’t see any reason you want to reject him or anything. It’s a straightforward decision~!]

[He’s doing great. I’m satisfied. The problem is on my side.]

[Shicchan… You…]

[No. I’ve been reflecting on the past few months during my study breaks. I just feel like I’m not yet ready for a relationship.]

[What!?]

[Didn’t you also tell me the other day? I don’t know how to be a girlfriend. All I’ve done over the past few months were Student Council and studying. I pulled him to my side, and then I pushed him away. I don’t think I’m ready to have a boyfriend.]

[Don’t say that, Shicchan~. Everyone needs to learn~. You’ve been doing great! You see how Hicchan changed over time. You’re taking good care of him~]

[I dunno. There is simply too much at stake right now. We’re still students, we have schoolwork to deal with; we have our own disabilities, which may hamper us when we enter the society. I’m not even sure whether my dad would support me having a boyfriend with a heart disease.]

[I never heard you worry about the future! This is so unlike you, Shicchan!]

[No, I’m confident I can manage myself in the future. It’s just… you know, my parents used to tell me not to start a relationship until we graduate from university. I don’t think we’re mature enough to start a serious relationship, and you know I’m serious with the boy. I’m playing the long game here. Is this the correct time to be in a relationship? Should I delay it until we come out to work? This is what’s bugging me the whole time.]

[You want to delay the decision until you graduate from university~?]

[Sort of. I’m playing with the idea right now.]

[Hicchan must be very disappointed!!]

[I know. That’s why I’m a bit troubled.]

[But you like Hicchan, don’t you?]

[I admit that he’s been very admiring these past few months.]

[Come on, Shicchan! Don’t you think he’s the perfect partner for you?]

[We’re still young, Misha.]

I’ve no choice but pour out my feelings.

[Shicchan, you must remind yourself that you’re deaf. I know you want to be as strong and independent as possible, but you’ve got to have a person to translate for you if you want to communicate with everybody else. Ideally your future partner should be one who is not deaf but knows sign language. And he must love you as well. Don’t you know how rare they are?]

[You’ve… got a point.]

I lean closer to Shicchan.

[Didn’t I tell you that Hicchan learned sign language just for you? You must treasure him! Don’t you already see Hicchan getting along with a bunch of lady friends? Miura, Suzuki, Inoue, and even Satou; and it’s not like they’re going away: Miura and Suzuki go to Tokyo; Satou and Inoue are aiming at Kasshoku, although Inoue probably needs one more year. And he’s gonna make more friends once he enters university. If you keep pondering like this, you’re gonna miss the chance!]

[…]

[Shicchan, I’m honest to you because you’re my best friend, and I want you to be happy in the future. Please don’t mind me saying this. You know how cool you are, and Hicchan is one of the few boys… well, actually the only boy in Yamaku, who can talk to you. You know Ibarazaki? The other day I ran into her in the dorm’s corridor, and we had a brief chat. She was shocked when she saw you running with Hicchan. She thought you would never have a boyfriend. This is how others see you in their eyes.]

[…]

[Shicchan, if I were you, I would have chosen Hicchan right now!!]

[…]

[This is a life-time opportunity! If you don’t grab it, you might regret for the rest of your life!]

Shicchan finally raises her hands to sign.

[Alright. You’ve got a point. I’ll think about it.]

[Sorry, Shicchan. I… you know… we don’t have much time… so…]

[It’s alright. Thanks for the message. Thanks for being my friend.]

She then pulls me into a tight embrace.

Best friends forever, Shicchan.

Chapter 24: Lip-reading
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri May 29, 2020 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 19, Updated 3 May 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri May 29, 2020 5:37 am

Chapter 24: Lip-reading

When I finally finish editing the letter, I feel a bit sour, yet I’m quite relieved. I know it’s a contradiction, yet this is exactly what I’m feeling right now.
Dear Hisao,

The grueling examination period has finally ended. I’m confident that I’ll enter Kasshoku with no problems, and I think you will too, given how much you’ve been studying. Let’s hope we can both enter with a nice half-year scholarship.

I wrote you another letter back in November. In that letter I requested that our relationship should be put on hold until the end of the exams, and I gave you a whole lot of requirements. I’m extremely satisfied with your performance, and I believe you realize that you have benefited much from changing your lifestyle and executing self-restraint. I'm very proud of you.

That said, for the past few weeks I’ve been reconsidering the feasibility of a relationship between us. When you proposed to me back in Tanabata, I admit I was too rash in making my decision. I was not well-prepared to be a girlfriend. When I was in middle school, my parents told me not to begin any romantic relationship until I come out to work, in order not to negatively affect my schoolwork. They had high hopes on me, always expecting me to be a successful person. I am still under the influence of this mindset. I regretted making such an impulsive decision on that day. Don’t take it the wrong way. I do like you. Very much. That was why I agreed. But we aren’t even officially adults* yet. I feel like it’s not very appropriate to have a relationship with you before we reach “Hatachi”.

On the other hand, you raised a very legitimate question the other day about how I can adapt to the world outside of Yamaku as a deaf person. I’ve thought about it for a very long time. I’ve concluded that the best way for me to rejoin the society is to learn how to lip-read. I’ve made some serious efforts in my previous years, but since I didn’t have a friend who can communicate with me in sign before Misha came, I gave up lip-reading eventually. And then, of course, there’s Student Council work. Now that exams are over, I’d like you to help me with lip-reading. We still have more than a month until university, so I want to practice lip-reading with you and Misha as much as possible. Hopefully by the time we enter Kasshoku, I can study without too many problems.

I’m going to delay having a relationship with you until we both reach twenty, which should be around fifteen months from now. Meanwhile we can adapt to the university environment, study hard, earn more scholarships, and, for you, do part-time jobs to raise your family income.

I know this might be a bit harsh for you. Again, please don’t take it the wrong way. What I’m hoping is that, by the time we hopefully start a relationship, it will be towards marriage and not just for fun. I’m playing the long game here. If you love me, can you wait for another fifteen months? I know you can.

Please, help me out with lip-reading and continue to be a close friend of mine?

Shizune
After making sure I wrote nothing wrong, I put my letter into the envelope. I hope he takes it well.

Now it’s time to go to the cafeteria. Hisao should be waiting.

***********************

Looking at Hisao munch down his boiled egg makes me smile. Silly boy.

It’s been some time since the last time we had breakfast alone.

After the Center Test, we decided that we’ll study alone because our subjects are different. The boy will study in his room, I’ll study in the Student Council room, and Misha will help Aoi and Keiko with the new Student Council in event planning. Although I didn’t see him as much as before the Center Test, I’m still giving him strict orders in daily activities, which he claims to be obeying. I’ll trust him for his words.

Other than skipping a few of our afternoon runs for studying, he’s been doing well. At least he’s having no trouble eating my healthy breakfast.

[Thanks for the breakfast.]

We’re now done with our breakfast. It’s been some time since we last had a chat.

[So, what are you planning to do for the month coming? We don’t have classes, and Student Council work is almost done.]

[Me? I’m going back home this weekend with Miki and Suzu, starting from tomorrow. Other than that, well, I’m free.]

[Why with Miura and Suzuki?]

[They need to settle down in Tokyo. You know, Miki is a country girl. She’s going to need some time to get used to the city. She wants my help in selecting her vocational training. Frankly, I don’t think she needs my help, but I think she wants another person to ensure that she’s made a correct choice.]

[What’s she aiming for?]

[I don’t know. She told me she already has several choices in mind, but she’s been keeping them secret.]

[Not many jobs can be performed with only one hand.]

[That’s exactly what I’m thinking. We’ll see.]

[It must be a big change for her.]

[Yeah. I can’t believe she decided to move to the city. She’s brave. Moving to Tokyo is probably the best choice for her though. She keeps her friendship with Suzu, and hopefully with me, and she can earn money for her father in the countryside.]

[You certainly changed her life.]

Hisao rolls his eyes on me.

[I think it’s more accurate to say that she wanted to come out of her slump for a long time, but didn’t have the courage to face her issues. I just gave her a little push. I was merely at the right place at the right time.]

[How about Suzuki?]

[She’s been studying hard. I think she’s entering university with no problems. But she does need someone to take care of her sometimes, especially when she falls asleep in the middle of something without warning. I think her family is moving to Tokyo to take care of her. Miki can also help. Her university is not far from Kasshoku. We can go visit her during the weekend.]

[We can go to Tokyo Disneyland together.]

[Hey, that’s what I’m thinking too. Ueno Park is also a great choice.]

[You’re going to treat me?]

[Let me think… Alright, if I can get the scholarship.]

[How was your exam?]

[I feel like I can get more than 75 on average. I was a bit nervous during the Math exam, but I got a bit lucky at the end as I managed to figure out three questions in the last fifteen minutes. By the way, when will the results be released?]

[There will be a notice board outside of the administration building that keeps being updated whenever a university releases its results. We’ll keep checking the notice board for the last few days of school.]

[I see. Well, I don’t have anything to do other than the home trip. Do you have any suggestions?]

[I do. Not sure if you’ll agree though.]

[You can tell me.]

I give him a sincere look. This is it. Our future depends on this.

[Why suddenly so serious?]

I take a deep breath and take out the letter.

[For you.]

Hisao instantly freezes. He knows what this means. I specifically requested to put our relationship on hold until the end of exams. And this is the end of exams.

[Take it. Can you read it in your room? Talk to me after you finish. I’ll be in the Student Council room.]

Hisao hesitantly takes the letter.

It’s now quite awkward to continue chatting. Good job, Shizune. You messed up your conversation with your boy.

[Alright then. See you later.]

He stands up and leaves the cafeteria.

I hope he takes it well. I’m nervous.

I’m always a confident woman. Seldom do I get nervous or anxious like this.

I guess I do like him. Much more than I anticipated.

***********************

Misha goes to the city to sort out her migration. Aoi and Keiko are in class. This means I’m alone in the Student Council room today. Which is great. I get to check Misha’s work in the past few weeks. This is going to take a while.



So this is the new Student Council event calendar. Looks pretty neat. Well done. I really love the Room Escape event. I’ll bring the boy back here to play.

I like how they took my template and add in their own style. I’ll approve.

Looks like Misha has done a lot of school administration stuff for me. I need to check her work though.



Calculation error. Silly Misha, why didn’t you check your calculations on the computer? Oh well, Math is never her strong suit.

Grammar mistake! Oh boy.

Misha, this is double honorific speech**. I know this looks very nice, and many Japanese use it too, but this is grammatically incorrect and is a typical misuse. You shouldn’t use it in a formal letter.

Sigh. Misha, this is the wrong Kanji. The pronunciation is the same, but this is the wrong homonym. How did you manage to pass your Center Test?

Too many exclamation marks! You’re writing a formal letter, not a friendly letter to me or the boy.

If Misha were to be the President, it would’ve been a disaster.

***********************

Finally have everything checked. It took quite a while.

Someone comes in.

“…”

Isn’t this my boy?

[Hi. Welcome back.]

“…”

What’s he saying?

“…”

[What are you saying?]

[“I’m saying, ‘Hi, Shizune. How’s your work?’”]

Oh I see. He’s starting to help me with lip-reading already.

[I’m done. Are you helping me with lip-reading?]

“…”

[Sorry, I can’t understand.]

My boy takes a chair and sits down in front of me.

[“It looks like we have our work cut out for us.”]

[Yes, unfortunately.]

* Note: Japanese are officially adults at 20 years old (Hatachi), not 18.
** Note: In Japanese honorific speech, you should only use one form of honorific speech in one phrase, not two or more.

Chapter 25: Come to an End
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri May 29, 2020 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 19, Updated 3 May 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri May 29, 2020 5:40 am

Chapter 25: Come to an End

“Do you… like me?”

“…”

“…just for today?”

“…”

“Wahahahaha!!!”

Huh!

……

So it’s a dream after all. Not again!

I’ve been seeing similar dreams a few times already. It first happened a few weeks ago, when I was studying for the Entrance Exams. I felt so awkward that day, and I had to skip both my afternoon run and dinner with Shizune and Misha, lying to them that I had to focus on studies. Shizune wasn’t happy about it. It happened again a couple more times afterwards.

The bad thing is: I know exactly why this happens.

Anyway, let’s get myself ready for another day of lip-reading tutorial.

***********************

Breathe in, breathe out.

What a nice weather! I love fresh air. Let’s stay here for a while before heading back.

The roof has been one of my favorite places during my stay in Yamaku. Unfortunately, because of cold temperature for the past two months, it’s almost impossible to stay here for a prolonged amount of time without catching a cold. Now that winter is ending and spring is approaching, I can come up here to take a break from Shizune’s lip-reading tutorial sessions.

The roof. The place I started to communicate with Shizune. I still remember the fireworks on that day. She was spreading her arms out wide, asking me to enjoy the beautiful moment.

The roof. The place Misha asked me if I liked Shizune in the morning of the Tanabata festival. I proposed to Shizune later that day.

The roof. The place Misha and I had a serious talk after our critical mistake. She unveiled to me her crush towards Shizune and the rejection. She was utterly devastated that morning.

The roof. The place I had a picnic with Shizune. She tried to force Misha to join her, but Misha refused. We ended up eating all the food ourselves.

I haven’t been on the roof since then. My fallout with Shizune, all the studying, afternoon runs on the track, trips to the city, I haven’t been short of events over the past few months, and none of them took place here.

I was certainly disappointed when Shizune told me in her new letter that I had to wait for a further fifteen months before we can enter a relationship. I briefly considered throwing the letter away, just like what I did to Iwanako’s letter. On second thought, I realized that she had a point: We have work cut out for us in the upcoming months. Both of us will have to adapt to a new environment. We’ll be living in the noisy and crowded city again, as opposed to the quiet and peaceful Yamaku. We start tertiary education, which focuses on self-learning rather than copying textbooks and lectures. University is a miniature of the social environment, and we need to adapt and make new friends while dealing with our disabilities. With no Misha around, Shizune needs to take care of herself with nobody translating for her. I need to start bearing family responsibility on the financial side. Tough tasks ahead of us.

Luckily, we have each other. I promised Shizune that I’ll stay by her side and share our workload. We also have a lot of help. My family can offer assistance if we need anything. Assume that Lilly passes her Entrance Exam, she’ll be here too. She’s not getting along with Shizune any time soon, but I’ve no problems making friends with her. Miki and Suzu are also in the vicinity. Rin is in Tokyo as well if I can find her there. I’ll have to wait for at least one year for Naomi to join in. Not sure about Hanako though.

I hear the door opening. Someone’s coming in. Probably a third-year student, as other students should be having classes. They will have exams very soon. Aoi and Keiko will suspend Student Council activities until their exams are over.

Sound of a cane. That’s Lilly for sure. I haven’t talked to her for some time.

“Hi, Lilly.”

“Hello, is that Hisao?”

“You’re right. Trying to get some fresh air?”

Lilly slowly walks towards me.

“Correct. It is getting warm lately, so I can afford to come here without catching a cold. How about you?”

“Same. How are you?”

“I am fine. I’m glad that Entrance Exams are finally over.”

“Same here. Do you think you’ll pass?”

“I think I performed a bit under expectation. I am quite nervous actually.”

“You will pass. I’m sure. Don’t even worry about it. See you in Kasshoku.”

Lilly smiles.

“Thank you Hisao, you are a kind gentleman.”

“I haven’t talked to you for a while. How about we sit down and catch up?”

“Sure.”

We sit down next to the fence. Lilly folds her retractable cane and puts it in her bag.

“Nice weather, is it not?”

“It is. And the roof is the best place to hang out.”

“Indeed. What are you doing these days?”

“I’m helping Shizune with lip-reading. In the university, there won’t be sign language translations. Misha won’t be around, and I have my own classes. She will need to lip-read if she wants to know what the teachers say.”

“I see. I forgot about that my cousin is entering Kasshoku as well. Without Misha’s translations, it will be hard for her to enjoy university life.”

“That’s why we’re having lip-reading tutorials now. We still have around one month before the opening ceremony.”

“That’s not a lot of time.”

“Luckily we’re quite free this month. Misha can help out a bunch too.”

“Is Misha going to America?”

“Yes. She passed the Center Test, so the school gave her a recommendation to the US. She just sorted out all the migration details last week. After graduation, she’ll stay in Shizune’s place for a few days before heading to the US for good.”

“I hope my cousin can adapt to the days without Misha.”

“You care about your cousin, don’t you?”

“Shizune and I may not be on the best of terms, but I still respect her and care for her, in my own way I guess.”

“I appreciate it. How about you? I was occupied with Entrance Exams in the past few weeks, so I haven’t been outside of my dorm room much.”

“Actually, a lot has happened to me these few months.”

“Wanna share with me?”

“Can you keep them secret for me?”

“Of course. My lips are sealed.”

Lilly pauses for a while before speaking up.

“How should I begin with? Well… do you remember that day when we briefly met at Shizune’s place?”

“Yes. I think we had a fishing competition.”

“The next day, Akira and I went to Scotland to see my family.”

“So your father is Scottish?”

“No. Mother is. Father is Japanese.”

“No wonder your English is so good.”

“Thank you. During the visit, my parents asked me to move to Scotland with them.”

“Really? I never knew. But you obviously rejected, or you wouldn’t be here applying for Kasshoku.”

“I elected to stay because of two reasons. First, I’m already used to the Japanese environment, and all my friends are Japanese, including you.”

“That’s a nice word to hear.”

“Second, I’m worried about Hanako.”

“You and Hanako surely are the closest of close friends.”

“We are. I love Hanako, and I don’t want to give up my friendship with her.”

“I understand.”

“Where am I? Oh, right. Afterwards, I went to Scotland again during August.”

“August? During the summer break?”

“Yes. And during my stay, something happened.”

“I’ve never heard you say that.”

“How should I say it? Hmm… Hisao, I hope you don’t get scared…”

“Me? Scared?”

Lilly looks quite uncomfortable. She’s trying hard to keep her composure.

“Father… he…”

“…”

“…”

“Like, heart attack?”

“Yes.”

“Really? That’s bad! Especially for an adult.”

“Mother and Akira were not at home when it happened. If the housemaid didn’t discover it, Father would have been…”

“Wow. I didn’t know.”

“That’s one situation in which I curse myself of being blind.”

“Don’t go hard on yourself. At least your father is saved, isn’t he?”

“Yes. However, as a result, he had to resign his job in Scotland. With no more work to do over there, my parents have moved back to Japan to accompany me.”

“Then you can see your family more often and take care of them.”

“In return, Akira has received a promotion and is staying in Scotland on a permanent basis.”

“What a big change in your family within a few months.”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to live with your parents after graduation?”

“I’m actually thinking about living by myself.”

“By yourself? But… you’re…”

Lilly chuckles.

“Blind, am I not?”

“I’m sorry. No offense.”

Lilly laughs.

“Never mind. As you know, I am never ashamed of myself being unable to see.”

“But then how are you going to take care of yourself?”

“Hisao, I’m pretty independent. I’m confident in my self-management.”

“Wow… Well, it will certainly be a challenge for you, but I’m sure you’ll eventually handle it. If you need anything, just call me.”

“Thank you Hisao. You’re such a kind person. But the thing is… I actually want to live with Hanako.”

I see. That’s a problem.

“Hanako? I’ve not heard from her for a long time. The last time I saw her was when the Center Test results were released. Since Mutou said everybody passed except Naomi, Hanako must have passed too.”

“She passed. But since then, I’ve not been able to talk to her much.”

“You mean she’s locked herself in her room all the time?”

“Pretty much. I’m also worried about her Entrance Exams.”

“You mean, she might fail?”

“The story is, I brought Hanako to see my parents at Christmas and on New Year’s Day. I asked them if they can allow me to live with Hanako. I really want to live with her, and I want somebody to help me out in tasks that require eyesight.”

“It makes sense to ask your parents, since I don’t think either of you has the ability to afford a house or even house rent.”

“Father said that he will consider it if we do get into Kasshoku together.”

“That means if Hanako…”

“Yes.”

“Oh no.”

“Hanako is obviously still under the impact of the accident in Kasshoku, which is, you know, my fault.”

“Well, Lilly, we’ve been dwelling on it for a long time already. Let’s forget about it and figure out how to deal with the current issue.”

“You’re probably right.”

If Lilly and Shizune could get along, the two of them sharing an apartment would solve the issue. I don’t think this is happening any time soon though.

“Now that exams are over, isn’t it the correct time to consult the staff again? Mutou won’t be able to make an excuse such as studying for exams.”

“I have talked to Hanako’s therapist. She told me that she’s been keeping a close eye on her, but ‘everything will come to an end on graduation day’.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m not sure either, Hisao. I guess it comes down to whether she passes the Entrance Exam.”

Everything will come to an end. What’s “everything”?

Graduation day. The day when we leave Yamaku for a new stage of life.

Leave Yamaku.

The last time Lilly and I talked, she confided with me a bit about Hanako’s past. She lost her parents at a young age, and she lived in an orphanage before coming here. Lilly said that she was bullied by the kids in the orphanage. This means Yamaku is probably a better place than the orphanage for Hanako. At least I don’t see anybody bullying her here.

I don’t know what happened in the Kasshoku open day, but certainly it was a disaster. If I were Hanako, I would’ve been scared to enter Kasshoku again.

To leave a safe shelter in Yamaku to a nightmare in Kasshoku. I can see why she was frightened. Maybe if I were Hanako, I would have locked myself in my room as well.

It all makes sense! How did I not think of this? I guess I was too focused on my exams. And Shizune.

What did Hanako’s therapist say again? “Everything will come to an end on graduation day”. I don’t think Hanako would pass her Entrance Exam. Entering Kasshoku must be a nightmare for her. I don’t know where she would be going after graduation. I don’t think she wants to go back to the orphanage. Then what?

“Lilly, I think I have some thoughts to share with you.”

Chapter 26: Fateful Encounter
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri May 29, 2020 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 23, Updated 27 May 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri May 29, 2020 5:42 am

Chapter 26: Fateful Encounter

I can’t sleep.

I’ve been awake since like 4am.

I’ve been rolling on my bed for almost two hours. I don’t think I’m getting any more sleep.

Let’s wake up.

The good thing about waking up early is that nobody is going to share the bathroom with you, so I don’t need to worry about getting sniped by someone like Kenji, which is definitely not fun.

Let’s tidy myself up. My parents are coming today after all.

Yes, today is graduation day.

But the more important thing is, today is the release of Entrance Exam results of the remaining universities, which unfortunately includes Kasshoku.

No matter what, today is my last day in Yamaku.

I already have everything packed up yesterday. Only need to check my results, change my clothes, attend the ceremony to get my diploma, and my parents will accompany me back to Chiba tonight.

I’ll miss this place. Tonight I’ll be back in the crowded and noisy city, and I’m not sure how long it will take me to get used to the busy environment again.

Fortunately, I’ll have many of my friends coming to the city with me. Shizune, Miki, Suzu, and Lilly. All are my close friends. That’s why I’m feeling like it’s not as bad as it seems.

I’ll miss Misha, of course. Naomi too.

Let’s get some fresh air outside. A walk near the school gate is always nice.

***********************

Today is the last time I’m breathing in the fresh air of Yamaku as a student. I plan to come back some time in the future, but I won’t be a student any more.

The garden. So quiet in the morning, that I can even hear buzzing sounds of bugs nearby. Such a tranquil place.

Brings back memories.

Half a year ago, I proposed to Shizune at the exact same spot. That night was also very quiet. She was so beautiful.

She is still very pretty. Very adorable.

Even though we’re not a couple any more, we’ll most likely attend the same university as close friends, and hopefully, after another fourteen months, we’ll be holding hands again.

I am very much looking forward to that day. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

I hear some noise from afar. Someone’s here?

It could be Shizune, but why is she coming here so early?

Noise of something with wheels or rollers. Probably some luggage. Today’s graduation day after all.

But so early in the morning? It’s not even 6:30am.

I decide to check it out. It’s probably a third-year student.

When I approach the gate, I find a tall girl pulling two pieces of luggage towards the entrance gate. The girl has long hair, and is wearing a denim jacket.

Wait. This means she must be…

“Huh!”

The tall girl notices me, and she’s obviously startled.

My first reaction is to try to be calm and just say hi.

“Hey!”

Frightened, she tries to run away, leaving her luggage behind.

I raise a hand and am about to call her name, but before I can say anything, she trips and falls.

“Arrgh!”

Oh no!

I immediately run towards her.

“Are you alright?”

She tries to lift herself up to run away from me, but her left leg doesn’t obey.

“Don’t worry. I’m not hurting you or anything.”

The girl gives a deep sigh, pauses for a while, then rolls herself to sit on the ground. Her left leg is hurt.

The water fountain is not far away from here.

“I’m sorry to startle you. I’ll bring you to the fountain to wash your wound.”

She shakes her head and tries to get up again, to no avail.

I sigh.

“Hanako, I’m not eating you or anything. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“…”

“Look, I’m here just to breathe in some fresh air, as I can’t sleep. I’m not ambushing you. This place serves me some wonderful memories, so I’m just trying to relive it before I leave Yamaku.”

“…”

“Anyway, let’s get your wound taken care of. I’m partially responsible for this, so I have to redeem myself.”

“…”

Well, it’s time for some guilt-tripping.

“Look, Hanako, you don’t want me to leave Yamaku on a sad note, do you?”

“…”

Hanako finally nods, very slightly, although quite unwillingly. I give her a hand, and we walk towards the fountain. I use my handkerchief to wash her wound, then apply the bandages.

I chuckle.

“It’s so lucky that I’ve brought myself these two items. I always bring bandages because Misha asked me to do so. If Shizune gets hurt, I can take care of her at once. The handkerchief… I put it in my pocket today because if I happen to cry today, I can wipe my tears with it. I can’t believe they served a different purpose today.”

Hanako makes a very subtle smile upon my words.

“Hanako, let’s rest for a while. I’ll help you bring your luggage here.”

She obeys and sits on the bench while I take her two pieces of luggage.

I want to talk to her so badly.

Lilly and I have tried to reach Hanako for so long. We had a lengthy discussion a few weeks ago on the roof, and we arrived at the conclusion that Hanako is probably scared of entering Kasshoku because of that accident. This implies Hanako probably failed her Entrance Exam. After figuring out what Hanako has in mind, we tried several times to talk to her. Unfortunately, she never responded to us.

We then consulted Mutou and Hanako’s therapist for help. It looks like she has completely shut herself down against the school staff as well, as her therapist revealed to us that her words aren’t getting through to her any more. According to the therapist, “everything will come to an end on graduation day”, so the therapist’s plan was to talk to her after the release of the results.

Judging from Hanako’s suitcases, it looks like Hanako already perceived the therapist’s plan and decided to run away before any school staff or student can stop her. Unfortunately, her plan failed because of me.

This is probably the only chance anyone can talk to her. I must act quickly.

But how? If the therapist can’t do anything, what can I do?

Think. Think. Think.

Wait. Didn’t I come across a similar situation a few months ago? How did I come through that time?

Mutou’s words echo in my head. “If you want others to be honest to you, you must first be honest towards them.”

Let’s see if this works today.

I might as well try. Things can’t get worse than this anyway.

“Hanako, I know you probably don’t want to talk, but today could be the last day I can see you face to face, at least for the near future. I really want to talk to you, but I didn’t really have a chance to do so. You don’t need to say anything. Just listen to me, okay? I know you’re a great listener.”

“…”

“Yesterday I had been reviewing my time in Yamaku. It’s certainly with ups and downs. At first I didn’t want to come at all, but in the end I don’t regret coming here.”

“…”

“I guess I haven’t told you why I’m here, have I? In the past I never talked to anyone about my condition, but I’m more open to telling others about it now. I treat you as a friend, so I’ll tell you. I have a heart condition. It can be triggered any time. Like a timed bomb. A knock on my chest, or too much physical activity, would trigger the condition and take my life. I’m living on a day-by-day basis.”

“…”

“I was very ashamed of my disease. I didn’t know about my condition until it triggered last year, when a girl talked to me.”

“…”

“I felt like I became a crippled person out of nowhere, and I couldn’t face the reality. That’s why I didn’t want to come. I felt like I suddenly became a disabled person without doing anything wrong.”

“…”

“But then, in the first week of class, I met Shizune and Misha. They were enthusiastic to me, and they eventually forced me to join the Student Council.”

“…”

This is my only chance to talk to Hanako. I should say something that benefits her.

“You might have noticed already, but I started developing feelings to Shizune. Eventually we started dating.”

“…”

“You might ask why I tell you all these, but please listen. After the summer break, so many things happened. Shizune, Misha and I had an argument, and I had a major fallout with Shizune. She decided to isolate herself from us for some time.”

“…”

“At that moment, I was completely devastated. Without Shizune or Misha, I had no more friends in Yamaku. I didn’t make friends with Lilly or Emi. I lost my girlfriend. I was so isolated, without any hope.”

“…”

“I didn’t know how I pulled this off, but eventually I told myself, hey, I’m not doing anything if I just stay here whining. Maybe I can change the situation if I do something about it. I’ll see what I can do. If I play my cards right, with some luck, maybe I can turn things around. I ended up asking Mutou for help.”

“…”

“Mutou gave me some useful advices. I was able to connect with Misha. I was still lost on how to approach Shizune again, but then Miki appeared, and she gave me an idea.”

“…”

“Since I had nothing to lose, I tried Miki’s idea, and I was so lucky that it worked. I became friends with Shizune again. I can’t exaggerate how lucky I was. Because we had exams afterwards, Shizune gave me a lot of advices on how to keep myself healthy and pass the exams.”

“…”

“I admit that I was extremely fortunate to be able to climb out of the situation, but I’m glad that I at least tried to do something at that moment. Now I’m friends with Shizune, Misha, Lilly, Miki, Suzu, and her friends. I’m moderately healthy now, and I’m most likely entering university. If I gave up back then, I would have had no friends when I graduate, I might fail my exams, I might be sent to a hospital again, everything would have been so different.”

“…”

“Hanako, what I want to say is, don’t give up. I talked to Lilly multiple times. We talked about you. We understand your situation, at least partially. We all have ups and downs, and we help each other out.”

“…”

“Trust me, we do. We all had bad times. Shizune’s pretty strong, isn’t she? But during our fallout, she was devastated too. Misha also had her share of bad times. I still remember how Shizune and I managed to pull her out of her rut. Miki pretty much gave up on herself after her accident, and she didn’t really do anything for almost three years. But Suzu and I kept encouraging her, and she was able to miraculously pass her Center Test and find a career path in Tokyo. Lilly told me that she was very down when her father got sick, and it was you who helped her through her hard times. She’s extremely grateful that you accompanied her on phone while she was in Scotland. My point is, we all help each other out when we’re in trouble.”

“…”

“We’ve tried to reach out to you for a long time, so it must be fate that we meet here in the morning. We’re not giving you up, Hanako. No matter how bad the situation is, we’ll try to tackle it together.”

“…”

“We’re friends after all, Hanako.”

Hanako puts her hands on her face as she breaks into tears.

I finally get a reaction out from her.

Chapter 27: Spoiled Child
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 26, Updated 29 May 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:47 am

Chapter 27: Spoiled Child

“Here. Use this.”

Hisao gives me a handkerchief, which I use to wipe away my tears.

“Uhm… I brought an extra one for Misha.”

Hisao surely is considerate. No wonder the Student Council President likes him.

“Are you feeling better now?”

I nod.

He’s so kind.

“Well, uhm… where was I?”

You said we are friends. This made me cry.

I feel so sorry for everybody. Even though I’ve locked myself in my room for so long, they still treat me as friends.

I always thought that Hisao and everybody were simply pitying me, but the words he just said completely shattered my impression towards them. I didn’t know that Hisao suffered a fallout with Shizune but got saved by Mutou and Miki. I also didn’t know that the two Student Council members had their own share of bad times too, and they had to rely on others to overcome their difficulties. I didn’t think I helped Lilly that much, but it’s true that she asked me for help.

When I’m in trouble, I never ask for help. I simply don’t trust anyone.

Maybe I should have trusted at least Lilly. And probably Hisao.

It’s probably too late though. I’m leaving Yamaku and everyone today.

Miki at least had a few months to salvage her situation, but I don’t. I’m not entering any university. I don’t even know where I’m going today.

“Anyway, I suppose you’re planning on leaving Yamaku early. I don’t think this is the right thing to do, Hanako. You should at least say goodbye to us. At least to Lilly.”

That’s so true. I’m sorry!

“You should talk to Lilly. She wants to hear from you so badly. Maybe you two can figure out how to move on.”

I’m not sure if I can face Lilly right now. However, I do have a feeling that if I run away today, I’ll be regretting for the rest of my life.

“Come on, let’s go back. Lilly might be awake already.”

He then proceeds to take my luggage and invite me towards the dorm room.

“Come on. I’ll escort you to your room. I need to visit Shizune anyway.”

Looks like I don’t have a choice.

With my luggage in his hands, I reluctantly follow him back to the girls’ dormitory.

He pauses, turns around to face me, and pumps his fist.

“Don’t worry, Hanako. We’re friends, aren’t we? We’ll tackle our problems together.”

He’s such a nice guy.

We only came across each other a handful of times. We first met in the library on the second day he transferred here, and I ran away scared. The next time I saw him outside of class was when I lost my student ID card and was forced to ask the Student Council; I was surprised that he joined them. Shizune played a couple of chess games with me, and I fled afterwards. I met him again during my visit to Kasshoku, when… that… happened. I’ve since locked myself in my room.

If I didn’t run away the first time we met, maybe we could...

I admit I do like him. But he’s Shizune’s boy now.

I wasted a golden opportunity because of my social anxiety.

He’s right. I need to move forward.

Play my cards right. But do I even have a card now? What can I do now? I’m stuck. What do I even say to Lilly? Her father promised to let her live with me if we enter Kasshoku together, and now I ruined her dream. What will she think of me?

I slump my shoulders and slow down my walking.

I hear Hisao sigh.

“You’re worried about how to face Lilly, aren’t you?”

Wow, he’s… smart.

“Trust me. She won’t blame you or anything. The most important issue right now is to talk to Lilly, and sort everything out.”

Alright.

***********************

“Well, I don’t think I should join your conversation with Lilly. Do you want me to call her for you?”

I shake my head. Actually I don’t even know if I’ll have the courage to go to her room.

“Well then. Let’s hope you two can figure out something. I’m going to meet Shizune now. By the way, please stay until the ceremony, okay? I need your support.”

I don’t think he needs my support, but thanks for the kind gesture.

Maybe I’ll attend the ceremony, but I’m definitely not walking the stage.

The door of the room next to mine suddenly swings open.

“Is that Hisao?”

“Oh, hi, Lilly! Wow…”

Looks like I don’t need to knock on Lilly’s door after all.

She obviously just woke up. Her hair is all over the place.

“I’m… I’m sorry Lilly…”

“No worries. Please wait a moment.”

We patiently wait outside her dorm room. After a while she opens the door again.

“Hello Hisao, sorry for the wait.”

“Sorry for the noise, Lilly.”

“No, you didn’t wake me up. Akira did. She called me five minutes ago. She’s coming in about two hours.”

“So she flew from Scotland to see your graduation?”

“Yes. I’m very happy to have such a caring sister.”

“Indeed.”

Lilly suddenly raises her head slightly. She pauses.

“Is it… is it Hanako?”

Hisao opens his mouth in shock. He must be amazed by her hearing skills.

“L-Lilly…”

“Hanako! How are you doing?”

“U-Um…”

“Well, Lilly, the reason I come here is actually Hanako. I’m going to see Shizune now. Take care you two. See you in the ceremony.”

“Wait…”

Hisao raises his hand to signal a goodbye, and disappears into the stairs.

Well, here we go.

“L-Lilly, c-c-can we t-talk?”

“Of course I would love to talk to you! But would you mind giving me a moment? I need to tidy up myself in the toilet.”

“O-okay.”

“Your room or mine?”

“Y-yours.”

“Then please come in and wait for me.”

***********************

It’s been a long time since I last entered Lilly’s room. Unfortunately, this will also be the last time I visit here.

She hasn’t packed up yet. I think she’s going to ask her sister to help her.

What should I say to her?

I’m so sorry, Lilly!

“Sorry for waiting.”

Lilly opens the door and smiles at me. On her hands are two teacups. Probably our last tea party. Not really a party in this case.

She sits down on the bed and takes a sip of tea.

“Hanako, I’m so happy to talk to you again!”

“M-me too.”

“I am honored to have tea with you this morning.”

“T-thanks.”

We proceed to drink tea in silence.

Lilly is such a soothing person. Just being next to her feels like time has slowed down by at least half. I almost never feel anxious around her. If possible, I really want to live with her.

Now it’s impossible because I flunked my exams.

“Time surely flies, does it not?”

Well, to me it doesn’t. My life has been a nightmare. On the other hand, the three years in Yamaku are better than the years in the orphanage, so time does go faster, comparatively speaking.

“Today our future will be decided. I really hope that I can pass my Entrance Exams. I’m getting nervous right now.”

I’m not. I know the result already.

“How about you, Hanako? Are you nervous right now?”

“I… I…”

I don’t think I should hide it any more.

“L-Lilly, I’m… I’m s-sorry!”

“Oh Hanako…”

She comes over to me, puts a hand behind my shoulder, and holds me tight.

“Sorry…”

No longer able to control my emotions, I helplessly cry in front of my best friend.

***********************

We stay like this for a long time while I sob myself out.

Lilly finally breaks the embrace and hands me a handkerchief.

“T-thank you.”

I wipe away my tears, feeling a little better.

Lilly sighs.

“Hanako, I understand…”

She pauses, probably searching for the right words to say.

“You’re scared of going back to Kasshoku, are you not?”

I nod, then realize that she cannot see.

“To be honest, after the accident, I seriously considered not going to Kasshoku either.”

“W-w-what?”

“But Father did not allow. After hearing about the accident, he insisted me to go for Kasshoku anyway, as this is the most suitable university for me. Mother also supports Father’s judgment. She told me that Father always plays the long game. Which university you enter has a substantial effect on your career. A proper lady should never allow small accidents or emotions to affect her lifelong decisions.”

Lilly’s father…

“Father also ordered me to shrug the accident off and focus on the future. Although it’s a tough ask for me, I’ve tried my best to obey Father’s orders.”

Shrug the accident off.

“He told me that the past is the past, and we should deal with the future. He spoke with such an authority that I cannot possibly resist.”

Deal with the future.

“I know it is much harder for you to do so, but Father’s probably right. Hanako, please, try to snap out of it. Don’t give up!”

My father…

Oh no! I messed it all up!

If my father was here, he would have scolded me to death!

I am such a spoiled child! My parents are gone, so I allowed my social anxiety to run all over me.

Yes, I have depression. Yes, I have social anxiety. But I have no excuse. The fact is I allowed myself to fall victim to them. I permitted myself to think negatively. I did not exercise self-restraint. This is my ultimate problem.

Shizune is the strictest girl, yet she is also very strict to herself. No wonder she is so capable, being able to deal with all Student Council work single-handedly. She is the ultimate example of self-restraint.

I should have governed myself. I should not have allowed things to happen the way it is now. There is no excuse.

Sorry, father! Sorry, mother!

I’m in tears again.

Lilly hugs me tight one more time.

***********************

“T-thank you, Lilly, for t-telling me this. I p-promise, I will try my v-very best to shake off from the accident.”

“I know you can, Hanako.”

“B-but… I don’t even know where I’m g-going next…”

“Hmm… Well, it is probably better to discuss it after the release of the results. I am not even sure whether I can get in, but if I don’t, I probably won’t be able to meet Father face to face.”

“I’m… sorry…”

“Hanako, please, don’t say sorry any more. Hisao said that if we face our problems together, all these situations will only serve to strengthen our friendships.”

Considering Hisao’s experience, it is not surprising he would say something like this. I’m not as optimistic as him though. I always consider everything negatively.

“Hanako, I need to ask you a question. Do you want to enter a university?”

“I… d-don’t think I can. I already know I f-failed my exams.”

“No, what I am asking is, do you want to enter?”

Of course I want to! It’s a dream to study and live with Lilly. I nod slightly, again realizing that I made the same mistake twice.

“Hisao and I both think that you can still enter.”

“H-How?”

“You can follow Yuuko’s steps. She took the Center Test and Entrance Exams this year, and yesterday Hisao told me that she passed. She will be in a university.”

“R-really?”

“You can ask Yuuko about it. Maybe you can become the librarian, just like her! Suits you perfectly. You can study for the exams at night or when there is nothing to do in the library. This is Hisao’s suggestion.”

“I d-don’t know if t-they would…”

“Hanako, the most important thing is, do you want to?”

Maybe there’s hope after all. I never thought about it. When Hisao told me to “play my cards right”, I thought I don’t have any card on hand. I might be totally wrong.

“Y-yes.”

“Alright. That’s a relief. Don’t worry. We will figure everything out after the ceremony, okay? We will ask Yuuko for help afterwards.”

“O-okay.”

Knock. Knock.

“Is Miss Hanako here?”

Is it my therapist? Lilly gets up and opens the door. It’s my therapist indeed.

“Hanako, your therapist wants to talk to you.”

Chapter 28: Title of Best Friend
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 27, Updated 5 Jun 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:49 am

Chapter 28: Title of Best Friend

“Are you ready, Shizune?”

Shicchan adjusts her glasses confidently.

[Of course I’m ready. Let’s go!]

They don’t look nervous at all. Shicchan is walking in big steps, Hicchan rushes to walk next to her, and I look at the two of them from behind. Hicchan looks back at me.

“Let’s go, Misha. Don’t fall behind.”

“Alright Hicchan~”

And here we go, the release of the exam results.

When we arrive at the notice board, there is already a sizeable crowd of students. Next to the students, I see some family members who come to see their children graduate.

Among them I can recognize Licchan, her older sister Akira, and probably her parents. She looks quite happy. Needless to say, she got in. Looks like they’re done and are leaving the scene.

“Hicchan, where are your parents?”

“They’re coming soon. In about… an hour. They come all the way from Chiba after all, a long train ride.”

“How ‘bout you, Shicchan?”

[Also in an hour. My dad is driving though.]

“Alright, Shizune. This is it. We’ll face it together.”

Shicchan adjusts her glasses again.

[Are you worried?]

“A bit nervous, but I should be fine.”

[Then let’s go. The sooner we know the result, the better.]

“You’re right. Misha, can you wait for us here?”

“Good luck, you two~~”

Hicchan and Shicchan give a nod to each other, then disappear into the crowd.

Today’s the final day I’m here. I’ll certainly miss this place.

Three years of memory in Yamaku~~. Three years of Student Council~~. Three years with Shicchan~~. I’ll miss everything here!

Japan. I’m gonna miss you! I hope I’ll be back in the future.

They’re already coming back, both wearing huge smiles. There’s no doubt about the results. There was never any doubt from the beginning, as far as Shicchan concerns.

“You two both passed?”

Shicchan adjusts her glasses for the third time this morning.

[Of course! We’re the first two names on the list.]

“Yes, Misha. I’m so excited to become a university student. By the way, how are we going to know if we get the scholarship?”

[They’re probably going to send a letter to our home. Or the school by fast delivery. If they deliver them to Yamaku, the staff probably already received.]

Shicchan’s lip-reading is getting much better. She should have few problems attending lectures in the university.

“Hey, Hisao!”

Someone calls Hicchan from behind. He turns around, revealing Miura, along with her friends.

“Hey Miki! Hey everyone!”

“Checked your results?”

“Yep. Positive.”

“Knew it. Look at your sparkling eyes. Congrats, boy.”

Hicchan exchanges high fives with Miura and her friends.

“Thanks everyone. Hey Miki, are we going to take the train together tonight? With Suzu.”

“Yeah. We’ll leave our luggage in Tokyo, then Suzu will stay with her family while I go to see dad for a week.”

While Hicchan is chatting with his friends, Shicchan is celebrating with the new Student Council, led by Aoi and Keiko.

Not everyone was happy though. I saw a few students coming out of the notice board, looking utterly devastated.

“There you are!”

I turn around and meet the owner of the deep male voice. My homeroom teacher.

“Hi~ Mr. Mutou~”

“Mikado. This is your last day here. Aren’t you going to miss this place?”

“I think so~ We’ll have reunions though~”

“When are you leaving for America?”

“Next week~~!!”

“Take care. Wish you well in your teaching career. Remember, don’t throw anything.”

I scratch my head in embarrassment.

“Hehe… I’ll try~~”

“Where are Hakamichi and Nakai?”

“Hicchan’s behind you.”

“Oh. Hey Nakai.”

Mutou pats Hicchan’s shoulders, and he turns around.

“Mr. Mutou.”

“Congratulations. You and Hakamichi too.”

“Thank you Mutou. I would not have accomplished it without your help.”

“You have proven yourself in front of me, your parents, and your classmates. Please continue to study hard in the university to glorify yourselves, your family, and Yamaku.”

“Certainly, sir.”

“Can you bring Hakamichi for me, Mikado?”

“Oh, sure~~!”

I approach Shicchan, who is still celebrating with the new Student Council. One of the new members, recruited by the new President, knows sign because his parents are deaf. He helped with the translations throughout this month.

“Shicchan~, Mutou calls for you~”

Shicchan says goodbye to her successors.

[Alright. See you all in the ceremony.]

“Mr. Mutou, I’ve brought Shicchan with me~~.”

Mutou takes out two envelopes. Could they be…?

“Nakai, Hakamichi, these are for you.”

Shicchan takes the envelope. I can see that it’s from Kasshoku university.

Hicchan carefully removes the seal and opens the envelope to reveal its content. A letter, accompanied by a note.

His smile broadens upon reading the letter.

“University Scholarship

I am most pleased to inform you that in recognition of your academic excellence, proven by the results of the National Center Test and the Entrance Exam, you have been recommended by the Scholarship Committee of this University and approved by the donor to receive the captioned award in the amount of 500,000 yen.

Congratulations on your success in studies! Please keep up with your excellent performance in the university.

A check in the amount of 500,000 yen will be ready for collection at the Student Affairs Office (SAO) in a few weeks. You will be informed by e-mail once the check is available. As courtesy, you are advised to write a thank-you letter to the donor. A copy of the notes for the preparation of the letter is enclosed for your reference. You need to hand in the thank-you letter to SAO when you come to collect the check.”

“Notes for preparing Thank You Letter to Scholarship Donor

Suggested Content
a) Personal particulars including your name, course of study, year of study, address, etc.
b) Name of scholarship you received
c) Your gratitude
d) How you are going to make use of the award money
e) Your future academic or career plan”

500,000 yen! Aw... I want that too! That’s like~ 500 parfaits!!

Shicchan adjusts her glasses for the fourth time this morning. Hicchan though... well, I’d say no words can describe how delighted he is right now.

“It all paid off... I DID IT!!!”

Hicchan jumps high to celebrate, then proceeds to give Shicchan a firm hug. Shicchan is startled at first, but then returns the hug emphatically. I can see small tears coming out from the corner of her eyes. I've never seen her so emotional.

He releases Shicchan and does the same to me.

“Misha! I did it!!”

“Congratulations, Hicchan~~”

He releases me and shakes hands with Mutou.

“Mr. Mutou, thank you for all the support. I cannot thank you enough for what happened today.”

“Congratulations Nakai. You now have a head start towards university life. Remember to visit us often during term breaks.”

“Sure, Mr. Mutou.”

Just then Yuuko comes over. She's fiddling with a tiny, modern-looking camera in her hands.

“Hi~ hi~! What are you doing~?”

“I'm just taking photos of everyone.”

“Hi Yuuko. Congratulations for getting into university.”

“T-thanks Hisao!”

[We should take a photo of the three of us. We haven't taken a Student Council photo on school ground yet. Now's the perfect chance. But, if I have to look at this picture a year from now, I don't want us staring back at me.]

“Hm~? What does that mean, Shicchan?”

[Pictures are supposed to capture the moment, isn't that right? Without a doubt. They're not portraits. Just standing around would be so stiff. It wouldn't even capture how I feel. Let's make a pose.]

“Oh boy.”

[Like this. Follow me.]

Shicchan poses like a musketeer, so quickly that I'm sure even she knows it's silly.

“Wahahahaha~!”

“Do we really have to do... such a cheesy pose?”

[I can think of no better pose.]

“I don't like this pose either, but I think it's kind of nice~.”

“That doesn't even make sense.”

She's already urging Yuuko to take the photo.

The flash is off. A red LED blinks three times above it after Yuuko's finger presses the button. Shicchan glances at both of us to make sure we have the timing down. Synchronize watches. We jump.

[I bet that turned out excellently.]

“Now, let's get one with Yuuko, too~!”

“N-no, please...”

Yuuko attempts to flee the scene as quickly as possible.

“Wait! Yuuko!”

Hicchan rushes over to Yuuko.

“Yuuko, may I have a word with you? I need your help.”

“H-help? I... I can't!”

“Yuuko! I'm serious! Please!”

Hicchan drags Yuuko away into distance.

[What's he doing?]

[Looks like he's asking Yuuko for help.]

[Help? Why?]

I shrug.

[No idea, Shicchan.]

[I wanna see the photo quick! We can't get the photo if Yuuko keeps the camera.]

[I guess we'll have to wait until after the ceremony then. By the way, what are you planning to do after the ceremony, Shicchan?]

[We’re boarding the train at 6pm. We should have a few hours of free time.]





(Both of us) [Let’s go to the Shanghai one last time before we leave!]

We give each other a warm smile. If there’s anything I can take away from Yamaku, it’s Shicchan, my best friend.

I’ll probably make some friends in America, but the title of “best friend” will always go to Shicchan, no matter what.

Chapter 29: My Priority
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Jun 12, 2020 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 28, Updated 5 Jun 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Jun 12, 2020 4:12 am

Chapter 29: My Priority

I am a university student! My dream finally comes true!

I was very worried that I would fail. I was not in a good shape entering the Entrance Exam. My mind constantly drifted off elsewhere during my exam preparations.

If I was not distracted at all, I would be very confident of the outcome. I might even get the half-year scholarship.

As it happened, I passed, but did not get the scholarship. My cousin won. I lost. Losing to her is always bitter, but she deserved it. Hisao also won the award. They both worked so hard. They both deserved it. When the President announced their awards during the ceremony, I admit I was a bit jealous of them.

That said, I don't need a scholarship myself. My family is never short on money. My priority always goes to...

“L-Lilly...”

“Yes, Hanako?”

“W-where are you going n-next?”

“I'm probably going to have lunch with my family. Do you want to join us? You won't be seeing Akira much after today.”

“...”

It's probably too awkward to ask Hanako to face my parents.

“Hmm... maybe we can have lunch with just Akira. What do you think?”

“B-but...”

“Don't worry. I'll have a lot of chances to spend time with my parents.”

“O-okay then.”

My phone rings.

“Hello, Lilly Satou speaking.”

“Hey, Lilly!”

Judging by that cheerful male voice, no doubt this is Hisao calling.

“Hello Hisao.”

“Just to tell you that I'm going to the Shanghai with the girls. We'll talk again in the afternoon, okay? You know, about Hanako.”

“Sure. Please give me a call again when you are free.”

“Alright. Bye.”

This morning, after Akira woke me up on the phone, I heard Hisao outside of my room. It turned out that he brought Hanako with him. I don't know how he managed to do that (I’ll probably ask him later). I invited Hanako to my room to have a good-bye tea party, and she revealed to me that she failed the Entrance Exam. I was, of course, very disappointed, but I understand her concerns. Then Hanako's therapist came to find her, and they talked in Hanako's room while I got myself dressed and made my breakfast. An hour later, I went to check the notice board, and found out that I was accepted. After meeting up with Akira and my parents, I briefly went back to the dormitory for Hanako, and she told me that her therapist will discuss her future later in the afternoon. 4 o'clock to be precise. Then we attended the ceremony together. Hanako, unsurprisingly, did not walk the stage, while Shizune and Hisao deservedly received top honors and the awards. Trying to avoid the crowd, we left the ceremony a few minutes before the end, using the restroom as an excuse. When we came out, the ceremony has already ended, and it became very noisy everywhere. We decided to retreat to the dorm room. Now should be the time to call Akira.

“Akira, are you all outside the building? We have retreated to the dormitory.”

“Yup. Lils, the folks are calling us for lunch.”

“…”

“…”

“Erm... Akira?”

“What's up?”

“Hmm... I would like to accompany Hanako if possible...”

“Er... well, er... I guess I'll eat on my own then.”

Obviously she still wants to avoid Father and Mother as much as possible. No worries though.

“Akira, what I am suggesting is, do you want to have lunch with Hanako? The three of us. You won't be able to see Hanako much after today.”

“Lunch with Hanako? Of course, hell yeah! I haven’t seen her in ages! I found a nice Chinese restaurant on the way I came here. Let's go!”

“But Father and Mother...”

“Don't mind them. They'll be fine.”

It’s probably not a good idea to leave my parents alone, but I cannot think of a better solution. Today might be the last day I can talk to Hanako (and that’s only because Hisao somehow managed to give me the chance). She is always my first priority, and today is even more important.

Let’s hope that my parents do not mind. I will have to make amends by spending more time with them afterwards.

“Alright then. We'll meet at the school gate in ten minutes.”

“Attagirl. See ya.”

I turn off my phone and smile at Hanako.

“Hanako, Akira seems delighted to meet you.”

Even though I can't see her face, I can feel a smile coming out from her. It's probably the first time since Christmas she manages to smile.

*********************

“This steamed fish is so delicious! This restaurant is really good.”

“And, of course, I'm the first one to find it. I’ve not been in a Japanese restaurant for a long time.”

“Is Yuichi cooking dinner for both of you now?”

“Sometimes. You know, I’m sick of ordering take-out food whenever I work overtime, so I’m glad that I now have another option.”

Yuichi is Akira's boyfriend. They broke up when Akira moved to Scotland last summer, but they managed to reconcile a few weeks before my Mock Exams. She even drove to Yamaku from her apartment to discuss with me about their relationship. It turns out that Yuichi was keen to move to Scotland with Akira, and after permission from his boss, he obtained a temporary working visa.

As the only son of a family restaurant, Yuichi is a great cook. He has no intention to take over the family business, so he is free to go to Scotland with Akira.

“How's the food, Hanako?”

“It's v-veffry gooffd! I... I lifffke it!”

I can't help but chuckle. It's very rare to hear something like this from Hanako. I hope this treat is at least a bit of consolation to her.

I’m happy that she is enjoying her time. The Entrance Exam failure today probably didn’t hurt her too much, as she already knew her results long before today. I don’t think she even checked the notice board today. I really hope she can figure things out with her therapist this afternoon, and leave Yamaku on a higher note.

“Unfortunately I won't be able to come here again.”

“You can still come back for reunions, lils.”

“That's true. I'll make a note for sure.”

We proceed to eat in silence, which didn't take long at all. Everything is so tasty here. Steamed fish with soy sauce, plus mixed vegetables is an excellent combination. I hear the opening of a can, followed by a strong smell of alcohol.

“It appears that you’re still very fond of beer.”

“Yup. Steamed fish and beer is a perfect combo. By the way, d’you want some wine? It’s your graduation after all.”

I haven’t taken any alcohol since the summer break. I would really like some, but I don’t want to celebrate in front of Hanako today.

“Hmm… Not today, I think.”

“L-Lilly…”

“Yes, Hanako?”

“A-Akira is right. You s-should celebrate today. C-congratulations on becoming a university student, L-Lilly!”

“Hanako…”

“D-don’t mind me, L-Lilly. You d-deserved it. I’ll c-celebrate with you.”

Hanako’s always so selfless. I want to say she deserves a place in Kasshoku as well, and I really want to celebrate with her together.

“Oh Hanako…”

“C-congratulations, Lilly!”

She exerts a warm wave of sincerity that moves me to the uttermost. I almost want to cry, but I take a deep breath to control my emotions. My priority still goes to Hanako. I want to celebrate with her together when she gets into a university.

“Thank you, Hanako. But I am determined. I will be celebrating with you after you enter university with me.”

“W-w-what??”

“Yes, Hanako. You’re my best friend. Everything will not be the same without you. After you told me that you still want to enter university this morning, I decided that I should hold off celebrations until we become schoolmates again.”

“B-but I d-don’t even k-know h-how to…”

“Don’t worry, Hanako. We’ll have to figure everything out, but we’ll tackle every issue together. Hisao told me that as long as we don’t give up and try our best, good things are going to happen eventually.”

“I… I…”

I think this is quite a lot for Hanako to digest, but this is exactly what I’ve wanted to say to Hanako.

“Wow, I’ve never heard something like that coming out from you, lils.”

She’s right. Even though I’m not lack of friends in Yamaku, I’ve always been an independent girl who prefer managing everything on my own. And although I do treasure my friendship with Hanako, I would never say something like that if I was not affected by someone else.

“Yes. Hisao and I had a very long conversation the other day. He told me about his story with Shizune. Apparently Shizune helped him a lot in dealing with his heart condition. He endured months of restricted lifestyle in order to achieve a better health condition. That involved following a very strict timetable, no unhealthy food, and daily exercise. He told me that several times he wanted to give up, but Shizune always encouraged him during his hard times.”

“Hisao? The stray hair boy we met last summer?”

“Yes. And he in return gave her an intensive training in lip-reading, so that she can understand what the teachers say in university.”

“Really? I didn’t know. So our cousin can now understand us without an interpreter?”

“She can grasp the approximate meaning, according to Hisao. He has been treasuring his friendship with Shizune, and he revealed to me that the most valuable thing he has learned during his nine-month transfer to Yamaku was the preciousness of friendships. He also told me about his classmate Miki, who I think Hanako also knows.”

“Y-yes. Hisao t-told me the s-same thing this m-morning.”

“He did? That was a shocking turn of events, was it not?”

“Y-yes.”

“What happened to that Miki girl?”

“She never studied anything over the past three years. Then Hisao befriended her, and a few months later he asked Miki to keep their friendship, along with her friendship with her best friend, alive by graduating together. She was eventually convinced, and through only two months of intensive studying and some exam skills, she managed to pass the Center Test. She’s now entering a job training center in Tokyo to pursue a career of her choice.”

“Two months? How in the world did she pull that off? That was truly amazing, lils.”

“Indeed. I was impressed too. He said that right after the Math exam, having realized that she just passed the exam by calculating her points, Miki hugged him in front of Shizune, and treated him big afterwards to express her gratitude.”

“I’m not gonna lie. I think that was even more jaw-dropping than me passing the bar exam a few years ago.”

Akira passed her bar exam to become a lawyer a few years ago without getting into university. Given that the passing rate of the bar exam was around 3%, it was an incredible achievement for her.

“That’s why we are not giving up, Hanako. We’re best friends after all.”

“Lils is right. Listen, Hanako. I never got a university degree, and I became a lawyer just by passing the bar exam. I don’t think I’ve told you about this.”

“R-really? H-how did you pass without getting into university?”

“Without a university, but not without preparation. I attended a cram school that specializes in preparing people for that exam. And I have a lot to thank lils for that.”

“Oh Akira, no need to mention that.”

“Lils, you’re the one who suggested ditching the housekeeper and using our money on the cram school. That’s a big risk on you, you know.”

“I’m happy that I made that suggestion. And, look, I’m doing just fine.”

“So, Hanako. You see so many examples here in front of you. That stray hair boy treasured his friendship with Shizune, so he worked hard on dealing with his disability while studying hard to graduate with her to keep the friendship alive. That Miki girl pulled that miracle off only because she was motivated by her friends. I passed the bar exam because I don’t want lils’ sacrifice to go to waste, and we obviously treasure each other as sisters. It’s time for you to do the same. Study hard for the Entrance Exam next year, and join her in university, okay?”

“B-but I don’t even k-”

“If you haven’t noticed yet, there are so many ways to try again. A lot of ‘back-door methods’, I suppose. You can take a cram school, or even self-study, like the librarian did. Aren’t you gonna sort things out with your therapist in the afternoon? It will be fine. And you have lils and I for help if you need anything.”

“…”

“…”

“T-thanks Akira. I’ll think about it.”

“Attagirl. Next year I’ll bring some high-quality wine for you two to enjoy.”

“I’m looking forward to it, Akira.”

I think it’s time to change the subject. Hanako must be very tired by now.

“By the way, how's work over there?”

“Pretty good on my end. Yuichi is still getting used to the Scotland culture, but I'm sure he'll be fine.”

“I presume he is going to extend his stay, is he not?”

“Yup. He likes the working environment over there. Koji, on the other hand, isn't doing so well.”

“Koji? You mean our new uncle?”

“Yeah. Unsurprisingly. How can you expect an old Japanese to get used to Scottish culture? It's a tall ask. Not to mention he's alone over there, without his wife. I'm really afraid he might collapse one day, just like… you know...”

“N-new uncle?”

“Yes, Hanako. Because of Father's accident, Koji, who is Akira's boss, is selected to replace Father in the Scotland branch of our company. Since the company needs a Satou as the head of the branch, our grandfather adopted Koji as his son. He is our new uncle now.”

“Which might not take long if things go on like this. I still think this is a bad decision. They could have just promoted somebody in Scotland.”

“But isn't Mother always flying over to help?”

“Yeah, but she can only do that much. Honestly, I think mom did most of the work. Without mom pulling all the strings, I don't think Koji can do anything by himself.”

“It’s rare to hear you praising Mother.”

“She may not be a good mom, but in terms of job competency she’s first-rate. Anyway, I don’t agree with the decision by the board of directors.”

“How about the expansion to the United States? Father put his life into the project, but now he cannot work on that any more. I heard that the acquisition was successful, but somebody has to take care of the business, does it not?”

“From what I’ve heard so far, they’re going to keep the organizational structure in the original company, though I’m pretty sure another Satou will have to take up the top management position eventually.”

“Do we have another Satou for this? Or will we have another uncle in the near future?”

“We’ll see. Maybe you can find one for our family.”

“Me? What does it mean?”

“Obvious. Marry someone in America who can take over the business.”

“Akira! Are you serious?”

“Just joking, lils. But yeah, I dunno. We’ll see.”

“Maybe you and your boyfriend then.”

“If we are to take over a branch, it will probably be Scotland rather than America. Honestly I don’t think Koji can stay healthy for more than a few years.”

“Then let’s hope that you two will become the new leaders of our business.”

“You’re too simple, lils. Even though I’m a Satou, I still have a long way to go before I can become top management.”

“Well, as we have just said, never give up. You never know. Right, Hanako?”

“Y-yes. Good l-luck on your work, Akira.”

*********************

After lunch, the three of us went to a fashion shop, where Akira bought me a new dress as a university gift. It was already 3 o'clock when we finally returned to Yamaku. We first stopped by my dorm room, where the girls helped me pack everything up before drinking tea together one last time. Hanako went back to her room to wait for her therapist, and I promised Father and Mother to give them a tour of Yamaku before we leave the school for good. Starting from my dorm room, we visited the garden followed by the sports field. We then walked back to the academic building, first to my homeroom, then to the library where we met Yuuko, who curiously asked about Hanako. After visiting the tea room, we’re currently on the roof.

“This is the roof. I sometimes come here to study or just breathe in some fresh air, though I like the tea room more. Many students like hanging around here. I think Emi and Rin came almost every day.”

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing

“Hello, Lilly Satou speaking.”

“L-Lilly!”

“Yes, Hanako?”

“W-where are you right now?”

What’s going on? She sounds very excited.

“I’m on the roof with my family.”

“C-c-can you come b-back when you’re d-done?”

“Yes. How was your discussion with your therapist?”

“L-let’s talk about it after you c-come back.”

“Should I bring Hisao too? He wants to see you again before he leaves. Oh, Yuuko wants to see you too. I’ll pick her up too if you don’t mind.”

“Hmm… O-okay.”

“Sure. See you in a while. Bye.”

Hanako sounds very cheerful. Something good must have happened.

“Lils, is it Hanako?”

“Yes. She wants to tell me about her discussion with her therapist. She sounds quite cheerful. I wonder what happened.”

“I guess we’ll have to find it out ourselves, lils.”

“Let’s go pick Hisao and Yuuko up.”

Let’s call Hisao and see if he’s available.

“Hello Hisao.”

“Hi, Lilly.”

“Where are you right now? Hanako wants to see us in her room.”

“Oh. I’m in the Student Council room, chatting with Shizune and Misha.”

“Can we meet up in front of the girls’ dormitory?”

“Sure. We’re leaving school at 5:30, so we should have some time left. I’ll ask the girls to meet me up at the school gate.”

“Thank you. See you there.”

Chapter 30: Friends are Precious
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 29, Updated 12 Jun 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:12 am

Chapter 30: Friends are Precious

As I follow the girls to see Hanako in her room, I can’t help but feel a bit nervous.

I just realized that I’ve never entered a girl’s room in Yamaku. Even though I was a Student Council member (Shizune, Misha and I officially retired our membership today, even though the new Student Council vowed that they will treat us as honorable guests if we come back for reunions), with the two remaining council members being girls, I never had a chance to do any work in the girls’ dorm. With the obvious exception of this morning when I escorted Hanako back here, the only occasions I entered the girls’ dorm were solely to visit Shizune, and I always waited outside of her room, so I never had a chance to see how her room looked like. So, today will be the first, and also the last, time I’m entering a girls’ room in Yamaku, which unfortunately will most likely be empty, given that she already had everything packed up this morning.

This is not the reason I feel nervous though.

I’m still in the process of digesting that fateful encounter with Hanako this morning. I’m pretty sure that if that didn’t happen, we (by we I mean Lilly and I, and probably the whole Yamaku) won’t be able to see her again. The fact that she apparently had a heartfelt conversation with Lilly and was able to attend the ceremony with us (not minding her not walking the stage, obviously) was a big relief for me. I can almost say that this makes me even happier than me getting into university with the scholarship. Frankly speaking, I haven’t had much contact with Hanako, but I still treat her as one of my friends. And if there’s one thing I learned from my nine-month experience in Yamaku, it’s that friendships are precious and I should keep them alive for as long as possible.

That’s why learning about Hanako’s future makes me nervous. Will she attend a cram school far away from Yamaku? Will she even make another attempt at university? Or is she going to find a career, like Miki does? Will we ever meet her again? I’m already going to miss Misha for at least a few years, and both Haru and Yukio are leaving for Kyoto today. Naomi, who I ran into this afternoon, told me she’s making another attempt by attending a cram school. With so many of my friends and affiliates going their respective ways, is Hanako going to follow suit?

Before Lilly led us to Hanako’s room, she told us that Hanako is apparently in a good mood. I’m curious about the solution, if any, her therapist worked out for her.

Lilly and Akira are walking in the front, while Yuuko and I are staying back. Given how sensitive Hanako is, we’ve decided that the two of us will keep quiet while the Satous reach out to her, and we’re not entering her room until she willingly invites us to do so.

Here we are, the room next to Lilly’s and the one I visited this morning. Yuuko and I are staying far enough such that she cannot possibly see us from inside the room unless she sticks her head out of the door. I hope she’s alright. Fingers crossed.

Lilly makes three rhythmic knocks on the door. Sounds a bit familiar. Yes, it sounds a bit like Shizune’s. The two cousins are vastly different in many ways, but there are no doubt some similarities between them. For example, from the way they knock on doors, you can see they’re both very confident females ready to take on whoever is on the other side of the door. It doesn’t come as a surprise, as not only are they relatives, but they are also both daughters of elite members of the society.

“Hanako, this is Lilly.”

I hear footsteps, and, soon enough, the door opens.

(At the same time) “L-Lilly!” “Hanako!” “Yo, Hanako!”

Lilly tries to enter the room, but is immediately blocked by the equally tall girl, who gives her a huge embrace. Lilly flinches at first, but then returns the hug emphatically.

“What’s going on? What makes you so happy?”

“L-let's talk inside, okay? Akira, p-please come in too.”

While Hanako happily invites the two sisters into her room, I’m left wondering if it’s alright to step in. Yuuko seems to share my thought, as she’s fidgeting nervously as well.

“Hanako, we’ve brought you company. Do you mind letting them in?”

Upon hearing Lilly’s words, the soon-to-be ex-occupant of this room sticks out her head and sees us standing afar. She falls her sight on me, and I return by looking into her purple eyes. I realize that the last thing I want to do right now is to look at her scars, which I admit is quite difficult not to do, so I focus on her eyes instead. She gives me a very sincere look before speaking up, with a subtle smile.

“P-please c-come in.”

If she invites me, I’ll accept without saying anything. So I nod and step in along with the ex-librarian.

Right after I take my first step into a girl’s room in Yamaku, I almost immediately understand what happened.

My prediction of the room being empty is quite off. There’s a bed sheet tidily made up on the bed. The pillow is covered too. There’s a lamp and a clock on the desk, although the clock seems to be broken. One of the pieces of luggage is standing at the corner of the room. Every evidence in this room points to the obvious deduction that she’s staying in Yamaku after today.

Is she going to be Yuuko’s successor? If so, bringing the ex-librarian here will actually be useful.

This morning I ran into Yuuko in front of the school gate while talking to Shizune and Misha. The three of us decided to ask Yuuko to take a photo of us posing like three musketeers. When Misha invited Yuuko to join us in a photo, she swiftly fled the scene, but I quickly caught up to her and asked her to stay behind in the afternoon for Hanako. From the discussions with Lilly over the last few weeks, we came to the conclusion that if Hanako does fail the Entrance Exam, she might be able to get some advice from the librarian. So I told her that Hanako might need her help. Yuuko, who is quite familiar with Hanako because she always stays in the library reading books, nervously agreed.

Akira seems to have caught me looking around. I realize I shouldn’t do this, so I look at Hanako apologetically.

“So, Hanako, what was the result of your discussion with your therapist?”

Right, Lilly’s blind, so she cannot make the same deduction as mine.

“Uhm…”

While Hanako seems a bit shy to speak up, possibly because Yuuko and I are present, Akira is eager to help her out.

“Well, isn’t it obvious, Hanako? You’re staying here, aren’t you?”

“Y-yes. I-I’m staying for a f-fourth year.”

Lilly instantly looks relieved, and a smile eventually comes out of her face.

“Really? That’s amazing, Hanako!”

“The s-school decided to give me another ch-chance to p-prove myself next year.”

No wonder she’s so delighted. This is probably the best case scenario for her.

What an interesting turn of events. This morning she was trying to flee the school alone, looking utterly devastated, and within half a day she’s staying in the school with a dazzling face. Despite looking extremely thin and obviously lacking sleep, this slightly childish, bashful, yet serene smile is admittedly quite attractive.

“Wow. I never know such an option exists.”

“Uhm… I think the school rarely does this. I’ve been here for several years, and I only know one such student.”

“Y-yes. I was told that the last time a f-fourth year student was accepted was f-four years ago.”

“You’re a lucky girl, Hanako.”

“Well, I do believe you deserve another chance. I’m sure Lilly and I will be welcoming you and Naomi next April.”

“T-thanks.”

“Yuuko, any advice to our new fourth-year student?”

“Uhm… I think the most important thing is to keep a study schedule and not waste too much time. Since you won’t be taking classes, you have a lot of free time, and you’ll be prone to becoming lazy. I usually study in the library after I close it, or in the Shanghai if I don’t have duty over there. I think you can become a great librarian, and you can earn some money to compensate for the school fee. I can give the school a phone call to recommend you if you’d like to.”

“T-thanks for the advice. My th-therapist said she will plan a timetable for me and give me some l-library related tasks.”

“It looks like she’s already planned everything for you.”

“Y-yes. She said she d-drafted me a full year of th-therapy and obtained the school’s approval.”

“Makes sense. They don’t just allow a fourth-year staying here doing nothing.”

“That is great, Hanako. I am very happy for you.”

“Well, it is truly a time for celebrations. You three get into university, and Hanako gets the best possible outcome. Shall we have a quick drink before we leave?”

“Sure, Akira. I only have twenty minutes left though.”

“That’s enough. Sis, are you sure you don’t want any alcohol?”

Lilly ponders very seriously for a while.

“No. I’ll leave it to next year.”

“Alright then. I’ve got some orange juice and sweets here. Let’s enjoy one last party before we leave.”

“T-thanks, Akira.”

*********************

During the fifteen-minute mini-party, I’ve seen Lilly and Hanako in their happiest mood ever. Yuuko shared with Hanako some of her experiences, and they exchanged phone numbers.

Time passes by quickly, and it’s time for me to meet up with Shizune and Misha. The girls also need to leave.

“I guess it’s time for us to go. Take care. Hope to see you soon.”

We prepare to set off, but Hanako raises a hand. Her left hand, to be precise.

“H-Hisao? L-Lilly? C-c-can you s-stay behind just for a moment?”

I’d better go if I don’t want to take Shizune’s death glare, but I can hardly reject.

“Okay.”

Yuuko and Akira get up and exit the room, leaving me behind with the two girls.

“H-Hisao…”

“Yes.”

“Uhm…”

I don’t have much time, and she knows it too, but I patiently wait for her.

“H-Hisao, th-thank you for everything, especially w-what you said this m-morning. If you didn’t s-stop me, I would…”

“No problem. It’s my pleasure to talk to you again. I just want you to know that we’re here, we help each other out, and we treasure you as a friend. Right, Lilly?”

Lilly nods without saying anything. I can see that she’s holding her tears.

Hanako lowers her head, blushing heavily.

“In fact, m-my therapist saw us th-this morning.”

“Really?”

“Y-yes. She was driving here to work when sh-she saw you t-taking my l-luggage and me limping towards the d-dormitory behind you.”

“Really! Makes sense, though. Today must be a busy day for her, so she came back early for work.”

“She c-correctly deduced what happened this morning, and she asked me to th-thank you for what you did, and also thank you on her b-behalf. Th-this is actually my f-first assignment as a f-fourth year.”

“Assignment?”

“Yes. It is p-part of the one-year therapy plan. I will get assignments from time to time, sort of like ch-challenges.”

That therapist is really something. I hope the therapy works. I smile at Hanako.

“Well, I can safely say, on her behalf, that your first challenge is a success.”

“Th-thanks. B-b-but…”

“Yes?”

“I d-don’t know how I can r-repay you…”

“Simple, Hanako. Study hard and pass your Entrance Exam. That will be the biggest gift for me. And for Lilly too. Don’t forget, she’s the one who spent the most amount of time with you.”

“I’ll t-try. Thank you, Hisao. Thank you, Lilly.”

“Well, I’d like to talk to you more, but I have to go, or I’ll have to face Shizune’s wrath.”

“Yes, Hanako. I’ll… have to go back to… my parents too.”

Lilly’s already in tears. She probably realized that she’ll part with her best friend for quite some time.

“Hanako, I’ll come back to visit you. Take care…”

She’s almost crying. Hanako hugs her tightly.

“L-Lilly, please t-take care.”

I’m glad that I’m the witness to this extra-ordinarily emotional moment. I can no longer control my tears.

I close my eyes. There are only two words in my mind right now.

Precious Friendships.

*********************

“I love you, Shizune.”

[I love you too. Shall we?]

“I’m ready.”

Shizune blushes as I guide her to the bedroom, where we’re going to have fun.

I’ve waited for so long. After so many oatmeal breakfasts and salmon lunches, after so many afternoon runs, after all the exams and what-nots, we’re finally together. There’s nothing more to worry about. All we have to do is to enjoy ourselves.

She puts her hands on my shoulders, and I sit on the bed. Our lips meet. I cup her face with both hands. I’m so in love right now.

We remove our clothes at lightning speed. She’s ready for the main course. She pushes me onto the bed and sits on top of me. While I enjoy watching her beautiful and perfect curvature, she prepares herself for the special moment. I close my eyes to anticipate it.

“Wahahahaha!!!”

“What!?”

I open my eyes, and I see Misha instead! But she’s like twice as tall and must be eight times as big, if my math is correct. She’s folding her hands and laughing out loud. Where’s Shizune?

“Do you like me, Hicchan?”

“Where’s Shizune?”

Misha’s big head tries to plant a kiss on my lips. Fortunately for me, it misses due to bad aim.

“Where’s Shizune?”

“Wahahahaha!!!”

“Please comfort me, Hicchan! Just for today!”

“No!!!”

She grabs my private and starts squeezing it hard. Oh no! It’s gonna break!

“Comfort me! Comfort me!”

“No!!!”

“Com…fort me! Com…fort me! Wahahahaha!!!”

“Help me, Shizune!”

Suddenly, Shizune appears, but she’s as large as Misha, and is wearing an evil smile.

[You jerk! You’re gonna pay for it!]

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!”

Huh!!!

……

No way. Another one of those dreams. Gimme a break!

I must’ve fallen asleep while writing my thank-you letter. Oh no! The paper’s all wet! I need to write another one. Oh well, this one will have to be a draft.

I take a look at my watch. It’s 7:30pm. In a few hours, the train will arrive at Chiba, my hometown. After having “eki-ben” (train box meal) with Shizune and Misha in the train (Shizune doesn’t like dining out, but we didn’t have time to prepare our meals today), I excused myself to an empty seat in the corner to write my thank-you letter for Kasshoku while the girls were chatting, and I apparently fell asleep in the middle of that.

“Sup, Hisao?”

“Miki!”

I turn around and see my good friend along with Suzu.

“What’s wrong? You don’t sound right to me.”

“Nah. Just saw a bad dream. Must’ve fallen asleep while writing.”

Suzu hands me a glass of water. How kind of her. I grab it from her and down it with one go.

“Thanks Suzu, I needed it.”

“What’re you writing, boy? Can I read it?”

“Just the thank-you letter for the scholarship. It’s not done yet, and it’s all wet now.”

“Ewwww… gross.”

“Yeah. Anyway, enjoying your train ride?”

“Yup. Lovin’ it. Hey, have a look at this, will ya?”

“What’s that?”

With her (only) free hand, Miki shows me her laptop with a shirt on the screen. It looks like she’s using a program to make a design.

After miraculously passing her Center Test, Miki visited several vocational training centers in Tokyo and shortlisted some subjects she’s interested in. After a long discussion with me and Suzu, and a visit to Tokyo with us, she decided to go for fashion design. She’s quite good at computers (not the programming part, but the design part, such as media and websites, which primarily use the mouse instead of the keyboard, since typing is obviously an ordeal for her), and she wants her future career to be something stylish, so fashion design is perfect for her. Both Suzu and I supported her choice. After sorting out the registration and related stuff, she’s been delving into the topic throughout her remaining weeks in Yamaku. It’s so satisfying to see her finally having some purpose in life.

I’m no expert in fashion design. Far from it. In fact, my two best friends are always laughing at my sweater vest. I’m definitely not the correct candidate for Miki’s design evaluation. Anyway, the shirt looks… pretty nice. The light brown color suits her pretty well. The figure in the middle looks like a track runner.

“Looks good to me. I think it suits you the best.”

Miki fist-pumps (well, “stump-pumps” to be accurate) upon my words.

“Yes!!! Suzu! I told ya. I knew Hisao’d like it too.”

“Oh. You got me then. *Yawn*”

“Oh no. Looks like she’s falling sleep again.”

“Yeah. She’s been watching me draw this shirt out for like an hour. Don’t worry. I’ll carry her to her seat.”

“No… need… I… can… walk… back…”

And then she falls asleep right into Miki’s arm before she could even finish her sentence. I immediately grab Miki’s laptop for her as she catches her friend and starts carrying the helpless sleepyhead back to her seat.

“Thanks boy. Knew I can count on you.”

“You surely love your new career.”

“When I open a new boutique shop, make sure you come and buy somethin’.”

“With a discount, yeah.”

“Don’t worry about it. You’ll get a VIP card, boy.”

“You said it. I’ll remember.”

“Sure. Just put the laptop here. Thanks.”

After taking care of Miki’s computer, I proceed to wash my face in the train’s restroom. What a terrible nightmare just now.

It feels awkward going back to meet Shizune and Misha.

Of course, I know exactly why I’m having these nightmares. I’ve a very bad feeling about this. It’s going to come back and haunt me some day in the future.

I still remember what Shizune in the dream said. [You jerk! You’re gonna pay for it!]

Just one misstep, and this happens. How long do I have to get punished by it?

My eyes go blind.

“Guess who, Hicchan?”

Considering that I won’t be seeing Misha for probably a few years, this doesn’t feel as annoying.

“Definitely not Misha.”

“Aw… You’re wrong~!”

My eyesight gets restored, and I see my pink-haired friend pouting in front of me.

“I’m disappointed, Hicchan~! We’ve known each other for sooooo long, we’re parting ways tonight, and you still can’t get it right?”

I chuckle. Yeah, we’ve known each other for so long, and you’re still so childish.

“Silly. Of course I know it’s you. I’m just pretending.”

“Pretending~? You shouldn’t pretend in front of a simple girl like me~~!”

This discussion is going nowhere, so I ditch the topic.

“Anyway, what’s the matter?”

“Shicchan invites us to play a game of Risk before we leave the train~~”

Of course. World domination is still her ultimate dream after all.

“What are the stakes?”

“Hmm~~ I dunno. I haven’t asked her yet~”

I don’t want to place any bet with Shizune before we part ways. I grab my soaked thank-you letter drafts and return to our seats, only to find the Risk board already set up by my dear lady.

“You wanna play a game of Risk?”

Shizune’s deep blue eyes are sparkling.

[Let’s play! We don’t have much time left.]

“What are the stakes?”

[You want to make a bet?]

“No! I’m fine with just having fun. It’s just, you know, every time I play a game with you and Misha, you two always put on some stakes.”

“Wahahahaha!!!”

Shizune frowns.

[We don’t always do that.]

“I dunno. You two always have some secret ulterior motive to trap me in.”

“Wahahahaha!!! Not this time. I think Shicchan just wanna have fun~!”

[No stakes. Just for fun.]

It’s… rare. Anyway, I’ll accept. Today might be the last time we play a board game with Misha, so we might as well treasure it. I wonder if Shizune realizes this too.

[Hurry up. We don’t have much time left. Sit down, make a move.]

I obey and start by placing some of my troops in Brazil…

*********************

“Mamonaku, Saitama desu. Next station, Saitama.”

As the driver announces, both in Japanese and English, the next destination, my Student Council friends pack everything up and prepare to leave the train.

This is it. I’ll be facing what Lilly faced a few hours ago: Parting with a precious friend. Or friends, in my case.

That game of Risk, which ended up with a blowout by Shizune, could not delay the inevitable, but it did distract us away from the sadness of goodbyes. Now that the game is over, we’re forced to accept the reality.

After spending nine months together, after so many ups and downs, all the emotional moments, all the hard work we’ve done together, it’s time for us to go our respective ways. I’m definitely going to miss Misha. I’ll also not be seeing Shizune for a couple of weeks. I wonder how my life will be without the two girls.

“Hicchan~~ It’s time for me to go~~”

“Take care, Misha. Keep in touch.”

“Wahahahaha!!! Of course! Don’t worry. I’ll come back soon~~”

She proceeds to give me a firm hug. I freeze.

My mind instantly flashes back to the nightmare I just had.

“Com…fort me!! Com…fort me!!”

“Comfort me, just for today!!”

I dare not return the hug. I’m feeling so awkward right now, especially with Shizune next to me.

Misha releases as I space out. Both of them look at me with a curious expression.

“What’s wrong with you, Hicchan~?”

Of course I cannot say the truth.

“Nothing. Just… I can’t believe we’re parting ways so fast. Time flies.”

The answer seems to satisfy both girls.

[See you in a few weeks.]

Shizune gives me a hug, and this time I can hardly not return it.

Precious friendships, with a blemish.

The train stops, and the girls step off the train.

“Take care, both of you. Hope to see you soon.”

“Bye, Hicchan~~ See you later~~”

[See you in a few weeks. Be ready for university.]

I wave Misha and my ex-and-hopefully-soon-to-be-girlfriend goodbye. As the train sets off and the girls fade away from my sight, I can’t help but wonder what will happen in the future. Will my relationship with Shizune blossom? Will my blunder with Misha come back to haunt me in the future? Will I ever see Misha again? What, if any, will happen to the three of us a few years later?

However, there’s one thing I’m sure about. Something has been formed between us.

Connection.

It’s not perfect, but it’s there. A precious friendship between us.

“Sup, Hisao?”

“Hey. Just waved Shizune and Misha goodbye.”

I turn around, and realize that I still have another set of connections I need to deal with, which means that another farewell is imminent.

“What shirt are you gonna show me this time?”

Misha, please stay strong in America.

Shizune, no matter how hard things can go, I still want you to be my… future.

(Part 1 ends)

Chapter 31: JOY!
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Posts: 72
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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Part 1 Complete, Updated 19 Jun 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:46 am

Part 1 Afterthoughts:

I'm happy I've finished (a phase of) yet another story. Comparing to my previous work, I think I made a few improvements in writing. Some thoughts to share below:

1. Disability: I need to constantly aware of the main characters' disabilities, especially Shizune's deaf and Lilly's blindness. Since I'm neither deaf nor blind, it's very easy to forget the traits and write something contradictory. Also, I always need to remind myself to focus my writing on their disabilities, as this is what separates this game from the others. So far I've highlighted (or at least mentioned) the disabilities of Hisao, Shizune, Miki, Emi, Lilly, Hanako, and Suzu.

2. Miki: I just love writing about Miki, it's so satisfying. I guess it suits my style. It's hard to find a career for her, and the idea of fashion design took me a long time to think of. I'm definitely including her in Part 2. She'll appear as early as Ch34.

3. Strength: I realize that it's best to write to my own strength, and try to avoid as many of my weaknesses as possible. To write something you're weak to is very painful, while writing something you know or have experience on is easy as pie.

4. Like: Continuing from point 3, write something you like. I like Hisao and Shizune, so I focus on them. I'm okay with Lilly and Hanako, but Sisterhood covered that already, so I only do a few. I try to avoid Emi and Rin as much as possible, but I still tried to make a breakthrough on Emi.

5. Plot: I admit I'm not very good at making plots. But I'm going to try exceptionally hard in Part 2 to make a great plot. I already have an outline drawn out.

6. Weakness: While writing this, I've also been reading Sisterhood again, and realize the difference in level between me and Sisterhood's author. After identifying the gaps, I try to narrow the difference by imitating the writing style. I feel like I've improved my writing towards the end of Part 1, especially the last two chapters.

7. Diversity: I love writing in different main characters, a trait I love very much in Sisterhood. In Part 1, I have 19 chapters in Hisao, 3 in Shizune, 4 in Misha, 1 in each of Emi, Miki, Lilly, and Hanako. It will be even more diverse in Part 2.

8. Dates: I've been keeping track of the dates in the story, another trait I love in Sisterhood. By doing this, I make sure that all the events do not contradict. The end of Part 1 is 16 March 2008, which is a Sunday.

9. Completion: I'm proud that I've finished what I started. It's disappointing to see a story starting strong but ended up incomplete. I'll definitely finish Part 2 as well.

That's all I have to share. Part 2 will be more exciting with my own plotline (but still loosely following Sisterhood), a new character, return of a character I love very much, an exciting contest, an impossible friendship made possible, a trip to Hong Kong and Macau, an unlikely relationship, and more drama between Hisao and Shizune.

Best of luck for everyone in the forum,
ShizuneFan2019

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Part 1 Complete, Updated 19 Jun 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:35 am

Chapter 31: JOY!

“Excellent. Remember to put down the unit.”

“What’s the unit again?”

“Remember, the formula gives you the unit.”

“Momentum equals to force times distance. Force is in Newton. Distance is in meters. This means the unit of momentum is Newton-meter.”

“That’s right. Great job.”

“I’m done!”

“Good. Keep this up, and you’ll be fine in the test.”

“Thanks, Mr. Nakai.”

The door opens, revealing the mother.

“Thank you so much, Mr. Nakai.”

“You’re welcome. Your son should have no problems in the test. That is, if you remember what I taught you. Remember my exam tips too.”

“Yup. I remember everything. Always try to eliminate two answers in multiple choice questions.”

“There you go!”

“Son, I promise, if you get 90% in the test, we’ll have shabu-shabu in your favorite restaurant.”

“Yay! I’m super motivated right now!”

“Mr. Nakai, here is your tuition fee for this month.”

“Thank you so much.”

“See you next week, Mr. Nakai.”

“Remember to sleep early tonight. Bye.”

I carefully put the four 5000 yen notes in my wallet before setting off for home.

It’s probably the fifth or sixth time I receive money for part-time jobs already, but the feeling of getting money on hand is always the same: JOY!

My phone is ringing. I pick it up.

“Hello, Nakai speaking.”

“Hi, this is Kento.”

“Yes. What’s up?”

“I wanna see if you can swap timeslots with me this week.”

“When?”

“Wednesday night. I’ve an important family gathering that evening. Can I swap Thursday night with you?”

“Er… okay. So I’m gonna be librarian for two days straight.”

“If you don’t mind.”

“Alright. Deal.”

“Thanks so much. You saved me.”

“No worries. See ya.”

So I’ll stay in school tomorrow night and Wednesday night. That’s fine.

I’ve been quite busy since I entered Kasshoku. And this week will be even busier. Tonight I just had tuition class. Tomorrow and Wednesday night will be librarian. Thursday is free. Friday is another tuition class. Saturday will be Disneyland.

And on Sunday, I’m gonna go see the folks.

I hope everyone will be there. I’ll go with Shizune, and we’ll meet Miki and Suzu in the train. Lilly’s going too, to visit Hanako, although we’ll travel separately (so she doesn’t have to tolerate Shizune throughout the trip). Naomi will be there too. Miki said Haru and Yukio will be there waiting for us. I don’t know about the others though, especially Emi and Rin. I’d like to meet them if possible.

My phone rings again. Let’s pick it up.

“Hello.”

“May I talk to Hisao Nakai?”

“Yes, Nakai speaking.”

“This is Shinji Tanaka, a second year student in the Science Faculty.”

“Yes?”

“I am calling to see if you are interested in joining the JUSC.”

“J… U… SC?”

“Which stands for Joint University Science Contest.”

“Oh.”

“It’s a quiz contest between 27 universities in Japan. It’s held once a year, the first time being two years ago. Starting from this year, the whole contest will be broadcasted on television.”

“I see.”

“We’re in need of first-year students who can possibly compete for three or four years. The Science Faculty told us that you are one of the best first-year students, so we invite you. Do you want to join?”

“It certainly sounds attractive. What are the rules?”

“It’s a bit complicated. We have training sessions every Wednesday night. If you are interested, please come to the Student Union room of our faculty this Wednesday at 7pm. We’ll tell you the rules when you come.”

“Er… This week I have librarian duty on Wednesday. I’ll be free next week though.”

“I see. Uhm… Say, do you want to meet us tomorrow during lunch? We can brief you on the rules, and then you can decide whether to join us or not.”

“Er… Okay. So, tomorrow lunch time?”

“Yes. In the cafeteria. The team leader will be there too.”

“Alright. See you tomorrow then.”

“Bye.”

Huh, JUSC. Pretty interesting. I like it.

***********************

It’s already 9:30pm when I return home. After taking a shower and doing some housework, I sit in front of the computer screen and open the chat box. I have around half an hour left.

It should be early in the morning over there, like 8:30am.

Yup. She’s online already.

{Hi, Misha.}

{Hi, Hicchan~}

{Good morning. What are you doing?}

{I just finished my morning swim~. Class starts at 10am today.}

About two months ago, I waved Misha goodbye at the train station on graduation day. She stayed in Shizune’s place for a week before heading back to America to meet her family. Although she already obtained a recommendation to New York, for American universities term starts in September rather than April. The organization that sponsored Misha to Yamaku (to become a sign language teacher) arranged a college for her to patch up on her English and teaching skills before term starts.

{Of course. I always mix up. Here classes always start at 9am.}

{In America you can make your own timetable, remember?}

{Yeah, you told me. So you still have a lot of time before class.}

{I’ve a test later this afternoon, so I have to study now.}

{Oh. I didn’t know. Study hard then. Wish you good luck.}

{Thanks~. How about you?}

{Just finished my tuition. Waiting for Shizune to go online.}

{Have fun you two. Talk to you later~.}

{Sure. See you soon.}

Just after I close the dialog box, I see Shizune online. I’ll prompt her.

{Hi, Shizune.}

{You’re late! I waited for like an hour!}

{Really? I’m so sorry! I had a tutorial class today. Did you forget?}

{Oh no! I forgot! Sorry…}

{It’s okay. Just got my tuition fee from the mother.}

{Really? How much? How much?}

{You really wanna know?}

{I wanna see if I earn more than you.}

Shizune’s competitiveness hasn’t changed a bit after entering university. I like it though. It’s pretty much her trademark.

{You earn money too? I didn’t know. You never told me.}

{I just started the job. Gotta pay rent, you know.}

{What do you work for?}

{Hehe… Secret!}

{Tell me, Shizune!}

{Treat me dinner and I’ll tell you.}

How typical of her.

{Deal. This Sunday.}

{Okay. So, how much do you get?}

{Got 20000 yen for this month.}

{That’s not much. You lost.}

{No, that’s just one tutorial class. I’ve another class on Friday, don’t you remember? And I also have librarian and Disneyland.}

{That’s a lot of work.}

{Gotta pay my medical expenses, you know. I’m free otherwise anyway, so yeah.}

{How much do you earn in a month?}

{Guess what, I never calculated. Wait…}

I open the calculator function in my computer.

{Well, 20000 for Monday’s class, another 20000 for Friday. For librarian I earn 800 yen per hour, I work 3 hours a day, and this month I’ll have 8 days of duty. So that will be 19200. Disneyland is 1000 yen per hour, I work 8 hours, 4 days, so 32000. That will be 91200 in total.}

{That’s quite a lot of money. You got me. I lost!}

{How much do you earn?}

{Secret!}

{No! I already told you, so it’s fair that you tell me as well.}

{Hmm… alright. 80000.}

{Not too bad. But I work longer hours, so it makes sense.}

{I’m very happy to see you helping your family like this. Thumbs up!}

{To be honest I’m quite proud of myself too. It’s your idea though, so credits to you.}

{Hmm… You know what? Disneyland is too tiring. I’ve got an idea. I’ll introduce you another job on Saturdays. Pays better.}

{And that is?}

{I’ll tell you tomorrow, after our afternoon run.}

{Sure. But I have librarian duty at 6:30, so we only have, like, an hour to have dinner and talk.}

{That’s enough. By the way, did you run this afternoon?}

{I did. Thanks for asking.}

{Good. I trust your words. Remember to take care of your health.}

{Don’t worry. You’ll join me tomorrow, won’t you?}

{Definitely.}

{It’s 11 o’clock now. We should sleep. See you tomorrow.}

{See you. Bye.}

I turn off the dialog box, shut down the computer, and prepare to sleep.

I’ve moved back home for around two months. I’m still getting used to university life, but I think I’ve been managing it quite well. I still keep my promise of living a healthy lifestyle. Every morning I get up at 7 o’clock. Sometimes mom cooks me breakfast, and sometimes I do it myself. I have oatmeal for breakfast at least twice a week. I try my best to leave home before eight, to avoid rush hour traffic. Commuting to school takes around half an hour, so I usually arrive at Kasshoku at 8:30. Then I go to the computer room to check my e-mails and print the lecture notes for the day’s classes, and print out my homework for submission if necessary.

After classes end, I usually have afternoon runs with Shizune. Then I take a quick shower and have early dinner. If I have tutorial class, I’ll leave school after dinner; if I have librarian duties, I’ll stay in the school until 9:30. Usually I arrive home at 10pm. I take a longer shower, manage my stuff or chat with Shizune and Misha online, and sleep at 11pm.

My tight schedule means that I don’t have much time for homework. I usually complete them during lunch breaks, during my librarian duties when I have nothing to do, or on Sundays. Such a busy schedule would be impossible if I didn’t adopt Shizune’s lifestyle half a year ago, but now I’m quite used to it, and I haven’t had any heart problem since I entered university.

This week is a very special week. One year ago, I embarked a new journey as a disabled person in Yamaku high school, and there I met Shizune and Misha, two of my closest friends. We shared a beautiful moment in the Yamaku festival watching fireworks on the roof at night. The festival is coming back this Sunday, and all of us decided to have a reunion over there. I’ll be able to see Mutou, my homeroom teacher who brought me into the science world. I’ll meet the Nurse and have a quick body check. I’ll also meet Hanako, who’s studying a fourth year and preparing for another shot at Kasshoku’s Entrance Exams. Naomi, who’s studying in a cram school near her hometown, is coming back too. Of course I’ll also meet Miki and her friends. We’re going to have so much fun.

My precious friends. Let’s be friends forever.

Chapter 32: Too Weak Too Slow
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Ch31, Updated 9 Sep 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:59 am

Chapter 32: Too Weak Too Slow

[Do you know the syllabus of the test next week?]

[Isn’t it Chapters One through Six?]

[I thought it was One through Seven.]

[Gimme a sec. I have it written down on my notepad. Hmm… Yes, it’s One through Six. No need to study Chapter Seven just yet.]

[Thanks. Have you studied for it?]

[I’ll do it tomorrow.]

[Just let you know, I’m winning this time.]

[Are you sure? I’m not weak.]

[Wanna put a wager on it?]

She frowns at me.

[Why d’you like betting so much? I don’t get it.]

[Doesn’t it make the contest more interesting?]

[No. It just makes the test even more stressful. The test itself is pressuring enough. I don’t wanna torture myself further.]

[That’s disappointing. I’ll have to compete with Hisao then.]

[You’re studying different subjects. How can you compare your test scores with his? That’s not fair at all.]

[Who else can I compete with, then?]

[Do you die if you don’t compete?]

[Uhm… maybe.]

[Then die. Don’t bother with me.]

Akemi looks frustrated. I probably went too far.

[I’m sorry… I just want both of us to be motivated.]

Akemi folds her hands in disgust.

[Shizune, not everybody wants to be motivated this way. I think Hisao is the only one in our group who can take on your challenges. You don’t lock horns with everybody else. You learn to make friends with them.]

Misha told me the exact same thing a few months ago. With the same body language too. The only difference is Misha addresses us as Shicchan and Hicchan instead.

[Alright. No contest then.]

[We can still see who gets the higher score, but certainly no stakes.]

[Okay. I’ll start studying tonight then.]

[Good. Let’s go to class together?]

[Sure.]

We take our bags and leave the cafeteria, setting off for the classroom.

Akemi is the first friend I made in Kasshoku. We’re both deaf, and we’re both first year students studying business, so the faculty introduced me to her. We discovered that there is a sign language club in this university, so we both joined. Including Hisao, there are ten members in this club. Besides Akemi and I, there are two deaf students in the club, both of them being male. The others can talk, but they study sign language because they have family members who are deaf. I think two of them are brothers, and another two of them are girl twins. Anyway, it’s great to have at least a few students who can communicate with me in sign.

We have gatherings every Thursday night, but Hisao has librarian duties, so he cannot join. He doesn’t really need this club because he can make friends elsewhere. In fact, he joined the Physics and Chemistry clubs and already has a few friends. He also gets along with the other librarians.

I, however, need to treasure every opportunity to connect with people. After all, there are very few students who can talk to me in sign. That’s why I have to be on good terms with Akemi.

Kasshoku is certainly different from Yamaku in many aspects. The most important difference is that it is not geared towards disabled students. Staff and students won’t be as accommodating. I need to make my own adjustments.

I always hate starting my life with a disadvantage. If I want to survive, I need to be at my very best all the time.

I’m not losing to you next week, Akemi.

***********************

[That tempura udon looks delicious!]

[Nope. No fried food, Hisao.]

[Aw… so disappointing.]

[You forgot about last week? You ate French fries, and then you had to visit the restroom four times in an hour.]

[Yeah. I think my stomach is now rejecting any food that is not good for my health.]

[That’s great for you.]

[Easy for you to say, but I really want to eat some junk food like once a month.]

[Maybe you can just chew on them, but not swallow?]

[Ew… gross. Anyway, I’ll have this seafood ramen bowl.]

[Me too.]

Even though I’m now fairly capable of lip-reading, we still use sign language from time to time. This way, he can get some practice every now and then, and I can enjoy the conversation much better.

Since Hisao has librarian duty tonight, we only have around thirty minutes. Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk while eating because signing with one hand is not as natural as using both. So we eat our dinner quickly.

[Shizune, I have something to discuss with you.]

[?]

[Today I had lunch with the captain of the team for JUSC, Joint University Science Contest. They invited me to join their team.]

[Joint University Science Contest?]

[Yes. There will be 27 universities competing for the throne of science champion in Japan. It is held annually in Tokyo. The whole contest will be televised this year. It will be a knockout tournament. In the first round, three teams will compete for a place in the second round. This means a total of 9 teams will join the second round. Again, they will compete in groups of three to determine the three final teams. The final match will decide the winner.]

[That’s great! You should join.]

[I’d love to. The problem is about the rules. Today they introduced to me the format of the contest. There will be three parts. First is a written test in three hours, and team members can discuss the questions among each other. The test will not be televised, but the total score will become the starting score of the contest. In the second part, each team gets to answer a set of questions read by the moderator. There is a time limit. Try to answer as many questions correctly as possible. Each question is worth 20 points, and no penalty for wrong answers.]

I nod. Looks really cool.

[Should be fun.]

[The real issue is the third part. It is a “hayaoshi” quiz.]

[“Hayaoshi?”]

[The moderator reads the question. Whoever presses the button first can answer the question. The time limit is five seconds. A correct answer gives 30 points, but a wrong answer costs you 20 points. If one team answers incorrectly, one of the other two teams has a chance to answer it a second time. A correct answer gives 20 points, and a wrong answer is minus 10.]

[Sounds interesting.]

[The problem is, I don’t know if my heart can take on such an exciting quiz contest, especially when it is televised, and the school’s image is on the line.]

[Have you told them about your heart issue?]

[No. In fact, I’ve never told anybody in the university about my heart condition, except the school’s head nurse.]

[I think you should tell at least some of your friends about yourself. To protect yourself against accidents. Also, if in case your heart acts up, they can at least call the ambulance.]

[I’m… just… I don’t know…]

[What’s the matter?]

[I… I…]

Something’s wrong?

[What’s wrong? You can tell me.]

Why is he hesitating?

[…]

[?]

[Nothing. Maybe I shouldn’t accept the invitation. I don’t think I can handle it.]

What? This is too weak.

[Throwing the towel without a fight is a coward.]

[…]

[It’s a huge chance. You should take it and try your best.]

[…]

[Come on! Go for it! You should train harder and keep yourself as fit as possible. I’ll help you.]

[I’ll think about it. Give me some time, okay?]

I don’t understand. What is he thinking?

[Alright.]

[It’s time to go to the library. See you tomorrow.]

[Okay. See you then.]

We put our trays in the collect area. He sets off for the library while I go back to my room. I need to study hard tonight if I don’t want to lose to Akemi.

Oh no! I forgot to tell him about Saturday’s job. I’ll have to do it tomorrow.

What was he thinking about? Why was he hesitating? I don’t understand!

Maybe Misha can help?

***********************

{Sorry, I forgot to tell Hisao about the job.}

{We need a reply by tomorrow. Why don’t you text him instead?}

{He hasn’t gone back home yet.}

{Then text him after he returns home.}

{I want to talk to him directly. Discussing this in text seems weird.}

{Hey, we’re in the 21st century. Everyone uses text. Heck, we’re using text right now. It’s not weird.}

{Alright, alright. I’ll try to reach him later tonight.}

{Hurry up. The director needs an answer tomorrow.}

I hate using text. Especially when discussing important matters like jobs. This is one of the times I wish I could make a phone call. It’s been only two months since I re-enter social life, and I’m already feeling my disability everywhere. Oh well, I have to adapt. I’m not in Yamaku anymore.

Hey, Misha’s online. I didn’t get to talk to her since last Friday.

{Hi Misha.}

{Shicchan!}

I wonder how long it will take for her to learn to address me properly.

{Getting ready for class?}

{Yup.}

{How was the test yesterday?}

{I don’t think I did very well. I left a few questions blank.}

{You should have studied harder. Where did you go last weekend anyway?}

{Uhm… I went to travel with my friends. We went on a three-day trip starting from Friday.}

{You went to travel knowing that a test was coming?}

{I… I can’t resist…}

Still so childish.

{You can’t start your American life like this. Didn’t we promise each other to become the best students in our respective schools?}

{Uhm… Yes… Alright, I’ll make it up next time.}

{Make sure you really study hard for the next test, or I’ll get angry with you.}

{Okay, don’t get angry Shicchan. I promise I won’t play around next time.}

I don’t have much time, so I’ll go straight into the topic.

{By the way, I need your advice.}

{My advice?}

{Yes. I talked to Hisao today. I don’t understand. What’s wrong with him?}

{What happened?}

{I’ll tell you.}

***********************

I wrote a long paragraph telling her what happened between us during dinner.

{Sigh. Shicchan, you’re too slow.}

{Me? Slow? I’m not slow. I responded to him pretty fast.}

{No. I mean, how could you not understand Hicchan’s worries? You’ve known him for a year already.}

{Tell me! I’m lost!}

She pauses for a bit before replying.

{You remember? How long did it take for Hicchan to tell us about his condition?}

{Hmm… Around four months.}

{And he told us only because we’re very good friends. He’s obviously still uneasy talking about his condition. How can you expect him to reveal this to some random student he has known for only a few weeks?}

{I thought he got over with it already.}

{Remember, Shicchan, this is Kasshoku University, not Yamaku High School. In Yamaku, everybody has a disability (except me), so it’s easier for him to be honest about his condition. In Kasshoku, almost nobody is disabled. What do you think might happen if he confesses his disability? He might get discriminated. His fellow students might think twice about making friends with a disabled student. More importantly, the teachers might look down on him as well. Come to think of it, if he tells the JUSC team about his condition, I don’t think the teachers will allow him to compete anyway. The school’s image is on the line after all.}

{I didn’t think about all these… Is it really that bad?}

{Hicchan’s disability is more subtle than yours. Once you indicate that you cannot hear, everybody will instantly recognize your disability, and will either adjust or not deal with you at all. Hicchan, however, looks and behaves like a normal person. Unless he tells everybody about his condition right from the start, nobody will ever notice. Then when they eventually find out his secret, you can imagine how shocked they will be.}

{You do have a point. What should I do then?}

{If I were you, I would encourage him, but let him make his own decision.}

{Make sense. Thanks for the help.}

{Sure.}

Misha’s been very nice to me ever since we knew each other. She talks to me, she translated for me (in class and after school), she helped me with Student Council Activities and sacrificed her grades in the process, she encouraged me to move on towards a relationship with the boy, and she tries to correct me whenever I fail to understand his feelings. She’s done so much for me, but I don’t think I ever repaid her appropriately. I did treat her a few times, and we went on a nice trip right before she left for America, but those are probably not enough.

I’ll figure out something later.

Hey, the boy’s online. I have serious business for him.

{Hey Misha, I need to talk to the boy. Serious stuff. Talk to you later. Remember to study hard for the next test.}

***********************

{Misha told me everything. Sorry for pushing you too hard today.}

{It’s alright. I thought about it in the library. I think I’m going to ask the Nurse for advice. You know, the Nurse.}

{You mean this Sunday?}

{Yes. I’m going to have a health check anyway.}

{Sure. By the way, I forgot to tell you about the part-time job.}

{Oh yeah, I forgot about that too. So, what offer do you have?}

{Well, I’m now working in a tutorial center in Tokyo. A medium-sized one.}

{What? You’re teaching students too? How?}

{No. I work as bookkeeper.}

{Like accountant?}

{Yes. You remember? I self-studied accounting two years ago, took an exam and obtained a certificate.}

{Oh yeah, you told me before.}

{And didn’t I tell you that in order to become a philanthropist, I have to earn a lot of money? To do that, I need to have some capital as initial investment. I don’t want to rely on my father just yet, and the best way to earn money is accounting. This is the best job for me, a deaf girl. As an accountant, I primarily look at documents and numbers, which I can handle easily.}

{I see. So, what’s that related to the offer… Wait, do you mean I can…?}

{Yes. Teach math and science in the tutorial center. Part time.}

{That’s interesting. I never thought about that.}

{I already mentioned your name to my director. I told him you got the scholarship, and a merit in the Center Test. He’s happy to meet you, but he wants a reply by tomorrow, since he has several new classes in June, and he needs a tutor real quick.}

{I’m in! Thanks, Shizune!}

{Alright! I’ll reply him. If he accepts you, we’ll be able to work together.}

{Sure. Wait for your good news.}

Chapter 33: First Job Interview
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: *Ch32 Updated 11/9* Precious Friendships (Shizune BE, Sisterhood plot)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:53 am

Chapter 33: First Job Interview

[How do I look, Shizune?]

[Hmm… Fix your tie a little bit… Nice! You’re good to go!]

Shizune leads me across the street to the tutorial center she’s currently working in. As we approach the entrance, I can see several students waiting outside, some of them carrying notes. There are a few parents reading the leaflets next to the glass door. Presumably course information. Above the glass door says “Tanpopo Education Center”. I see, so the center’s name is “dandelion”. It looks like the center is not yet open to students, as there is a sign on the door that says CLOSED. Through the glass, I can see a digital clock on the wall that says 8:30 am.

Even though Shizune doesn’t teach, she’s wearing very formally. In fact, she’s wearing the exact costume my mom bought for her. Of course, in Japan we always wear formally in work environment. According to Misha, such a formality would be considered overdressing in America. In Japan, however, it’s a necessity.

Shizune presses the doorbell, and the door is unlocked after a few seconds. We enter the center, and the reception staff greets Shizune with a bow.

“Good morning, Miss Hakamichi.”

Shizune bows politely in return.

“And this is…”

I’ll save Shizune some writing time by introducing myself.

“Hisao Nakai. I am a friend of Miss Hakamichi. She has scheduled an interview with the director for me this morning.”

“Good morning Mr. Nakai. Please come in. The director is in the room at the back.”

“Thank you.”

The reception hall is about the size of one in a clinic. There are several benches on the sides, probably for students and parents waiting for classes. There are two corridors, one on the left and one on the right, leading to several classrooms. Shizune leads me through the right corridor, and I can see the classroom numbers 201 to 206, with the odd numbers on the left side and the even numbers on the right. The two corridors meet at the back, where both the staff room and the director’s room are located.

We arrive at the director’s room, and Shizune produces three rhythmic knocks on the door (which reminds me of Lilly’s knocks on Hanako’s door on graduation day).

“Please come in.”

Such a warm voice. The director must be a kind man.

Shizune opens the door. We step in, and the director stands up to greet us.

“Good morning, Hakamichi. This must be Mr. Nakai.”

The director’s room is pretty small. The only items in the room are a desk with a computer on it, a cabinet full of textbooks and notes, and a locked cabinet. The director himself is a short middle-aged man probably in his late thirties. He has a rather round face. He wears glasses, and has a warm smile. He does not look intimidating at all.

Shizune and I make a standard 90-degree bow to greet her boss.

“Good morning, Mr. Director.”

“Welcome. Just call me Nagase. This is my business card.”

I politely receive his card with both hands. Two days ago, that was Thursday, Shizune was so kind to skip her sign language club meeting to give me a rundown on workplace etiquette and help me practice my manners.

“Please take a seat here. Hakamichi, you may go back to your seat. I will handle things by myself.”

Shizune makes another bow, gives me an encouraging look, and leaves the room, closing the door from behind. Mr. Nagase and I take our respective seats.

Well, this is it. I’m alone. I’m a bit nervous, but Shizune told me last night not to worry. As this is only a part-time job, the interview is not very strict. Wish me good luck, Shizune.

“Welcome to Tanpopo Education Center, Mr. Nakai. I am the director of this center. Would you please introduce yourself briefly?”

“Yes. I am Hisao Nakai. I am currently a first-year student studying in Kasshoku University, majoring science. My strongest subjects are Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. I passed the Center Test in January with merit, and I received a scholarship into the university after passing the Entrance Exam.”

“Thank you. Do you have any teaching experience?”

“I have been a private tutor for two months. Other than that, I have no other teaching experience.”

“I see. Why do you want to come here?”

Shizune said this is a standard question, so I prepared in advance yesterday.

“My career goal is to become a science teacher, and I consistently score good grades in my science subjects. Since I have little teaching experience, I would like to accumulate more experience so that I can explain concepts better to students and help stimulate students’ interest in science subjects.”

“Very well. Let me introduce to you our tutorial center. As you can see, this is not a very large center, and we only hold classes up to eight students. We want to take care of each student who study here, not only in academics, but also their general well-being. We even accept one-on-one classes if the parents are willing to pay extra money. We treat students and their parents as friends, so we communicate with them frequently. The staff and I usually chat with them in the reception hall, so you don’t see me in this room often. We specialize in science subjects, but we also have a tutor for business-related classes. Here are some of the materials for our classes, and there are some more in soft copy. We have ten classrooms in total, six on the right, that are rooms 201 to 206, and four on the left, that are 207 to 210. We currently have around 1000 students.”

The directly takes a sip from his water bottle and continues.

“We want tutors who are caring and friendly, and are also knowledgeable in science subjects. We want the tutors to not only teach, but also care for students as if they are our own kids. Do you think you can do this?”

Interesting. I think I am.

“Yes, sir. I agree with what you said: Treat our students as our own kids.”

“Good. Now, I need to give you a small assessment. If you are good at science, you should have no problem with this test.”

Taking a science test on the spot is also within my expectations.

“Sure.”

“Let’s move to room 210. We don’t have a class in that room until 10 o’clock.”

Mr. Nagase gets up and escorts me out of the room. After passing by the staff room, we arrive at room 210 on the left side of the center.

“You complete your assignment here. I will be back in 20 minutes.”

“Okay.”

Now let’s see what we have on hand…

***********************

The door opens, and Mr. Nagase approaches me along with a young boy.

“You scored perfectly in the test. Well done. No wonder you won the scholarship.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“The boy next to me is the best teacher in our center. Can you introduce yourself to Mr. Nakai?”

I take a quick look at the boy. He is a bit shorter than me, about 165 cm tall. He has an oblong face, wears a pair of rectangular black-framed glasses, and has short hair. Despite having yellow skin and black eyes, I have a feeling that he’s not a Japanese.

“Hajime-mashite. A-ru-bin to mou-shimasu. (Nice to meet you. My name is Alvin.)”

Or maybe he is? This is fluent Japanese I’m hearing.

“Hisao Nakai. Nice to meet you.”

We shake hands, and the director continues.

“He is a Chinese, coming from Hong Kong. He’s very good at mathematics. As I said, he’s the best teacher here. Many students love him. He has helped us a lot.”

“Arigatou-gozaimasu. (Thank you, in polite form.)”

So he’s Chinese? Wow! His Japanese is almost perfect! Although if you listen carefully, he does carry a very subtle accent. Anyway, since he’s a tutor here, he obviously doesn’t have any problems communicating with me.

“Now, as your final test, A-ru-bin (Japanese for ‘Alvin’) will be your assessor. He’ll give you some materials along with a teaching plan, and you prepare yourself for a short tutorial class, with Alvin as your student. Okay?”

So I’ll have to simulate a tutorial class with this Chinese boy. Alright then. I hope I’m ready for this.

“Okay.”

“Then, Alvin, I’m leaving everything in your hands.”

“(Alvin: Japanese from now on, unless otherwise specified) Yes, sir.”

“Have fun, you two.”

The director leaves the room, and Alvin hands me the teaching plan.

“Nakai-san (Mr. Nakai), here is your task. You’re going to teach me basic kinematics. I suppose you are familiar with the stuff here. You know, v = u + at.”

Oh. Of course. Basic stuff. I feel a bit awkward addressing him though, as he only told me his first name, but not his surname.

“Yes. Sure, Mr. …”

He laughs.

“Just call me A-ru-bin-san. Everybody in Japan runs into this trouble when greeting me. I hate using my surname here in Japan.”

“Alright, Alvin-san. So… this is the teaching plan, and I suppose the materials are in this folder?”

“Yes. We have eight pages here. Three pages are the examples, and five pages are the exercises. You try to give students at least 60% of the time to do exercises.”

“I see. Let me prepare for a while.”

“Sure. I’ll wait for you here.”

***********************

“As a newcomer to the realm of teaching, you performed pretty well. There are a few issues you can improve on, but overall there are no major flaws. I’ll give you a pass in your final test.”

“Thank you very much, Alvin-san.”

“I have a class in fifteen minutes, so I’ll drop you off at Mr. Nagase’s room. Hope to see you soon.”

“Thank you. Goodbye.”

Alvin escorts me to the director’s room, drops off his assessment result form, and leaves the room. Mr. Nagase quickly scans through the document on hand, then greets me with a warm smile.

“It appears you are qualified to be a tutor in our tutorial center. Are you willing to work here?”

Of course. Not only will it enhance my teaching skills, but working here also means that I get to work with Shizune.

“Yes, sir.”

The middle-aged man claps his hands like a child. I guess being in contact with a lot of kids does make you behave younger.

“Fantastic. If you don’t mind, I’d like to also ask you to translate for Hakamichi on occasion. She already told me that you know sign language. We don’t need you to translate everything. Only when necessary. Will you do that too?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Excellent. Now, about your wage. Since you’re a part-time tutor, we offer hourly wage. How does 3000 yen per class sound? A class is one hour.”

Wow. This is even better than my private tutorial classes. And presumably I’m going to teach for several hours. If I teach six hours a day, I get 18000 yen a week. That’s 72000 yen a month! My mom must be thrilled.

“I accept.”

“And if you perform well, I’ll consider raising your salary.”

It can be raised too?

“I will try my very best to serve my students with the knowledge I have.”

“Good. We have a few new classes in June. Will you be available next week?”

If I resign my Disneyland job today, I will be available next week. I’ll earn so much more here. Of course I’ll resign.

“Yes, sir.”

“Okay. Now, do you have any appointments for today?”

I applied a half-day leave from Disneyland. I need to go back there in the afternoon, and I’m going to resign the job when I get there.

“I have an appointment in the afternoon, but I am available in the morning.”

“Alright. Alvin has a class at 10 o’clock. You’re sitting through his class. Then you’ll study the materials for next week’s classes for the rest of this morning.”

“Yes sir.”

“Now, follow me to the staff room.”

Mr. Nagase leads me into the staff room. It’s about five times as large as the director’s room. There is a large table in the middle, where two tutors are reading materials, presumably preparing for their classes for the day. Shizune is sitting at a corner, busy working with her calculator.

“Here is the staff room, or the commons we usually say. Tutors prepare for their classes here. Over there are some computers. We have two juniors who help design class materials. And, of course, we have Hakamichi working on admin and finance.”

Upon noticing my presence, Shizune lifts her head from her calculator, and shares a quick look with me. She adjusts her glasses and gives me a satisfying nod.

“Here are the lockers. You may put your belongings inside, and then attend Alvin’s class. Afterwards, prepare for your classes here, and leave when you are done.”

“Thank you, Mr. Nagase.”

“You will teach four classes in June. One of them is a new class, and for the other three, the tutor who was responsible for the classes resigned a few days ago. Alvin’s going to take the classes for him today, but you’ll be filling in starting from next week. Here are your materials, and your schedule. You might be asked to fill in for classes in case a tutor is unavailable, for example due to sickness, and you’ll be paid at the same rate. Any questions?”

“No, sir.”

“Take your time. I’m going out to talk to the students. See you next week.”

I make a bow to Mr. Nagase, place my belongings in one of the lockers, and get ready for Alvin’s class.

Somebody pats my shoulder. Slender fingers.

[How was it? How was it?]

I give her a thumbs-up.

[We’ll be colleagues next week.]

My crush adjusts her glasses again.

[Looks like you’ve got to treat me dinner next weekend as well.]

Treat you dinner for two straight weekends? You’re a robber! Anyway…

[Of course, I will.]

Chapter 34: Girls Around Me
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: *Ch32 Updated 11/9* Precious Friendships (Shizune BE, Sisterhood plot)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:54 am

Chapter 34: Girls Around Me

“Mamonaku Tokyo eki desu. Next station, Tokyo.”

As the train approaches Tokyo, where I’ll meet two of my best friends, I put all my remaining troops in Alaska in a desperate attempt to fend off Shizune’s attacks. My opponent takes a quick glance at me before signing.

[You think you can wall me with this?]

Of course not. I’m just delaying the inevitable. There’s no way I can ever beat the master of Risk. I think she can consider entering a competition, if there is one.

As Shizune makes her next move, my phone rings, and I pick up the call while throwing dices at random, allowing my adorable one to blow me off the board…

“Hey, Hisao. Is your train arriving?”

“Yeah. We’ll be in Tokyo in a minute.”

… as Shizune takes away another two of my soldiers…

“Which cart?”

“Erm… Let me see… Cart five.”

… I throw another set of dice, and Shizune picks up another two…

“Alright. Suzu, cart five.”

“Can’t wait to see you.”

… There’s only one soldier left…

“Same here. Bye.”

When I end the call, Shizune adjusts her glasses in style and smiles triumphantly.

[I win!]

[Congratulations. You conquered the world once again.]

The queen of Risk frowns at me.

[You didn’t put up a fight this time. You couldn’t even survive for 20 minutes.]

[I don’t think I played poorly. I tried my best. Rather, you played flawlessly today.]

My queen smiles broadly.

[I’ll take that as a compliment.]

[You deserved it. Let’s pick up the pieces. We’ll meet our old friends soon.]

We tidy up the table as the train decelerates. A moment later, the train stops. We get up and approach the train door to welcome the duo.

“Sup, Hisao!”

“It’s been some time! You too, Suzu.”

Miki and Suzu exchange high-fives with me (which has become a must-do for us), and Shizune shakes hands with her ex-classmates.

“Had breakfast already?”

“Yup. We ate together near the train station.”

Shizune leads the girls to our seats. We booked our seats early in order to sit next to each other. As I sit down with the girls, I notice that Miki’s shirt looks familiar. A brown T-shirt with a runner in the middle. I remember seeing it some time ago.

“Hey, Miki, your shirt… haven’t I seen it before?”

Miki grins proudly.

“Yup. Remember?”

Where did I see it… Wait. I think I saw it in a train ride too.

“I know! You showed me the design when we took the train back home.”

“Yes!! Knew you’d remember. Suzu, told ya!”

“Oh. You got me.”

“So, Miki, did you manage to find such a shirt or…”

Miki grins even wider.

“Hehe… Don’t be shocked! This is my first school assignment!”

Really? Even Shizune looks surprised.

“Wow!! You made a shirt with your own design already?”

“Of course! It’s just a prototype. I love it! I’m planning to make a few more next week. D’you want one, Hisao?”

“Oh, definitely! Make one for Shizune too.”

Shizune frowns at me.

[I don’t like this color!]

[Just ask for another one. We can wear the same shirt in our afternoon runs.]

[Alright. Tell her I want a dark blue one.]

“Miki, can you make a dark blue one for Shizune?”

“Dark blue? Okay! So, a brown shirt for Hisao, and a dark blue shirt for Shizune. I’ll jot that down.”

Miki grabs a notebook to write that down while fixing the notebook in place with her stump. Looks like she’s already acting as a boutique owner.

“Suzu, you’re sure you don’t want one? I’m disappointed!”

“I don’t want a runner in the middle! Make me something else!”

“Alright, alright, Suzu. I’ll come up with another design. Maybe a sleeping beauty?”

Suzu rolls her eyes on Miki as I take a moment to appreciate Miki’s shirt, then look into her sparkling eyes. This Miki’s so different from the one last year, when she looked utterly hopeless. Now she’s happy, she’s motivated, she’s doing what she wants, everything’s changed. And I’m proud that I contributed to that. It’s so satisfying to see her change. I get emotional, and I have to shed some tears.

[Are you crying?]

I’m not gonna lie. For a split-second, I found myself falling in love with Miki. But Shizune’s sign pulled me away from that thought.

[Nah. I’m just feeling so happy for Miki.]

[I’m happy for her too.]

Looking at Shizune, I’m suddenly reminded of yesterday’s events.

“Hey, Miki, Suzu, I also have a good news to tell you.”

Miki’s eyes grow wide at once. She stares at me curiously while making quick glances at Shizune.

“You’re…”

No, not yet, Miki. I’d like it to be true, but not at the moment.

“I’m going to work in Tokyo on Saturdays, together with Shizune.”

“That’s great! What’re you working for, boy?”

“A tutorial center. I’m teaching science, and Shizune works on admin and finance. She’s been working there for a couple of weeks already. I start work next week.”

“Great! You two can visit us in the evening then. Suzu’ll prepare dinner for you.”

“Hey! YOU prepare dinner for them! I’ll only buy the drinks!”

“NO! You’re the better cook! I only have one hand! You have two!”

“But I can fall asleep while cutting the vegetables!”

“Then I’ll slap your face when you’re about to fall asleep!”

“NO! You’ll do the cooking and I can lend you a hand if you need one!”

They continue bantering while Shizune and I watch on, sweating heavily. The last thing I want to see is the two making an accident while cooking for us.

***********************

It’s been two months since I last stepped into the quiet and charming school ground of Yamaku, which is unusually noisy right now. I step through the school gate with my friends, and prepare myself for some reminiscence of high school life. Despite not wearing a uniform, I don’t feel out of place. My disability tells me that I’m part of this community probably for the rest of my life.

The booths are already set up, and there are a number of visitors playing games and buying food.

Today is a special day for me. It’s Yamaku Festival.

Brings back memories. I close my eyes.

Exactly one year ago, Shizune and Misha spent the whole Yamaku festival with me. They came to my dorm room to pull me out after some joking and bantering. We first went to several food stalls to buy some snacks. I still remember how the two munched down on their takoyaki like little kids, and how Shizune managed to steal my last bit of food without warning.

“Hey, Hisao.”

Then we visited many game booths. Misha told me later that they specifically brought me to the stalls that I worked on. We did goldfish scooping first, but none of us caught any. Then we arrived at a stall featuring ball throwing. The operator, I think was Shiraki, gave us four balls each. I threw as hard as I can, and the bottles came tumbling down. I claimed a girlish cat doll prize, which is still in Shizune’s possession.

“Hello~~, Hisao~~”

I tried to win another one, but my heart acted up during my second try. I remembered how Shizune stared at me with concern, and Misha put her hand on my shoulder asking if I was fine. We then quit the game and walked around for a while. We all got hungry, and we retreated to the roof to enjoy some rich punch and sandwiches before watching the fireworks.

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiisaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooo~~”

Since that day, Shizune and I have been virtually inseparable. That day signified the start of our friendship. If that festival didn’t happen, I don’t think I would ever go out with Shizune.

If the two of us end up making a family, how important that day would become!

“HISAO!!”

“Huh!”

I’m snapped back to reality, and, opening my eyes, in front of me I see an irritated Shizune glaring at me with her hands folded.

“Looks like you’ve got your girl angry with you again, boy!”

[Stop neglecting me!!]

I scratch my head in embarrassment.

“I’m sorry.”

[Miura is right. You’re always a daydreamer.]

I don’t want to argue with her, since I have the perfect words to calm her down.

[Sorry, sorry. You know, I’m just recalling my memories. Today was very important for both of us, wasn’t it? Remember, the fireworks.]

The frowning face immediately changes into a blushing one for a second, but Shizune adjusts her glasses to brush it off. Looks like she’s not angry any more.

[Let’s go and have fun!]

“Hey, Miki. I didn’t spend the last festival with you and Suzu. How ‘bout we play together? With Shizune.”

“Cool. Haru and Yukio are coming. We’ll wait for them before we start.”

The two boys arrived ten minutes later, and we officially began our reunion. The six of us spent the next few hours playing games, eating snacks (Shizune carefully picked less unhealthy food for both of us, resulting in us being laughed at by the rest of the group), and chatting with each other. We ran into Aoi and Keiko, who were busy working in their own stalls, but agreed to spend some time in the afternoon with us. I’m glad I didn’t stop exercising after entering university, because I managed to pick up two more dolls for Shizune, who gave me one and decided to give the other to Misha when she comes back. Miki, who played baseball before her critical accident, won twice and picked water bottles for herself and Suzu. Haru and Yukio also won snacks for themselves. I hope the operator doesn’t go broke! (Well, we did pay 50 yen for each ball we threw.) By the way, all of us tried goldfish scooping, but none of us managed to catch one.

After all the walking and playing, we sit down on a set of benches under a tree drinking fruit juice bought by Shizune. Looking at my phone, it’s already 2:45.

Oh no! I forgot about everything else! Meet the Nurse, talk to Mutou, find Hanako, catch up with Lilly…

Well, the Nurse comes first. My appointment is at 3 o’clock.

“Guys, uhm… I just remembered I’ve an appointment with the Nurse in 15 minutes.”

Shizune, who’s sitting next to me and cooling herself down with a fan, frowns at me.

[I thought you kept track of the time.]

“Sorry. It’s been so much fun hanging out with you all. But I must go now.”

“It’s okay. We had a lot of fun. I think I’ve got to talk to my other friends too.”

“Yup. See ya in the evening. We’ll go to the train station together.”

[I’m going to meet the new Student Council. You should come after your body check.]

“Sure. Well, Haru, Yukio, if I can’t see you again today, hopefully we’ll meet each other soon.”

I exchange high-fives with the four, pick up my fruit juice, and set off for my next appointment.

When I enter the building and turn a corner towards the Nurse’s office, I find the figure of a short girl with ponytails. Is that…

“Hey!”

She turns around, and, surely, I see the cute grinning face of an old friend, the Fastest Thing on No Legs.

“Is it Hisao?”

I run a bit to catch up with her.

“Hey, Emi! It’s been a while!”

“Sure was! Why are you here?”

“Isn’t it obvious? I’ve an appointment with the Nurse at 3 o’clock. How about you?”

“Me? I also need to have the Nurse check my legs. You know, my legs.”

Emi lifts her trousers to reveal her prosthetics.

“I see. I haven’t seen you for such a long time. The last time we met was… when I was running with Shizune and you spot us, am I right?”

“That’s right! We didn’t really come across each other after that, unfortunately.”

“I invited you to run with us, but you declined.”

Emi pouts.

“Thanks for inviting us back then. I just feel awkward running along with you two. I don’t wanna be a third wheel, you know.”

“We weren’t dating. We were just fellow Student Council members. And we haven’t been dating either.”

Emi rolls her eyes on me.

“Stop fooling me.”

“No, we aren’t! Well, I admit I do like her, but she already told me we’ll keep being friends at least until we become adults.”

Emi laughs, her body shaking a bit along with her voice.

“Hahaha!! Too bad. I think you’ve been dumped!”

I don’t think she knows Shizune that well, but I play along.

“Maybe. So yeah, I’m still available.”

The best runner ever in Yamaku pouts again.

“Are you flirting with me? You’re dumped by the Student Council President, and then you try to make ME a backup? You’re an ass, Hisao.”

“Hey! It’s not what I mean!”

Emi laughs out loud again.

“Hahaha… Sorry… Can’t… resist. You’re… so easy… to tease!!”

Sigh. Oh well, I didn’t have a chance to make friends with her last year. Maybe I’ve got an opening to strike this time?

“Alright, alright. Anyway, I’ve got to thank you for running with me in the first week I transferred here, which was exactly one year ago. You made me aware of my health. I’m still doing afternoon runs even after entering university. You made a big impact on my life. So, seriously, thank you so much.”

Upon hearing this, Emi blushes slightly while putting a finger in front of her mouth, apparently not expecting me to express my gratitude like that.

“Uhm… You’re welcome. I’m glad you’ve been staying healthy.”

Does Emi like food? Let’s try.

“Maybe I can treat you some snacks after the Nurse check-up? I won’t bring Shizune, I promise.”

The ponytail girl ponders a bit before grinning at me.

“Hmm… Alright then. You’re not as bad as I thought.”

Great! A first step towards friendship.

“Hey Hisao. You go in first.”

Oh, I didn’t realize we already arrived.

“Erm… Shouldn’t it be ladies first?”

“Well… Look, it’s already 3 o’clock. You booked your appointment, right? I didn’t book in advance, so I’ll go after you.”

“Okay then. I’ll wait for you outside after I finish.”

***********************

“Hmm! This ice-cream is so good!! You’re sure you don’t want one, Hisao?”

I just confirmed that the best way to befriend a girl is dessert.

“Nah. I can’t eat that. Gotta watch my heart.”

“You’ve been doing well! Didn’t you tell me the Nurse was also satisfied with your health? You deserve a reward of some sort.”

“I don’t think I can handle it. Last month I couldn’t resist the temptation and ate some French fries. The result? I went to the bathroom four times in an hour!”

Emi laughs out loud at my misfortune.

“Hahahaha… Awwwww… That’s so unfortunate! I feel bad for you, can’t even enjoy this little sweet ice-cream.”

I chuckle.

“It’s fine. I’m not so much into that anyway. By the way, I don’t think I’ve asked you yet. What are you doing now?”

The cute girl taps the ground lightly with her prosthetics.

“Physical trainer! In a nearby college!”

“You’re qualified already?”

“Hehe… Nah, just… an apprentice, you can say.”

“How long does it take to become a qualified trainer?”

“I think it depends. Actually, I don’t know! I’ll ask my supervisor next time!”

No surprise. Emi doesn’t seem to be the kind that plans too much ahead. Quite a contrast from Shizune.

We’re sitting on a bleacher in front of the sports field, me watching Emi joyfully lick on her ice-cream. Luckily today’s pretty cloudy, and the occasional breezes cool us down quite a bit. Otherwise we would’ve been overheated.

It’s been a long time since I talked to her, but Emi hasn’t changed a bit. She’s still the cute, lovely, energetic girl I’ve known in the past. I wonder why I didn’t fall for her back then. I guess I wasn’t really into exercises and health monitoring until Shizune wrote me the letter. Now that I’m running regularly, I’ve been watching my health, Emi and I probably have a lot more common interests. Maybe…

No. I shouldn’t think about that.

“Hey, how ‘bout Rin? I know she’s in Tokyo, but I didn’t really have time to search for her. I’ve been so busy with school and part-time jobs.”

Emi gives me a wistful smile.

“We haven’t talked a lot since she left the school. She kind of isolated herself from the others. I tried reaching out to her, but she rarely replied. The last time she wrote to me was in February, telling me that she was doing fine.”

“I’m curious. What made her leave the school? Graduation was only a few months away.”

“She had an argument with her art teacher during an art exhibition. Then she decided to pursue her own path by picking an art school. That’s what I heard, so it’s probably not very accurate.”

“Did she come back for the reunion today?”

“I haven’t seen her anywhere. I don’t think she’s coming.”

“Oh well.”

Looks like talking to Rin is out of the question. Let’s change the topic.

“You remember Miki, don’t you?”

“Oh. Of course. Well, we know each other, but we don’t really talk too much.”

“She’s now into fashion design. In Tokyo. If you wanna get a new sports outfit, she’s the one you should talk to.”

“Really? That’s great!”

“She’s still in the campus. If you wanna talk to her, I can call her for you.”

“Sure, thanks.”

I take out my phone and go to the last received call (because I called Miki this morning in the train). I’m about to press the dial button when the phone rings.

“Hello, Hisao Nakai speaking.”

“Hello, this is Lilly.”

I forgot about meeting Lilly and Hanako!

“Yes. I’m sorry! I forgot about meeting you!”

Lilly chuckles as I hear someone yelling from afar through the phone.

“Do not worry. I also had a busy schedule this morning. Are you free right now? We are in the girls’ dormitory.”

“Sure, if my presence is not inconvenient.”

“No. Your presence is appreciated. Especially if you like playing games.”

Just then I hear another scream from distance.

“Is it related to the scream I just heard?”

“Nice deduction, Hisao. Indeed, the girls are playing happily in the room. I think one of them would like you to come and avenge her loss.”

Hanako screaming? I doubt it, but…

“Oh. Uh… Okay then. I’m coming. Girls’ dormitory, right?”

“Correct. We’ll pick you up at the entrance.”

“Sure.”

I disconnect and prepare to call Miki as Emi grins.

“Damn! You sure are a ladies’ man, Hisao.”

I shrug and wink back at her.

***********************

I raise my hand high as I cross the finishing line two seconds ahead of my opponent.

“Yes! I’ve won!”

“Wooooohoooooo!!! Finally!! Revenge successful!!”

The owner of that exclamation is, of course, none other than Naomi Inoue, who’s come back to see Hanako after two grinding months of cram school. Also smiling bashfully is Hanako, obviously enjoying the games and drinking tea with Lilly on the table. The occupant of the room we’re sitting in is Jun Yamazaki, a third-year newspaper club member who was a clubmate of Naomi and Hanako last year.

“Congratulations, Hisao.”

As an assignment from Hanako’s therapist, Hanako is not allowed to enter her room or the library today until curfew, so she chose to hang out in Jun’s room for the afternoon and complete her article outline about the festival, which is another assignment from her therapist. In order to write her article, Hanako visited the festival early in the morning to gather the necessary writing materials before the area became too crowded. Lilly met Hanako in the tea room and spent the morning there, before heading to her homeroom to meet her ex-classmates. She arrived here in Jun’s room at 3 o’clock. Naomi, who had to sleep enough hours due to doctor’s orders, came here at noon to have lunch with Hanako and Jun.

“Good game, Hisao. Didn’t think you were this good.”

“Thanks, Jun.”

Jun comes to Yamaku because she has a disease that causes her bones to be easily broken. She broke her leg a few weeks ago, and her father gave her a video game console as a consolation. She loves playing video games, with Mario Kart being one of her favorites. She handily defeated Hanako and Naomi earlier today, so Naomi tries to take revenge by calling me to the scene. I haven’t played too many games since entering the hospital, but I was quite good at games before that. With a bit of luck, I was able to fulfil Naomi’s request.

“Hey, let’s play something else. How does a Pokemon battle sound? I challenge you!”

And Pokemon is another of her favorites. She’s wearing a cap with a Pokeball logo.

“Sure. If you have two consoles.”

“I do, and I have the save files intact too. Let’s battle!”

She takes out two video consoles from the drawer, hands one to me, and connects the cables. We both turn on the power. Naomi watches me from behind while Hanako does the same to Jun.

“Let me pick my team from the PC box…”

After some browsing, I choose a balanced team of six and enter the battle room.

“(Game) Trainer Jun wants to battle! Trainer Jun sent out MEWTWO!”

“(Game) Go! MEWTWO!”

“Wow! Same lead!”

So both of us chose the same Pokemon as our starter. After some thoughts, I pick Ice Beam as my first move, trying to freeze the opposing Mewtwo…

After a long intense battle full of twists and turns, we’re left with only one Pokemon on each side. We get to send them out simultaneously.

“Well, the last battle! I’m gonna win this!”

“(Game) Trainer Jun sent out GROUDON! Go! KYOGRE!”

“(Game) Foe’s GROUDON’s DROUGHT intensified the sun’s rays!”

“(Game) KYOGRE’s DRIZZLE made it rain!”

“It looks like I get the upper hand, Jun. The weather is in my favor too.”

“Grrrrrrr...”

I pick Surf, and prepare to celebrate.

“(Game) Foe GROUDON used EARTHQUAKE! A critical hit! KYOGRE fainted!”

“OH MY GOD!!!”

“(Game) You lost to Jun!”

“YESSSSS!!!”

“Oh no!!!!! So unlucky!!!”

As I get pissed off, Jun sticks out a V-sign and celebrates with Hanako. I groan.

“Wow. I chose Surf that turn… It will definitely one-shot the Groudon, even without the rain. Chance of critical hit is only 1 in 16, am I right?”

“Yeah. Got pretty fortunate. Also, I think Earthquake doesn’t always KO even with a critical hit. Sorry man, it happens.”

“It’s okay. It was a fun battle. Congratulations, Jun.”

“However, I think you should have picked Ice Beam instead. I remember that the Kyogre is holding a Never-Melt Ice, so it will probably knock me out in one hit anyway*. But if I happen to have Sunny Day, your Surf damage output would be reduced, and two Solar Beams would knock out because I won’t need the charge turn*. I don’t have Sunny Day, so I had to use Earthquake though.”

Errr… I don’t know what she’s talking about. Doesn’t matter, I lost.

“I see. You surely know your stuff. Hanako, you’re next.”

“O-okay. Coming.”

As Hanako comes over to be Jun’s next opponent, I sit down opposite to Lilly and drink some tea.

“Hi Lilly. I’m sorry that I’ve been focusing on the games since I arrived. Didn’t mean to neglect you.”

Lilly laughs heartily.

“No worries, Hisao. I’m happy that you are enjoying our gathering, even though all of us are girls.”

It’s fine. I’ve always been surrounded by girls since I entered Yamaku, most notably Shizune and Misha. As Emi said earlier, there are always girls around me.

“Hanako, just to tell you, I’m not going easy on you!”

“B-bring it on, J-Jun!”

We watch (or, in Lilly’s case, listen) as the two girls prepare to battle.

“So, how are things going on? I’ve been super busy with school and part-time jobs, so I haven’t been to the English faculty to meet you.”

“I’m also getting used to university life. Fortunately, Mother helped me out in the first few weeks of school, and afterwards my classmates are kind enough to lend me a hand when I need help.”

“Sounds cool. I’ll try to find some time to have lunch with you.”

Lilly giggles.

“Aren’t you afraid of being scolded by Shizune?”

“Nah. I think she won’t mind it. We aren’t dating anyway, and if we don’t tell her, she probably won’t know either.”

“(Jun) Yes! I got a freeze!”

“(Hanako) Oh no…”

“How’s my cousin doing?”

“Shizune? Pretty well, I’d say. She’s still as competitive as ever, but I think she’s changed a bit since entering university. Apparently her sign language friend Akemi gave her some hard time, always telling her not to pick any fights.”

“That’s good for her. I also learned a lot from university life. I think we all grow as we enter what people say is the miniature of the society.”

“(Hanako) Yes! I thaw out!”

“(Jun) Alright! See if you can KO me.”

“(Naomi) Go Hanako, show Jun what you’re made of!”

Lilly and I share a smile (although she cannot see me smiling) when Hanako pumps up during her battle.

“Hanako’s surely enjoying her day.”

“Indeed. I hope she can be this happy more frequently.”

“Then we’ll have to make sure to spend more time with her next year when we’re in the same school again.”

“Agreed. I cannot wait to share my apartment with her. Then you can come and drink tea with us.”

“That’s a promise.”

“So, Hisao, you mentioned part-time jobs. I am curious what you’re working for.”

“A lot. I have private tutorials two evenings a week, and librarian twice a week. Before June, I worked in Tokyo Disneyland on Saturdays. Yesterday Shizune brought me to the tutorial center she’s been working for, and the director interviewed me. He’s going to hire me as a tutor, starting from next week.”

“I’m surprised. No wonder you said you were very busy.”

“Yes. I want to pay for my own medical expenses and help save more money for my parents.”

“You’re such a nice gentleman, Hisao. Your efforts will pay off.”

“Thanks Lilly.”

Although Lilly always talks in a semi-formal manner, I feel very comfortable around her. I’m happy to have such a friend to talk to.

“(Jun) Yes! I predicted your switch! Super-effective Flamethrower! A one-hit knockout on your Metagross!”

The first time I met Lilly was on the second day I transferred here, in the tea room. We didn’t really become friends until after the Kasshoku Open Day, when Hanako had that accident (which I still don’t know exactly what happened). In desperation, she turned to me for help, and we became good friends afterwards. Even though life has become busy for both of us, I hope we can maintain our friendship at least through university.

“C-Congratulations, Jun. I concede.”

“Yay! Another win!”

Seems like Jun has a winning streak going on.

“You next, Editor in Chief. I challenge you to a battle!”

“Alright! I’ll avenge Hanako’s loss this time!”

Hanako comes over to have a drink. Compared to the last time we saw her, Hanako’s much healthier today. She’s obviously been eating well. It seems like she’s enjoying her fourth year.

“Hey Hanako. Haven’t seen you in a while. How’s school?”

Hanako smiles bashfully.

“I’m doing f-fine. I’m t-trying to do what you want me to do. S-study hard and try again n-next year.”

“Great. Kasshoku is a really nice place. By the way, I’m now a part-time librarian. Maybe we can work together next year.”

“S-sure. I’m now helping in the l-library as well.”

“(Naomi) Yes! A critical hit!!”

My phone rings. I can’t leave the room because a boy standing in the girls’ dorm corridor is certainly going to be a huge problem, so I stand up and hide in a corner.

“(Whispering) Yes, Hisao Nakai speaking.”

“Hey, Hisao. This is Aoi. Shizune asks if you want to have a chat with us in the Student Council room.”

I take a look at the clock in the room. It says 4:45pm. I’ve been spending time with Emi and the girls, and I forgot about Shizune in the process! She asked me to meet her after my body check.

“Yes. Tell her I just ran into some of my classmates and spent some time with them. I’ll come over in a minute.”

“Okay. Shizune predicted that already. She suggests we go to the Shanghai together for dinner. She reminds you that you agreed to treat her dinner tonight.”

“Sure. Let’s go with her plan.”

“Then let’s meet in the Student Council room at 5:30. We can then walk together.”

“Thanks, Aoi. See you there.”

I turn off the phone as Lilly gives me an amused smile.

“My cousin’s asking you back, is she not?”

“I promised to treat her dinner tonight. I still have around 45 minutes though.”

“Then let’s enjoy another cup of tea and relax some more.”

“Sure.”

Oh no! I totally forgot about meeting Mutou!!

*Note: Jun is not entirely correct, because a 252+ SpA Never-Melt Ice Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Groudon does 89.7 – 105.5%, which is only 37.5% chance to knock out. Meanwhile, a 252+ SpA Groudon Solar Beam vs. 108 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre does 48.9 – 57.6%, which is a 96.1% chance to knock out in two hits.

Chapter 35: Scartesian Coordinates
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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