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

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ShizuneFan2019
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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: 60
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: 60
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: 60
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: 60
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: 60
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

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