Chapter 3:

Interlude - Behind the Scenes

Youth


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   In that long hallway, illuminated only by the setting sun, painting the walls and floors crimson orange lay a mere two people. A boy and a girl sitting beside each other on the top of the stairs that led to the 3rd Floor of the School building. Bookmark here

   "All the preparations have been set on my part." The one who said that was the young lady with a twin tail style sky blue hair, her pretty amethyst eyes bore a slightly orange hue from the reflection of the sun, she was Ueno Himiko.Bookmark here

   "How about yours?" She added as she faced the young man.Bookmark here

   "Things are done here as well. Also to make sure, the key is already inside right?" Said the young man with golden blond hair, his eyes were black, yet contained a slight shimmer in them, he was Sugiwara Kyousuke.Bookmark here

   The two were alone in that long and lonely 3rd Floor Corridor, only their voices reverberated in the walls, nothing else, not even a single footstep could be heard. Bookmark here

   "Yep, you don't have to worry about that, I've already hidden it inside this morning," Himiko reassured him with her answer. "Great, now all we have to do is wait..." Said Kyousuke as he took out his phone to check the time. 5:07 PM was displayed on the home screen, he promptly turned it back off, and returned it to his pocket before blankly looking up at the wall, seemingly bored as he fiddled with his fingers.Bookmark here

   "I’m still not fully on board with the idea… Honestly speaking, I don’t want any suspicious guy anywhere near her." Admitted Himiko as she wore a troubled look on her face, eyes downcast. Bookmark here

   "You don’t have to worry, I know Yuugo. He won’t do anything, I’m sure of it." Replied Kyousuke with absolute faith towards Yuugo. Bookmark here

   "You have a lot of faith in him huh? To be frank, I don’t quite trust him yet, it’s not like I have anything against him… it’s just that, I don’t want anything bad to happen. Alice… she has had a rough past. I don’t ever want to see her cry and suffer anymore. That girl… she deserves all the happiness in the world…" Himiko said before pausing for a moment.Bookmark here

   "I’m sorry… I think I said too much… Kyou, just forget what I said earlier." She continued.Bookmark here

   "Himiko-chan… Sorry, I should have put some more thought into this…" Kyousuke apologized to her, admitting to his shortcomings over his thoughtless decision. Bookmark here

   "No… I mean, I still agreed to it. So I’m your accomplice in this mess now, we both share the blame." Himiko said as she forced a smileBookmark here

   They were walking on thin ice with this plan of theirs. It could easily go astray and come back to bite them, and it would be an even worse experience for the victims, especially Alice. So it was natural they felt worried, if things went south it will be their burden to carry, they both knew that, and yet they pressed forward. Bookmark here

   "Can he… can Katsuragi-kun… really make Alice happy?" Himiko asked him that question as she wondered. She thought about all sorts of things at that moment, the ideal outcomes of their plan and the fears at the potential failure and repercussions of it.Bookmark here

   "I’m sorry, I was the one desperately asking you for help with this but now I have the nerve to doubt you… I apologize."Bookmark here

   "It’s fine Himiko-chan, you don’t have to apologize. Yuugo, he, I’ve known him since we were little. I’ve seen him in his high and low points. Apart from his blood relatives, I’m the one who knows him best. Yuugo is a good person at heart, and while I can’t say that I know everything going on through his mind, I can at least confidently say that he… can make Takahashi-san happy." Kyousuke made that firm and compelling declaration, with no hesitation in his words he put his complete trust onto that person. At his remarkable speech, Himiko sat frozen, eyes widened, in awe as her mouth slightly opened, she was taken aback.Bookmark here

   "Putting your complete trust into one person huh… I can understand that feeling…" She said as she took her eyes off him then stared off down the stairs.Bookmark here

   "You really are amazing Kyou…" She praised him, showed a slight smile, whilst still keeping her gaze downwards.Bookmark here

   "Oh p-please I’m not like that, you’re making me blush Himiko-chan." Kyousuke denied her words. He scratched his cheeks with his index finger in embarrassment.Bookmark here

   "No it’s true, on the surface we seem very similar, but on the inside, we are very different. You’re so much stronger than me Kyou… I’m a weak, selfish person, I desperately cling to others to live like a parasite to its host." In a depressed tone, Himiko let out those despairing words, admitting to her own weakness.Bookmark here

   "Himiko-chan… Himiko, you know that’s not true..!—" Kyousuke attempted to refute her words and comfort her but— Bookmark here

   "It’s fine Kyou, it is. I’ve already accepted that fact…" She insisted as she stood up. Bookmark here

   "Himiko…"Bookmark here

   "I’m aware I’m being selfish but can we keep this lie up for just a bit more longer…" She pleaded and bowed her head to him. "I’m begging you…"Bookmark here

   "If it’s what you want then there’s no way I can refuse, so please raise your head Himiko. You don’t have to be so formal. But... I will say this…"Bookmark here

   "W-What is it?" She asked as she straightened her back. Bookmark here

   "This lie, I’ll make sure that it eventually becomes true. I promise it will." Kyouske made that firm declaration as he stood up.Bookmark here

   "Kyou…" Himiko mumbled his name in response as her face started to redden. "Idiot…" She muttered under her breath, wearing a rare true smile on her face.Bookmark here

   "That’s the first genuine smile of yours that I’ve seen in a while…" Kyousuke said and gave her a smile of his own. Bookmark here

   "H-Huh..?" She wore a shocked expression from Kyousuke’s response.Bookmark here

   "Himiko-chan you’re terrible at forcing smiles so I can generally tell when it’s a real smile." He blurted out.Bookmark here

   "You know, you always have friends you can rely and lean on, so if you ever feel down don’t be afraid to ask me. Don’t keep things to yourself." He pressed on, trying to convince her.Bookmark here

   "Yeah…" Only that one sole word came out of her mouth.Bookmark here

   "Thanks, Kyou." She added, giving him once more another genuine smile.Bookmark here

   Then inside the corridor devoid of any sound apart from the voices of the young man and young woman, an unfamiliar sound crudely interrupted their conversation. The sound of footsteps could be heard below, advancing at a steady pace. Kyousuke glanced at the stairs and noticed a black-haired young man slowly making his way to the 3rd Floor, it was Katsuragi Yuugo. Bookmark here

   "Guess it’s time huh." With that, the two began to hide as Yuugo continued to ascend the stairs. "It’s time to begin operation locked-room event."Bookmark here

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