Chapter 4:

Chapter 4: Confession

Solus: The Pairing of Fate


“Sigh.”Bookmark here

It’s been a mere three days since I started high school, yet it felt like I went through more than a month’s worth of events. It was rather hectic when Ayane came into my home and ransacked it while waiting for Madoka. Bookmark here

She was rather surprised that my home was humble, or small compared to hers. I have been to Ikuro’s house a few times during middle school and could never find myself comfortable there. Their house was closer to an estate than a ‘house’, so much that even Ikuro found it too big and moved to their family-owned condo. Not that it was any smaller, just taller than the rest.Bookmark here

I was up till late at night revising my own studies after sending Ayane and the rest off. To compete with others in the school, the only way I could was to beat them in my own specialties. Studying.Bookmark here

Going to school half-asleep, I lumped myself on my desk as soon as I sat down. I couldn’t really get a good rest due to the various noises around me. The elites were packed together, discussing topics I could never hope to relate to.Bookmark here

The athletes were training in their own free time. I guess they have it rough too, having to excel in their sports or risk failure. And then, there were the groupies, or to be more accurate, the Mikase family’s loyal subordinates. Bookmark here

Despite my attempts to keep to myself, I tend to attract the attention of the elites in the class. I guess their puny pride still couldn’t stand the fact that someone like me belonged on the same level as them.Bookmark here

I probably wouldn’t have such a hard time...had I taken my father’s last name. But alas, his work and achievements belong to him and I will gain my own. Bookmark here

I had wanted to speak to Mikase about her episode yesterday, wondering if she was doing ok. If Ikuro’s injuries were bad enough to need to be bandaged, and the fact that he had a rather resilient body from training with me, Mikase might have suffered a bit from their Solus yesterday. But seeing that the groupies won’t even let me near her, that doesn’t seem to be likely.Bookmark here

Should I invite her out again? No, three days in a row is a bit too much, isn’t it?Bookmark here

“Yo.” Ikuro had placed his bag on my head as he called out.Bookmark here

“You sound chipper, had a great time yesterday?” I probed at Ikuro about last night’s events.Bookmark here

“Please...I couldn’t even get to see her, Aya-nee basically kidnapped her into the guest room till late at night. It wasn’t until 1 in the morning did she go back to her own room.”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“What? Do I have something on me?”Bookmark here

“So that means...you were spying on them till 1 in the morning..?”Bookmark here

“W-What?! N-No, I mean, I-I was just wondering why they were taking so long.”Bookmark here

“~Guilty~”Bookmark here

“You...better not mention any of this to Madoka…”Bookmark here

“...and sent. Sorry, what did you say?” I said as I sent the voice recording of Ikuro over to Madoka.Bookmark here

It definitely was worth the light choke, seeing how rare it was for Ikuro to blush this hard. Bookmark here

“...look at them.” One of the girls in the elites’ group whisperedBookmark here

“The common folk should know their place.” Another guy in the same group said.Bookmark here

I somewhat expected them to dislike my close friendship with Ikuro. Even from the outside, our bond was rather strange. We both have very little in common and belong in totally different social classes, yet we are hanging out as if we were brothers from a different mother. Bookmark here

Besides, it wasn’t anything new regarding the insults, though Ikuro tends to get mad on my behalf each time. It was worse in middle school, where there were fewer elites. Students would attempt to get close to Ikuro, hoping to cash in on his family’s wealth and reputation. When they failed to do so, their envy of our close relationship would result in them saying I was leeching off him and whatnot.Bookmark here

“Tch, and what’s tha…” I pulled Ikuro’s arm, prompting him not to go any further.Bookmark here

“You should really just tell them off, or better yet, drag them to some alleyway and show them some of your skills.”Bookmark here

“Mr.Alan didn’t teach us close combat to scare off people like that. And if he found out you said that, it’s going to be the ‘hell’ course again.”Bookmark here

Alan Balandin, a Russian servant who was working at the Amagami house. Ikuro and I often saw him when we were little and pestered him for how he got his trained body. With the permission of Ikuro’s parents, we attended training from him at least once every week and whenever we could. Bookmark here

It was thanks to him that I was rather fit despite not playing any sports. Alan had jokingly said that I would do better as a bodyguard like him rather than a tutor, though I wasn’t sure if he was truly joking at the time.Bookmark here

Taking the chance when Ikuro went back to his seat, I sent a text over to Mikase, asking if she was doing alright after yesterday. Her fast reply came back, as usual, stating that she was fine and nothing was wrong, though her face didn’t show it.Bookmark here

With Madoka now staying at the Amagami household, Ikuro usually goes straight home with Madoka after school, presumably to avoid her sisters. I always hung out with Ikuro after school or usually went to work, hence having a day like this where I had nothing on was just rather rare.Bookmark here

Should I head home? Though no one was there. With nothing much to do, I decided to head to the cafe yet again. Coming here for three days in a row, I might really be addicted to their coffee here at this rate.Bookmark here

Sipping on the coffee I ordered, I looked through my phone, searching for multiple articles regarding Solus. ‘Tools to determine Solus’, ‘Solus pairing affinity scanner’, ‘Find your Solus today!’. Most were articles were debating about its rarity and ways to determine the Solus. Bookmark here

I guess it was rather rare for someone to take the initiative to break a Solus. There weren't really any strict laws in place that prevented it, thus there was not much demand for it. Bookmark here

“Hm? `How to break your Solus`. Someone actually wrote about that?”Bookmark here

Looking to break your Solus? Being forced into a relationship by your peers and relatives? Fear no more, the perfect solution to break free of this is now in sight. Join us now!Bookmark here

Sounds like a goddamn scam...Wait...This article was actually posted by a researcher in a University? Was this real? If it was, I would be able to break both Madoka and Ikuro’s Solus…Bookmark here

“Let’s see. Mr.Helix from Europe... A researcher born and based in Europe.”Bookmark here

I would probably have a hard time meeting him if that’s the case. I could borrow my father’s connection., hearing he recently moved to Europe, that was why mom left to help him in the first place.Bookmark here

“Eh? Mr.Helix, giving a speech at Hirano University? That's really close by!”Bookmark here

Trying to search for the event on the Hirano University homepage, I found out that he was indeed giving a speech today.Bookmark here

“Today?!” I reflexively spat a little of my coffee out as I cried.Bookmark here

The event was scheduled for 4.30 pm and would last till 5. If I go right now, I could probably make it right before it ends. I packed my stuff and paid the bill right before rushing towards the station.Bookmark here

The speech was starting as I boarded the train. It would take about 10 to 15 minutes to reach the campus where the event was being held. Would I make it?Bookmark here

5.10 P.M. I arrived at the event.Bookmark here

“Hah...Hah...I didn’t make it…” Bookmark here

Despite rushing here, I wasn’t able to make it in time, leaving me panting on the ground in front of the event hallBookmark here

“Damn it...If I miss Mr.Helix now, when will I ever see him again?”Bookmark here

“Were you looking for me, young man?”Bookmark here

Turning around, I saw a tall, blonde man standing before me. I blinked my eyes a few times before whipping out my phone, confirming that it was indeed the same person.Bookmark here

“M-M-Mr. Helix?”Bookmark here

“That is indeed my name, young man. Do you have business with me?” Mr.Helix asked as he reached out with his hand to help me up.Bookmark here

“Um...I have something to ask. It’s regarding the topic of Solus!” Bookmark here

He was kind enough to guide me to a private office that was loaned to him during his stay here. while we conversed earlier, I didn’t even notice that he was speaking perfectly fluent Japanese, despite being a European.Bookmark here

“So, what did you wish to ask me? Is it about your Solus pairing? If that’s the case, you could have simply gone to an analysis center. It does cost a bit, but you will get the results.”Bookmark here

“No, that’s not it...I...I want to know how to break off a Solus pairing.”Bookmark here

“Break...Breaking off?!”Bookmark here

“Yes. I read the article you wrote, stating that it was possible to break a pairing even after it has been determined.”Bookmark here

“Are you perhaps unhappy with your Solus? It is a wonderful thing, your fated partner, decided by the universe itself.”Bookmark here

“N-No, it isn’t about me, but rather, my friend.”Bookmark here

“You want to break your friend’s Solus? Are you perhaps in love with his fated or...maybe...Then again, I’m not one to judge people’s preferences.”Bookmark here

“What? No!”Bookmark here

I briefly explained to him the situation between Madoka and Ikuro without mentioning any real names, hoping that he would agree to help me out.Bookmark here

“Hmm...I see. You see, the part about breaking people’s Solus wasn’t entirely true.”Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

“That was more of a recruitment campaign to get more researchers on the topic. In reality, we don’t have a solution just yet. Countless people such as those mentioned had probably poured millions of dollars into the development of tools to identify Solus pairings, such as the Solusia.”Bookmark here

Mr. Helix proceeded to pull out a palm-sized device from his suitcase. I had seen that tool before on the news, simply by turning it on and placing it on the palm, it would take a tiny blood sample and scan the user’s palm to determine if he or she has a Solus pairing and whether they were nearby. If it was determined to have a pairing, it would let out a sound and the light would turn yellow and if they were nearby, it would turn green. If there were none, it would simply turn red.Bookmark here

“I too have used this particular tool to determine my Solus. Unfortunately, I had no luck in finding mine and it’s been way too long that I had simply given up.”Bookmark here

“This Solusia...does it work on just anyone?”Bookmark here

“Oh, yes. If I just place this on your palm and start the tool, it would have an immediate result. After all, this is the most advanced version of the Solusia, solely for the researchers only to use as…”Bookmark here

Beep!Bookmark here

“~Eh?~” The machine had sounded out not long after Mr. Helix had turned it on.Bookmark here

The light from the Solusia turned a bright green and cried out the sound that it found a nearby Solus.Bookmark here

Beep!Bookmark here

“Twice..?” Mr.Helix was rather shocked by the fact that the Solusia had beeped twice considering it should have shut off immediately after determining the result. However, the difference was this time, it was the color yellow instead. Bookmark here

The Solusia was successful in determining a pairing and that it was nearby? Or determined? I wasn’t quite sure considering there were two sounds and two different colors. All I did know was that the Solusia succeeded...by testing on me. Bookmark here

“Mr. Hikaru. Do you perhaps have a Solus?”Bookmark here

“Huh?! No! Since when did I have a Solus pairing? I never felt the shared sensation or anything at all.”Bookmark here

“Intriguing. Aside from the fact that you were not aware of the Solus. The fact that it had sounded out twice with two different colors could only mean one thing.”Bookmark here

“That it was faulty right? It should be sent in for repairs, right?!”Bookmark here

Stroking his non-existent beard, Mr. Helix grabbed my shoulders as he gleefully said:Bookmark here

“This could only mean that you naturally have two Solus pairings! Most fascinating! Please, by all means, cooperate with me in my research.”Bookmark here

Did he just say that I had a Solus pairing? Two on top of that?! I thought each and every soul would only ever have one Solus. It was impossible to have two. Bookmark here

“It has only been a mere 50 Years since Solus was discovered. A duration like that means nothing in the face of science.” Mr. Helix responded as though he had read my thoughts.Bookmark here

I came to see Mr.Helix for a solution to break Ikuro’s Solus, only to find out I had two of them? Bookmark here

“This would be the perfect research sample! It must be fate that brought me to meet you here today. Could this be yet another form of Solus?!”Bookmark here

“Um...I doubt that it is. Didn’t you say you tested it on yourself?”Bookmark here

“Ah, yes. I was just, young man. Would you mind if I told my fellow colleagues about this matter? They would be of great help in finding a solution to break the Solus.Bookmark here

“Sure. If it helps to find a way to break them.Bookmark here

XXXBookmark here

“Let’s see, previous records of someone with two Solus…None found. What happens if you have two Solus…”Bookmark here

Mr.Helix was rather adamant in giving me his contact, wanting to have me assist in his research. Browsing through the internet for past records, there didn’t seem to be anyone who had ever experienced having two Solus pairings.Bookmark here

Although, some interesting topics did come up. If there were a total of three people in said Solus, if one were to suffer an injury and it was shared, would the third party receive it? The debate on the online forum was rather interesting despite having no conclusion. Bookmark here

Some mentioned that there might be an indirect cause of pain while others were saying that the Solus wouldn’t work like that. However, no one could confirm the fact as there wasn’t any evidence nor record of a Solus pairing that involved three.Bookmark here

Ding. I checked my phone when a message popped up from Mikase. Bookmark here

‘Could you spare a little of your time after school tomorrow?’ Bookmark here

I wasn’t expecting her to call me out on her end, but this would work in my favor. I could probe more about her situation and see what I could do about the Solus. Bookmark here

Should I tell her about Ikuro? It was a rather tough decision. Ikuro didn’t need to know about seeing how he had wished for it to never happen, but what about Mikase?Bookmark here

If she found out about the pairing, would she be wanting to seek out Ikuro? Or perhaps she would also want to deny it as well? If so, it could work out great to hide it from their families.Bookmark here

‘Alright. The same cafe?’ I replied.Bookmark here

‘The school rooftop would be fine.’Bookmark here

Today was rather hectic considering what I found out. How do I feel about my own Solus? I mean, I am just a little~ curious about who my pairing would be. I was so preoccupied with Madoka and Ikuro that I didn’t think about mine.Bookmark here

Would I be glad to find out who it was? And if I have two, would there be any legislation that would prevent me from, let’s say dating both of them? Thinking about the minor possibility that I would actually be legally allowed to have two spouses did raise my interest and the time went by rather quickly.Bookmark here

“So...Is there anything wrong, Mikase-san”Bookmark here

It was already after school. The last period turned out to be a free-study period so I had texted Mikase-san that I would head up earlier to the rooftop to avoid anyone gossiping about us going together.Bookmark here

“I have something to say…”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“Three years ago...I wasn’t confident of myself at all, in fact, I was rather demeaning of myself and was almost always made fun of by others.”Bookmark here

...What? I mean, I was surprised that she declared herself that she wasn’t confident and all, considering how she behaved three years ago when she met. By why is she monologuing about her past all of a sudden?Bookmark here

“That ball...I was practically forced to attend by my parents. Being rather weak-willed but from a powerful family, I was surrounded by fake people almost every day. Even then, the boys that were looking for me were just trying to get a connection to the Mikase House. That is...until you requested me for a dance.”Bookmark here

“Well...I didn’t really mean anything that time. I was just looking for a partner like Ikuro advised me to.”Bookmark here

“Ah...Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that...I just wanted to say…”Bookmark here

Wait...Is this? Could this actually be happening? I mean sure we met three years ago, but that was just once! And we are only five days in Highschool, can things progress this fast?! Am I wrong to expect it?Bookmark here

“I like you, Hikaru-kun! But I can’t go out with you!”Bookmark here

It happened! Did I actually just get a confession from the already popular in a mere five days and famous Mikase Suzuha? What should I do? I could accept her but I am also curious about my Solus, what happens if I find mine? Wait, before that, what about Ikuro…Bookmark here

Eh? What was the later part again?Bookmark here

“...I can’t go out with you!” I seemed to recall hearing her say that afterward.Bookmark here

Did I just get confessed to and rejected by the same person?Bookmark here

“W-what?” I said with a slight blush and a total look of confusion on my face.Bookmark here

Mikase herself was blushing red as well but was desperately trying to get her words out.Bookmark here

“I like you! I really do! Ever since that day three years ago! I even applied to this school because of that!”Bookmark here

Hearing her one-sidedly profess her love for me kind of made me happy, but what was actually going on?Bookmark here

“The thing is...it’s a problem regarding the Mikase household…”Bookmark here

“Is it because of me..? Because I am from…” Although I was demeaning myself, thinking that I was probably rejected due to me not being an elite.Bookmark here

“No! It’s not that, rather because…”Bookmark here

I was so flustered that I had completely forgotten. If Mikase liked me but said that she couldn’t date me, and that was because of her family, that could only mean one thing.Bookmark here

“I was determined to have a Solus nearby…”Bookmark here

It’s over...Now that Mikase’s family has also found out about the Solus, it would probably be a matter of time before they determine it to be Ikuro. The Mikase family would definitely welcome a union with the Amagamis, and considering that Ikuro and MIkase are in the same class, it would be even easier to find him.Bookmark here

For now...I should probe whether they know about Ikuro.Bookmark here

“Your Solus? Do you know who it is already?”Bookmark here

“N-no...I’m sorry, it must seem really weird for me to be doing this. But I just wanted to let you know how I really feel.”Bookmark here

True. If I wasn’t someone who was interested in Solus like I am now, I would probably be really shocked and wondering what the heck she was aiming to do in the first place. But I get it...even if she couldn’t be with the one she wants, she would still want to let him know, even if that person was me...I found myself blushing at the thought of that.Bookmark here

“I-It’s alright. I know how you feel.”Bookmark here

“Huh? You mean...you like someone else too but have a Solus?”Bookmark here

“N-No! I meant that about Ikuro and Madok-...” I slipped it out. I wasn’t supposed to really tell anyone this but I let it slip in the spur of the moment.Bookmark here

“Madoka-san? What about them?”Bookmark here

Seeing that I wouldn’t be able to talk my way out of this, I decided to tell her about Madoka’s situation again, this time, with the Solus part involved. Though, I wasn’t going to tell her about Ikuro at all. Bookmark here

“...I see. So Madoka-san was in a similar situation as mine, that was the true reason she was staying with you.”Bookmark here

We had settled down on the bench on the rooftop as I was explaining to her. Mikase seemed to empathize with Madoka as they were in similar situations. It did feel weird sitting next to someone who just confessed to me, but in truth, it did feel rather good to find out that someone as pretty as Mikase was interested in me.Bookmark here

“Oh. Speaking of which, Madoka already moved out, Ikuro’s sister decided that she shouldn’t be staying with me and moved her to their house.”
Bookmark here

“Of course she should. It just wasn’t right for her to be staying at a guy’s house anyways! I was going to have her move in with me had she not moved yet.”Bookmark here

She seemed rather eager on the fact that she was going to essentially chase Madoka out. Bookmark here

If she likes me...Doesn’t that mean that when she found out Madoka was staying at mine, it was rather bad? I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it made sense why she felt rather mad the other day.Bookmark here

“Sigh...If I could break this pairing, I would do it in a heartbeat.”Bookmark here

“Mikase-san is pretty straightforward about this, aren’t you?” I said to her. She basically just proclaimed that she would break her Solus to be with me, causing me to blush.Bookmark here

“W-What?! Um...Yeah.”Bookmark here

“Even if you do break it off. Would your parents approve even?”Bookmark here

“Of course they will! Although we may be an elite family with an upright appearance, they are rather lax with things like these. Although, having a determined Solus before 18 is an exception…”Bookmark here

I wanted to tell her, that I was in fact looking for a way to break off the Solus for Madoka and Ikuro as well. If I did, she might have offered her help as well, but that would result in her looking into Ikuro and possibly finding out about their Solus.Bookmark here

Am I forgetting something else?Bookmark here

“Ah!”Bookmark here

Come to think of it. I have a Solus as well! Two in fact. How do I feel about this then? The light from the Solusia definitely turned green, meaning that one of them was near me. If Mikase does manage to break the Solus and ask me out again, would I hesitate if I had found mine?Bookmark here

Although, I would probably have a choice in that matter seeing how my family doesn’t really care much about the Solus pairings. But what about my partner? If she belongs to a Solus family, they would definitely not let me have free reign either.Bookmark here

“What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“Oh. Nothing much, I just remembered I have work later on in the late afternoon.” Bookmark here

“Ah! I have to go as well! I will be late to meet my mother.” Mikase hurriedly grabbed her bag she stood up to leave.Bookmark here

“Izuya-kun.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes?” surprised by her suddenly calling me by my first name.Bookmark here

“Even if I can’t be with you right now, could I at least call you that..?”Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

“Then you should call me Suzuha as well!” She said as she left with a slight hop in her step.Bookmark here

Mikase...No, Suzuha must have been pretty upset when she found out about her Solus, that was why she looked rather down yesterday. It must have taken a lot of courage for her to confess to me and reject me too. Bookmark here

Let’s continue to find ways to break off the Solus. I shouldn’t think of mine that much, I might not find her either. For Ikuro and Madoka’s sake, for Suzuha’s sake and mine. Bookmark here

Come to think of it, Suzuha mentioned earlier on that she was rather interested in how Ikuro and I met. Well, even I would find our friendship to be rather strange, especially with how it started.Bookmark here

Maybe I should invite her out and tell her about it.Bookmark here

Debrishi Kar
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Rui
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Takahashi  Eien
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