Chapter 6:

Love Hate

Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~

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Mashiro-senpai and Irosaki-sensei continued glaring to each other and I’m stuck between them. The room’s atmosphere was full of tension that it feels so hot even if the season is still Spring. You can even see sparks flying in the air at the moment.Bookmark here

Ahaha. I want to get away from here now.Bookmark here

Alas, Mashiro-senpai is already showing his disagreement. I’m with Mashiro-senpai to decline this, but did he really resent the idea of working with me that much? His distaste is showing in his face!Bookmark here

“Tsuki Mashiro, may I remind you that you are in no position to refuse?” Irosaki-sensei said authoritatively, with no hint of hesitation.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai bit his lower lip in frustration, his fist also clenched tightly. He looks desperate for some reasons.Bookmark here

“I know that already… but do we really have to drag that girl in our business?”Bookmark here

What the??Bookmark here

Being address as ‘that girl’ doesn’t fit well with me. It was like I’m an outsider here and Mashiro-senpai is probably saying that this has nothing to do with me.Bookmark here

Well, he’s not wrong anyway. In the first place, I also don’t want to work in the Student Council. Moreover, being able to see something I shouldn’t have and knowing an absurd story out of nowhere just doesn’t make sense! Bookmark here

The two of them continued their heated exchange while I just stood there as if watching some kind of primetime drama. Un. Un. This is looking good. If I could have popcorn with me, that might be more ideal.Bookmark here

“Do you think that you should be complaining like this? Third years don’t have the leisure to waste time. At this rate, Kurokawa-kun—”Bookmark here

“I didn’t say that I won’t do it,” Mashiro-senpai whispered but enough for us to hear. Bookmark here

His eyebrows furrowed as he gritted his teeth in anxiety. His expression tells me that he can’t afford to go against Irosaki-sensei’s words just now. Does it have to do with Kurokawa-senpai? No—let me rephrase that. It definitely has something to do with Kurokawa-senpai. No matter what it was, it was already enough to put Mashiro-senpai in a tight spot.Bookmark here

“Well, that settles it then. What do you think, Terushima-san? Will you give it a go?” Irosaki-sensei gave me a wide smile that looks like she’s expecting that I’ll say yes right away.Bookmark here

In reality, I’m also anxious about what did I just entered. Bookmark here

This is definitely not the secretary work that I signed up for! It should just be doing paper works, talking to students, and making reports about the school affairs. I know that maintaining the school order is also part of student council work, but why in the world does it have to be something like dealing with evil spirits? As expected, the school is really haunted!Bookmark here

This might be dangerous! I don’t want to die yet!Bookmark here

“You won’t die. You can have my word with that,” Irosaki-sensei nodded to herself with a hand on her chin. “You might just get scared, but you’ll get used to it.”Bookmark here

Who wants to get used to what?! Bookmark here

“Terushima-san, I heard that you’re having time problems during the morning meetings. My, what should we do? I’m thinking of doing something for Terushima-san, I think I could also make it so that she will have enough time to play with cats. But… that might be hard if she can’t do the night patrol.” Sensei said in a sing-song voice that is obviously provoking me.Bookmark here

Upon the mention of cats, of course, I was completely paying attention to cats more than anything. Bookmark here

If I would have more time playing with cats, that will be fine! As long as we’re talking about cats!Bookmark here

“I’ll do it!” I enthusiastically said with glimmering eyes.Bookmark here

“That’s the spirit! You heard that, Mashiro-kun. You’ll work with Terushima-san tonight.”Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai heaved out a deep long sigh. After that, he gave a look at me as if he was looking at something unbelievable.Bookmark here

“I can’t believe there are stupid people accepting suspicious deals like that. I bet you got scammed a lot by those people soliciting something on sidewalks.”Bookmark here

W-well… that’s something that I can’t deny. But, it wasn’t that bad! Bookmark here

“Calling it a scam is rude! It was their business, I’m just helping them!” I put my hand on my chest and confidently defended myself.Bookmark here

“So you got extorted after all. I’m sure that’s not something that you should be proud of.” He just looks at me in disappointment.Bookmark here

“My, my, you’re getting along well. I’m sure that the night patrol will end up well too.”Bookmark here

“Sensei, that’s just wishful thinking,” I said with a sigh.Bookmark here

“As long as this idiot won’t get in the way, it will definitely end well.”Bookmark here

Argh! How long would he still insist that I got tricked to buying something in the sidewalk! They are just offering their products and giving promos, there might be some defective products but that’s just normal in business… right?Bookmark here

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“Senpai, why are you carrying a hoe? You’re not trying to plow the ghost with that, yes?” Bookmark here

I squinted my eyes at him. My glances shifted from him to the hoe that he’s holding, then back to him again, and to the hoe again. No matter where you look at it, this is really not normal!Bookmark here

Of all things, why would he bring a hoe?! We’re not going to plant something! In fact, our destination is indoors! We’re investigating the school buildings for crying out loud! Bookmark here

My palm naturally found its way to my forehead as I just heaved a deep sigh out of concern. I’m starting to doubt if we’ll be fine now.Bookmark here

“You’re not planning to go to war without a weapon, are you?” he nonchalantly said as he gripped tightly on the handle of the hoe as if it was a sword.Bookmark here

“Senpai, we’re not going to war. And I doubt that the hoe will hit the ghost if ever we meet one.” Bookmark here

“I have confidence in my precision.”Bookmark here

“What I’m saying is—ah, whatever. I give up.” Bookmark here

This is a lost cause. I didn’t realize that Mashiro-senpai’s common sense is this bad. This is making me depressed now. Bookmark here

It’s no wonder Kurokawa-senpai ended up like that. I salute you now, Kurokawa-senpai. Sorry for not appreciating your sacrifices earlier.Bookmark here

The truth is, the letter that we got from the suggestion box earlier is from a student who noticed strange changes in the attitude of their classmates. They said that most of the students in the class are couples, then it all happened that everyone broke up at the same time. Of course, they thought that it was just coincidence. However, the concerned student hear something strange, someone was laughing when the couples in the class broke up. It seems like this student is the only person who heard it.Bookmark here

That’s definitely creepy! I’m trusting Irosaki-sensei when she said that I won’t die with this, but ghosts that could affect human behavior are definitely dangerous!Bookmark here

“Nyaa~” Yami purred while I was holding him in my arms.Bookmark here

I was really saved that I took Yami with me. Irosaki-sensei suggested taking Yami with us, of course I did not hesitate to agree. Yami will help me managing my frustrations and calming me before I could lose my sanity.Bookmark here

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The two of us are now walking in one of the hallways to investigate if this phenomenon is caused by supernatural. Bookmark here

When I first heard the story, I also thought that it was too good to be a coincidence. I’m not an expert when it comes to love so I don’t really have an idea why couples break up, but all the couples of one class breaking up at the same time definitely sounds suspicious.Bookmark here

I only know one thing, I love cats. End of discussion.Bookmark here

I just returned to focusing on the patrol. As if he could feel my anxiety, Yami rubbed his body to me.Bookmark here

“Thank you, Yami. As I thought, I really just want to cuddle with a cat right now.” I blissfully mumbled.Bookmark here

Look at Yami, he could read the atmosphere. Unlike this white demon with cat ears, he’s a walking refrigerator! He will give you the cold shoulder without hesitation so you better dress warmly if you want to get close to him. Bookmark here

Me? Ah, of course I have preparations with this. I bought pocket warmers with me earlier. I’ll be fine… Bookmark here

…hopefully.Bookmark here

I could guess that Mashiro-senpai is not a romantic guy. That’s right, he doesn’t have any romance in his bones, an unromantic senpai! Bookmark here

Any normal guy would comfort the girl in this situation. They would whisper sweet words like, “No need to be scared, I’ll protect you” or they would hold hand to calm each other. Then, they would embrace each other…Bookmark here

Wait, that’s cringe.Bookmark here

When I think about doing it with Mashiro-senpai… I think I’ll pass.Bookmark here

If this is a horror movie, stupid couples always get killed first. I’d rather take the role of a lonesome third wheel and save myself instead. I don’t have to concern myself with others, especially for a stupid couple!Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

At the moment, I can’t help but notice the difference in the school between day and night. It really gives off the creepy feels right now that the silence reigned in the place. Compared to daytime where you would hear the cheerful voices of the students, the gossips, the lectures of the teachers, running footsteps, opening doors, the silence made me feel that the school was such a lonely place during the night.Bookmark here

No one was here, nothing… Bookmark here

And being alone with Mashiro-senpai didn’t make it any better!Bookmark here

We continued the patrol and there’s still nothing strange happening. More than that, the distance between the two of us is just so far. The atmosphere is also awkward that I’ll die from silence already. I don’t want to wish for someone butting in and starting a conversation, but I also can’t stand this silence!Bookmark here

“Mashiro-senpai, do the students in this school can’t recognize you?” I asked to start a conversation.Bookmark here

I know that I have been warned not to ask questions to the third years for the sake of my mental health, but I just want to break this awkward silence no matter what! Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” He turned around and faced me. His eyebrows furrowed as if he doesn’t have an idea about what I’m talking about.Bookmark here

That’s not the reaction that I’m expecting.Bookmark here

“Come on! Don’t give me that look as if you don’t have an idea! I talked to a third year in the art room earlier, she said that the students can’t trust the student council because they can’t recognize how the members look like. She also said that everyone just knows that you guys are doing your work as a student council and interacts normally with everyone. However, after the interaction, they don’t know who you are anymore. That’s suspicious.”Bookmark here

“Wait, what—” Mashiro-senpai was about to say something to me when he suddenly fell silent. His cat ears also twitched and he held tightly on his hoe on full alert.Bookmark here

“Mashiro-senpai…?”Bookmark here

He turned his back on me and I could feel his hostility towards the direction that he was facing. It was the end of this hallway.Bookmark here

“Stay back,” he said in a dead serious manner that made me step back with no questions asked.Bookmark here

What’s going on? Mashiro-senpai just started letting out his bloodlust as if he just sensed something dangerous. Bookmark here

I pressed my lips together. I’m starting to feel anxious now.Bookmark here

I swallowed the lump on my throat before mustering the courage to look at the direction where Mashiro-senpai is aiming his hostility. Bookmark here

Me eyes widened when I saw a figure that reminds me of a memory that I lost already. There was a shadow, standing at the end of the hallway. Strangely enough, there’s no other source of bright light that would cast such a shadow.Bookmark here

I could feel my heart beating rapidly and a cold sweat broke on my forehead. I clutched my chest tightly as I started gasping for air. I’m scared.Bookmark here

That’s right, how could I forget? This is not the first time that I encountered that shadow. At that time, there was also someone that showed up, who was it…?Bookmark here

I glanced at the Mashiro-senpai’s back, his cat ears are perked up which indicates that he’s on alert. But what caught my attention the most is his silhouette, it was the same as that person. They have cat ears…Bookmark here

When I think about it, anyone in the student council could be that person. Why do I have to forget that? This is frustrating!Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, a familiar sound of bell resounded. It was the same… a high pitched eerie sound, different from the school bell that you always hear on normal occasions. Bookmark here

Damn. I’m scared! This is scary! I want to get away from here but just like at that time, my body won’t move. Why now of all times?Bookmark here

“Nyaa…” Yami purred gently as if trying to calm me down. Bookmark here

I repeated an inhale-exhale routine in order to calm myself. It was working, I’m not stoned anymore. As long as I can move again, the first thing that I did was pet Yami to calm myself.Bookmark here

“Terushima, take Yami with you and go to the student council building,” he said without facing me.Bookmark here

“What about you, senpai?!” I rebutted frantically.Bookmark here

“Damn it! Just go already!” Bookmark here

“But…”Bookmark here

How could I leave him here? There’s an evil spirit standing in front of us! As if I could abandon him like that! I’m not that heartless! Bookmark here

“Hehehe… what a cute, lovely scene…” someone spoke while chuckling menacingly. Judging by the voice, I’m sure that it was a girl.Bookmark here

W-who was that?! Bookmark here

“Terushima… just go already. The others definitely heard that bell, they will come here soon.” Bookmark here

“Senpai… I can’t do that!” I closed my eyes tightly and shouted. Bookmark here

This just took a turn for the worse. This is a slice of life! Why are we in a horror situation now?! On top of it all, we just seemed like the stupid couple that dies first with lesser screen time! Why did it turn out this way?!Bookmark here

“Tch. You shouldn’t have come here if you’re going to be scared,” he clicked his tongue in irritation.Bookmark here

“Hehehe… what a cute lovers. I wonder what will happen if I take your love for each other? Hmm~”Bookmark here

I blinked in confusion. Eh? Did I hear that right? The ghost just called us ‘lovers’, right?Bookmark here

“Ano...” I raised my hand nonchalantly.Bookmark here

“What is it? Are you planning to say your love for your boyfriend before I take them away?” she asked in a teasing yet menacing manner.Bookmark here

“Spirit-san, you’re making a mistake here!” I declared proudly. “There’s no way that I have something for this cold-blooded cat. He’s not my type.”Bookmark here

The two of them fell silent and Mashiro-senpai raised his eyebrow on me. His face is definitely screaming, ‘what in the world are you saying?’Bookmark here

“He’s a pretty boy but that’s just it, he doesn’t have any romance in his bone. I’m not a sucker for appearance so he’s not my type. Please don’t misunderstand.” I explained to them.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai looks like he’s going to kill me, but with this situation, I’m more scared of the ghost than his glare. I could just explain to him later that I didn’t mean what I said… wait, I mean them! Why do I have to explain to him?Bookmark here

“Eh? You’re not lovers? What the, you should’ve told me earlier. Hahaha.” The ghost let out a friendly laugh and they showed themselves to us. Bookmark here

Black smoke spreads in the area as the two of us covered our faces quickly. After a while, the smoke soon dissipates.Bookmark here

There was a girl with long black hair reaching her waist. She has pale skin, probably because she’s a ghost. Her red eyes looks dead but there is a gentle light on them, she also has a friendly smile on her face. Aside from that, she was wearing a sailor uniform, different from the Nekoji Academy’s school uniform at present. If it isn’t for her feet not touching the floor, she looks like a normal student overall.Bookmark here

“My name is Ai, nice to meet you! I didn’t know that there were people who could see me! Ah, I’m happy! Ne, would you mind having a chat with me?” Ai-san gave us a wide smile. She looks cheerful and delighted that we could see her.Bookmark here

Is she the one who did something about the break-up incident?Bookmark here

“Don’t listen to her, Terushima! That is an evil spirit!”Bookmark here

Eh? This girl? She’s an evil spirit? That doesn’t seem like it at first glance…Bookmark here

However, the fact that she scared me out of my wits earlier is still fresh on my mind. This girl is still dangerous. We should not let our guards down.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.