My name is Kanami Kirisaki, a first year at Yorukobi Academy who will hopefully live to see tomorrow. On Monday of this week, the High School Assistance Club, or Life Assist Club for short, selected its first official job. The request was to solve the mystery behind the strange sounds that could be heard in the female dorm at night. This request was something I was personally interested in so I was the first to spot it and bring it to the others' attention, but I really didn't think things through...
Following a quick discussion, it was decided that I would be the only one who would actually solve the case. It couldn't be helped that I was the only one who lived in the female dorm, but I wasn't sure if I could handle such an important role. I wanted to help, but besides being 'cute' there was nothing else about myself that I could be proud of. Unlike my big sister...
However, he said that I could do it. He gave me the courage to take on this role. He told me that even I surely had special skills and talents, so in order to prove him right, I couldn't afford to fail this mission.
Two days after taking the request, the preparations were complete. After gathering information, Arisugawa was able to come up with three places where the sounds were heard most frequently. The changing room, the kitchen and the general living area. Considering that I would have to sneak out of my room to investigate, I was very happy that I only had three places to check.
'Okay, I can do this.'
Even though this would be for the benefit of the dorm, I had to keep my mission a secret. After all, we weren't allowed outside our rooms after lights went out, which was the only time that the sounds were heard. Even if I got caught, it would end with just a verbal warning, but I couldn't afford to smirch the club's reputation.
'Fufufu, it's like I'm a secret spy.'
With growing enthusiasm, I hid my true feelings behind a solid mask. I was sure that my acting was perfect, but my best friend and roommate was able to see through me during dinner in the dorm cafeteria.
"Kana, are you okay? You seem different tonight."
'Tch, as expected of you, Tohka.'
Tohka was a first year like me, but behind her perpetual frown was the gentle and caring nature of a big sister. I owed her more than I think I could ever pay back, but still, for the sake of my mission I couldn't tell her the truth.
'Kya! That line sounded so cool. Well done me.'
Instead of giving a response, I brushed off the question and focused on eating. Tohka didn't seem to be satisfied by my answer, but she didn't push any further either.
'Sorry Tohka, but this is a job for Kirisaki. Kanami, Kirisaki.'
Time passed quickly, until it was around midnight. I kept some of my attention on Tohka as I headed towards the door. I opened it as quietly as I could, but the slight noises made my heart race. Only when I finally closed the door behind me could I relax and breathe a sigh of relief, but that was only for a moment.
I thought that once I made it out of the room my adventure would begin, but I froze at the starting line. I could slightly view the outline of what was in my sight, but my fear was still aroused by this darkness.
'Can I really do this?'
As my courage waned, I tightened my grip on my phone and a small flashlight. Finally remembering about these tools, I turned on the flashlight. Without worrying about the danger of being discovered, I felt better with the flashlight out. I was starting to feel apprehensive, but then I recalled the encouragement I received from the others in the club.
'I can't give up here. I have to keep moving.'
Moving with the strength of my resolve, I headed for the first location on my list, the changing room outside the large common bath area. According to our (Arisugawa's) sources, many had once sneaked into the changing room at night because they forgot something, but were caught after screaming in fear. Apparently they heard the strange sounds while looking for their items and were so freaked out that they nearly collapsed on the spot.
Now that my fears were here to plague me, I had no idea how I would act in such a situation, but I had to keep going.
I went down to the second floor, which was only one floor below mine and stopped in front of the door to the changing room. The door was locked but I didn't need it to be open to check.
N-n-no, that's wasn't an excuse. I was able to hear it through my door so I should be able to hear it here as well.
I got close to the door, pressed my ear against it and then closed my eyes. At first, I stayed there hoping that I wouldn't hear anything, but then I realized that the longer it took for me to discover the sound, the longer I would be out here.
I earnestly wished for something to happen, but it was for naught. I waited for five whole minutes, but only the sound of the rustling of the leaves outside could be heard.
I reluctantly parted from the door and then headed downstairs to the first floor where I would search the living room and then the kitchen. On one hand that meant more work, but on the other hand I was getting closer to the end.
Even so, I went down the stairs with slumped shoulders, lacking the proper awareness for someone who couldn't afford to be caught.
When I was only a couple steps away from the first floor, I heard footsteps and hastily looked at the source of the sound, but I was shocked to see a woman who was also holding a flashlight.
In my surprise, a scream rushed to exit my mouth faster than I could stop it.
'I'm sorry everyone.'
I thought that everything would be ruined, that I would be caught and disappoint everyone. However, it was at this time that a hand blocked my mouth for me and turned off the flashlight in my hand. Of course I was grateful at first, but once that initial relief went away I started to struggle.
The one blocking my mouth then held me back with an arm around my waist, but I gave up on resisting when they whispered into my right ear.
"Shh. You don't want to be caught do you?"
It was a familiar voice. They were slightly taller than me and when I focused on it, the soft feeling on my back was also something I had experienced before.
'Could it be...?'
With anticipation and fear in my heart, I waited for the female guard to pass. When we could no longer hear her footsteps, I was released and could confirm my guess. I couldn't see her clearly in the dark, but I was almost certain.
I felt a strong urge to leap into her arms, but my duty held me back. There was something I had to ask before that.
"Um, why are you here?"
"That's what I want to ask you. I saw you leaving the room so I followed you to see what you were up to. Why did you sneak out, Kana?" she replied in exasperation.
In her reassuring presence, I wanted to expose everything, but this was something I had to do myself. As a member of the Life Assist Club, I had to finish this by myself. Even so, how could I lie to her?
"Um, I, well..."
I fidgeted as I tried to come up with something plausible, but before I could I heard a sigh from her.
"Never mind. If you can't tell me then I won't ask right now. Are you done with what you're supposed to do yet?"
Grateful for her consideration yet still unable to tell the truth, I shook my head.
"Okay then, lead the way."
At first, I remained standing in the darkness, hesitating, but then I felt her warmth comforting my hand.
'I'm sorry everyone.'
I wouldn't tell her about my mission, but once Tohka took my hand, I couldn't stop myself from relying on her anymore.
Hand in hand, we went to the general living area that was one room away from the dorm's entrance. Here, there was only a single couch and a small television, therefore, so as soon as we arrived I could confirm whether or not there were any strange sounds.
'This one's out too?'
I was sure that it wasn't here, but I still turned to Tohka and asked, "Do you hear anything?"
I couldn't see her face clearly, but she was likely confused while she answered, "No."
"I see. Let's go to the kitchen and then back to our rooms."
As afraid as I was, I hoped that we would hear the sounds once we reached our final destination. I was already depending on Tohka so I didn't want to disappoint the club members even more by not finding any clues.
The kitchen was connected to the cafeteria which was also on the first floor so it didn't take long before it was in sight. However, light was coming from the kitchen. There was only one security guard and she couldn't have passed by us and made it here so Tohka and I were both confused. But then, I faintly heard a rustling sound and wondered if this could be the clue we were looking for.
'Here we go.'
I tightened my grip on Tohka's hand and took a step forward. As we got closer to the kitchen, I realised that the light was coming from an open refrigerator, but no one was standing in front of it. I was perplexed by this at first, but then I heard a high-pitched sound coming from below. Whoever, or whatever, it was had opened the fridge and was likely on the floor doing something. I wrapped myself around Tohka's arm and slowly stuck out my neck to see what was there.
However, I never could have imagined what I would find.