Chapter 12:

Start Of The Chain Reaction

Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love

On top of the summer like temperatures, it rained in the morning. It was a muggy weather which marked the change from June to July.Bookmark here

The streets were empty as a boy ran with an umbrella in the rain.Bookmark here

“Oh, crap! This must be the first time that I overslept!”Bookmark here

It was Kazuma. He was late for school because the batteries of his alarm clock died overnight. Therefore, he woke up more than half an hour later than normally.Bookmark here

“What should I use as an excuse? Saving a cat from a truck? Helping an old lady crossing the street? Yeah, that should do it.” he mused.Bookmark here

“Hm? Now that I think about it, what happened to Yui?”Bookmark here

Due to Kazuma and Yui being neighbors, they would usually walk together to school. It would also prevent the other one from oversleeping if that would ever occur.Bookmark here

“Did she wait for me? No, she would've barged into my home, for sure. Is she maybe ill? Or did she also oversleep?”Bookmark here

While he ran in the rain, he thought about Yui until he finally saw the school.Bookmark here

After he changed his outdoor shoes with indoor ones, he hurried into his classroom.Bookmark here

“Sorry I'm late! I oversle- I had to help a cat crossing an old lady!” Kazuma misspoke when he entered the room while being covered in sweat.Bookmark here

The students began to giggle as they heard his excuse.Bookmark here

“A-alright... Just take your seat.” the teacher was taken aback by Kazuma.Bookmark here

As Kazuma went to the seat, he searched the room for Yui but he did not spot her.Bookmark here

“Now open the page...” the teacher continued with his lesson.Bookmark here

After he sat down, Kazuma took his school materials out. While he pretended that he was paying attention to the teacher, he wondered about Yui's whereabouts.Bookmark here

“Well, she must be ill...” he muttered to himself.Bookmark here

As time passed, lunch time began and rain became heavier than it was in the morning.Bookmark here

“Lunch, huh? With Yui not here, it'll be just Emma and me.”Bookmark here

Kazuma stood up as he prepared to meet up with Emma for lunch.Bookmark here

“!”Bookmark here

However, he remembered it again. Kazuma remembered their conversation from yesterday.Bookmark here

“Or it'll be just me...” he scratched his head.Bookmark here

He proceeded to walk out of the classroom to buy something in the cafeteria. But before he left the room, he noticed the glances from Yui's friends.Bookmark here

They looked at him shyly and yet also anxiously and remorseful as their eyes wandered around avoiding directly meeting Kazuma's eyes. It was as if they wanted to come clean with something but could not do it due to them being too scared.Bookmark here

Kazuma stared at them for a second and then decided to ignore them in spite of their suspicious behavior.Bookmark here

“How boring...” he commented as he yawned.Bookmark here

Normally, he would hang out with Yui during lunch but with her absence, he was all alone again.Bookmark here

There was no one, who would start a conversation with him. No one, who would joke and laugh with him. There was nobody, who would talk to him. It was always Yui, who did it.Bookmark here

Today was the first time that Kazuma realized how much of an impact she had on his life as she would always be on his side wherever he was.Bookmark here

Being deep in thoughts, he did not realize that he already arrived in the cafeteria. There, he just bought a sandwich and left again.Bookmark here

While he walked back to his classroom, he stared out of the windows and saw that the rain did not let up one bit. Bookmark here

Thud.Bookmark here

Suddenly, he bumped into someone's shoulder.Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry.” he apologized as he turned to the person.Bookmark here

“I'm also sorry.” the other person also turned to Kazuma.Bookmark here

“Emma?!” Kazuma realized it was Emma whose shoulder he bumped into.Bookmark here

“Kazuma-san? Sorry, I, uhm, have to go to the cafeteria...” she said as she averted her eyes from him.Bookmark here

“Wa-”Bookmark here

She ran away before Kazuma could even say something to her.Bookmark here

He sighed.Bookmark here

“Yeah, today is a pretty terrible day.” he stated with a self-deprecating smile.Bookmark here

When Kazuma returned to his class, lunch was over and the lessons resumed.Bookmark here

“Maybe I should pay her a visit...” he said to himself.Bookmark here

Not being able to wait any longer for the school bell to ring, Kazuma began tapping his right foot.Bookmark here

Three minutes later, it finally rang.Bookmark here

“Finallly!” he groaned.Bookmark here

He left the room as the first person and began to walk in a fast pace. He did not notice it but he was very eager to see Yui.Bookmark here

When he changed his shoes and exited the building, he raced to her house. Despite it still raining, he did not use his umbrella because he could not care less at that moment if he got wet. He just wanted to see her.Bookmark here

In the meantime, Emma was still in her classroom. Even though everyone else left, she still sat on her seat as she thought about the dispute between her and Kazuma yesterday. Since that time, she could not think about anything else. She did not even notice that Yui was absent.Bookmark here

“Why can't I apologize...”Bookmark here

Emma wanted to apologize to Kazuma today but could not in spite of the chance she had during lunch. Actually, she searched for Kazuma when lunch time began, however, when she saw and bumped into him, she could not properly apologize.Bookmark here

It was her first time raising her voice and having a dispute. She knew she had to say sorry but she was scared. Emma was scared of how Kazuma thought about her. She thought that he was maybe angry and annoyed. Therefore, she ran away.Bookmark here

“No... I can't run away forever! I will apologize tomorrow, for sure!” she decided as her eyes were filled with determination.Bookmark here

With her resolve being strengthened, she finally stood up and prepared to go home.Bookmark here

However, when she walked in the hallways, she heard a specific voice among a group of other male students.Bookmark here

“A-are you really sure, Kirisaki-san? What if the police gets involved?”Bookmark here

“Haha, why so scared, man? He has Tachibana-san on his side. One word from her and the police will run with their tails between their legs!”Bookmark here

Not wanting to get caught by them, Emma leaned on the wall and beside the open gap of the door. She was aware that eavesdropping was rude but she was curious about what Ken and his group had to say after her name was dropped.Bookmark here

Ken sighed.Bookmark here

“I don't need her. The police won't interfere. The people I hired are experienced.” he stated with a confident grin.Bookmark here

“Don't need her, huh? That's pretty cold, haha! Don't you love her?”Bookmark here

“Love? Are you dumb or stupid? In the end, it is just an arrangement made by our parents without our consents. There is nothing akin to love between us.” he explained while he glared annoyed at the person who made the comment.Bookmark here

“I-I'm sorry! Uhm,... by the way whom did you hire?” the person desperately tried to change the topic.Bookmark here

In that moment, Ken's grin grew wider.Bookmark here

“'The Owls of Tokyo'.”Bookmark here

“!” the other group members were shocked when they heard the name.Bookmark here

Emma, who was still eavesdropping, wore a sad expression on her face despite smiling.Bookmark here

After a few minutes passed, she decided to go but then, she heard something that shocked her so much that she returned.Bookmark here

Slam.Bookmark here

She slammed the door open with a panicked look.Bookmark here

“W-what did you say?!” her panic and anxiety grew larger with each second.Bookmark here

Everyone in the room was shocked by her appearance besides Ken. Even though he realized that his plot was known to Emma, he still remained calm.Bookmark here

“Now listen Emma...” Ken started to speak.Bookmark here

While Emma confronted Ken and his group, Kazuma arrived at Yui's house.Bookmark here

“Oh, hello Kazuma-kun!” Yui's mother opened the door when he rang the doorbell.Bookmark here

“Hello Nagisa-san. I just wanted to give Yui the materials from today's classes.” he took the materials out to give them her mother.Bookmark here

“What? Wasn't she at school today? She wrote yesterday evening that she would be staying over by one of her friends for two nights due to a school project. Maybe she skipped class with her friend to work at it.” she poked her cheek with her index finger as she mused about Yui's absent.Bookmark here

“Is that so? Well, I guess maybe that must be it.” he shrugged his shoulder.Bookmark here

“Then, have a nice day!” he said.Bookmark here

“Oh, don't you want to stay and eat dinner with us?” she suggested.Bookmark here

“Thanks for the offer, but I remembered that I still have to do some things.” Kazuma smiled awkwardly.Bookmark here

“That's too bad... Well, another time, okay?” she smiled back.Bookmark here

“Sure!” he waved his hands as he left her house behind.Bookmark here

Kazuma entered his home but he stood still at the entrance.Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

He was in thoughts.Bookmark here

“Maybe I should call her.”Bookmark here

Then, he took out his phone from his pocket and called her.Bookmark here

“What is taking her so long?” he wondered.Bookmark here

After a while, his call was finally picked up.Bookmark here

“Geez, wher-”
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[I was waiting for you.]
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Kazuma was puzzled. It was not the voice of Yui. It was the voice of a boy his age.
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“Who are you?”
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[Check your phone.]
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After that, the mysterious boy ended the call.
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Kazuma, who was confused and anxious, rapidly checked his notifications and spotted a newly sent message.
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The message only contained an address.
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His guts were telling him that Yui was in danger and therefore, he sprinted out of his home and was on his way to the address.
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Thus marked the end of Kazuma's mundane everyday life as everything will be turned upside down.
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You can resume reading from this paragraph.