Chapter 13:


Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~

“In other words, the information you got is not about the mission from god but about strange phenomenon with the students not being able to recognize us, right?” Mashiro-senpai scanned through the pages of the report that I made about the info that I got from Hanako-san.Bookmark here

I just nodded silently. Bookmark here

We are having a meeting on the student council office regarding the things that I found out from Hanako-san. I haven’t got any leads about the mission, so I don’t think that they will give me the promised approval to touch the cat ears. Uuu, it was too bad!Bookmark here

However, I intentionally left the deal offer from Hanako-san out of my report. It’s not that I want to hide anything but… I feel like I shouldn’t mention it to them yet. Bookmark here

I know that it was such an incriminating chance! But… accepting that deal is risky. Bookmark here

It was a good thing that there are only four of us here, Mikejima-kun is a no-show yet again. Above all, I’m thankful that Irosaki-sensei is not around, or else, she could’ve read my mind.Bookmark here

Another thing that has been bothering me for a while now are Hanako-san’s words about Kurokawa-senpai. Bookmark here

It was like a warning that something will happen to Kurokawa-senpai. Also, what does she mean when she said that Kurokawa-senpai is drifting away? Is he leaving?Bookmark here

Surely, he’s not planning to abandon the student council, right?Bookmark here

But still… everything sounds suspicious. I better watch him carefully just to be sure.Bookmark here

“U-um… T-terushima-san… did I do something wrong…? You have been staring for a long time already… do I have dirt on my face? Or do I look hideous to you? Aah… I should’ve shut myself in…” Kurokawa-senpai started mumbling to himself out of depression.Bookmark here

Ah! I didn’t realize that I’ve been staring at him for a while now. I definitely look suspicious to them. Bookmark here

“Senpai-chan, you’re awfully silent since you returned from talking to Hanako-san. You’re not possessed, are you?” Toujo-kun suspiciously asked.Bookmark here

“Ah! Of course not! Wait–what do you mean by possession?! Is that possible?!” Bookmark here

“Yes. That’s possible.” Haibara-kun nodded.Bookmark here

F-for real?! Bookmark here

“Haha, senpai-chan’s reaction is really amusing. Don’t worry, if senpai-chan is having a trouble…” Toujo-kun leaned closer to me and whispered to my ear with his breathy voice, “I’ll protect you. Fufu.”Bookmark here

I feel blood rushing to my face and I quickly pushed him away out of embarrassment. Bookmark here

“P-please stop, Toujo-kun! This is sexual harassment!” I closed my eyes tightly and covered my flustered face with my hands.Bookmark here

Haibara-kun sneaked from behind him and landed a chop on his head.Bookmark here

“Ittai! Aoi-chi, that hurts!”Bookmark here

You got what you deserve!Bookmark here

“Knock it off! You’re creeping her out.”Bookmark here

“T-that’s right! Why are you pulling those moves on me?!”Bookmark here

“Hoh… then why are you blushing, senpai?” Toujo-kun teasingly asked with his brows wriggling and a smug smile on his face.Bookmark here

“W-who’s blushing?! I’m not!”Bookmark here

AAAAH! GIVE ME A BREAK!Bookmark here

Why are you cornering me like this?! If this continues, my heart will definitely stop!Bookmark here

“Kurokawa-senpai! Please say something!”Bookmark here

Holding on to my last resort, I decided to call Kurokawa-senpai for help. Bookmark here

I was expecting him to do something but he seems out of it as if there’s something bothering him.Bookmark here

I shrugged Toujo-kun’s pestering and paid attention to Kurokawa-senpai. Bookmark here

“A-ano… Kurokawa-senpai, are you okay?” I asked him out of concern.Bookmark here

Kurokawa-senpai flinched for a moment but soon regained his composure.Bookmark here

Everyone in the room remained silent. Bookmark here

“A-ah… y-yeah…”Bookmark here

Now that I have a better look on his face, the bags under his eyes are noticeably deeper today. Did he stay up late again? Bookmark here

This is no good! Kurokawa-senpai is overworking again! Bookmark here

“W-what are we talking about again…? Sorry… I’m not paying attention…” he said in a weak voice and awkwardly forced a smile.Bookmark here

This is strange… Kurokawa-senpai is oddly dispirited today. Bookmark here

I mean, he was always depress about little things and that’s normal. However, I feel something ominous today that made me worried about him.Bookmark here

“Kurokawa-senpai–“Bookmark here

Just when I was about to speak, Mashiro-senpai cut me off and resumed the analysis of report.Bookmark here

“We’re talking about the phenomenon that the students can’t recognize us. Please take a look at this paper.”Bookmark here

“Wait! Mashiro-senpai–“Bookmark here

“Settle down, Terushima,” Mashiro-senpai strictly said and sent a glare to my direction which made me step down from my inquiry.Bookmark here

After that, Mashiro-senpai continued sending sharp glances in my direction every once in a while.Bookmark here

I haven’t done anything bad yet!Bookmark here

You’re definitely trying to stop me from talking to Kurokawa-senpai! You… white cat demon!Bookmark here

The discussion continued for long while. Bookmark here

I’m not expecting them to talk about this topic seriously. To be honest, that intel was just a bonus that I got as an assurance. It wasn’t actually the information that we’re looking for in the first place.Bookmark here

However, for some reasons, they are all agreeing about setting this phenomenon first.Bookmark here

“Popularity, huh…”Bookmark here

“It seems like we need to get known by the students.”Bookmark here

“That makes sense, Terushima-senpai said that some people still recognized us according to our popularity.”Bookmark here

“Fumu. Worry not, everyone! For I, Asahi Toujo, the most popular guy will tell you what you need to do! Hoho!”Bookmark here

Toujo-kun stood proudly with his fist on his chest and gazing above as if recreating a historic scene out of a story book. Bookmark here

This speech earned him cheers from Kurokawa-senpai who greatly supports his comrades, a lazy clap from Mashiro-senpai who just goes along with Kurokawa-senpai, and a muffled laugh from Haibara-kun.Bookmark here

“Aoi-chi! Why are you laughing?! I’m serious here!”Bookmark here

“Huh? I didn’t laugh though… pfft.”Bookmark here

“You just laughed!”Bookmark here

On the other hand, I just deadpanned at him.Bookmark here

“Toujo-kun is just third on popularity rankings though.”Bookmark here

“Wha?! How is that possible?! I’m the most handsome guy among us!” He flipped his hair confidently. “I demand a reevaluation!”Bookmark here

“Haha. Pain in the ass,” I mumbled under my breath. Bookmark here

This guy… he’s a narcissist! Bookmark here

“Ahem! Looking back on it, the most popular on the rankings is Haibara-kun, and Mikejima-kun coming in second. After that, Toujo-kun, Mashiro-senpai and Kurokawa-senpai followed respectively,” I read the results of the popularity rankings that I made from the responses of students in the school.Bookmark here

I originally did this out of curiosity even before I learned something from Hanako-san. It was plain chance that they interconnect like this.Bookmark here

However, the results are intriguing. There’s nothing weird with Haibara-kun and Mikejima-kun’s popularity, Toujo-kun also seemed just self-centric to claim that he was popular. But…Bookmark here

The third years are coming in last. Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai was still known by a few as ‘the pretty guy who stood in the middle of flower fields’, that was quite an exaggerating way to put it. The few that recognized him just said that he was so pretty and can’t approach him because it feels wrong.Bookmark here

Haha, I feel the same way. Mashiro-senpai seems out of everyone’s league. Not to mention, if you don’t want to freeze to death, don’t approach him.Bookmark here

And the most puzzling of all results is Kurokawa-senpai’s. It was…Bookmark here

Not even a soul knows him. Bookmark here

With exception from the student council, the teachers, and the staffs, there are no students who know Kurokawa-senpai.Bookmark here

Considering that it was like this, isn’t it more accurate if the third years are more popular that the lower years?Bookmark here

But still…Bookmark here

“Ne, are we going to be fine dealing with this now? Shouldn’t we focus on the mission first?”Bookmark here

Kurokawa-senpai sighed, “Terushima-san, this is also of importance. Even before we made the contract, we’re students–not to mention, student council, first and foremost.”Bookmark here

Ah… how could I forget… Bookmark here

They are just high school students. Bookmark here

It doesn’t matter if there was a contract or not. Bookmark here

They should be enjoying their high school days like every normal teens do. Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“And… the school year just started. We still have plenty of time to find it out.” Kurokawa-senpai smiled at me.Bookmark here

I mustered all of my courage and stood proudly. Bookmark here

“I understand. I’ll think of something. But don’t leave the student council yet, Kurokawa-senpai!”Bookmark here

What I said made his expression falter for a moment but soon regained his composure. A gentle smile formed on his lips.Bookmark here

“What are you saying, Terushima-san? I won’t leave.”Bookmark here

Ah…Bookmark here

Crap! I said that abruptly! I easily said what’s on my mind… Bookmark here

I swiftly covered my mouth and looked away from them.Bookmark here

“F-forget about it! I said nothing!”Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, I suddenly felt ice glaciers striking me from behind. It was followed by Mashiro-senpai’s cold voice as if summoning a snow storm inside the room.Bookmark here

“Terushima-san… you…” Bookmark here

I was the only one who can feel it though.Bookmark here

“Hora, Tsuki-senpai, calm down first…” Haibara-kun, who seemed to notice the murderous intent from Mashiro-senpai stood in front of him to calm him down.Bookmark here

Uwaah! Thank you, Haibara-kun!Bookmark here

I really can’t understand Mashiro-senpai. Every time I got closer to Kurokawa-senpai, he will always get in the way. Is he still wary about the first time we met? Bookmark here

I won’t do something bad to Kurokawa-senpai! I was carefully watching my steps around him! I even learned to filter my words in a way that he won’t misunderstood… I think.Bookmark here

“Fine. I’ll let this pass.”Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai sighed in defeat and settled down. Seems like Haibara-kun managed to calm him. If not, I’ll probably run for my life right now.Bookmark here

Toujo-kun, who was standing beside me, mumbled something. Bookmark here

“Tsuki-senpai is suspicious of you, Senpai-chan. After Kaichou dismissed us, run quickly.”Bookmark here

“Eh? W-what do you mean, Toujo-kun?”Bookmark here

“No matter what, don’t let him catch you.”Bookmark here

Somehow… I feel shivers down my spine. Bookmark here

“Ah… moving on! Let’s deal with the problem at hand first!” Bookmark here

I awkwardly started a discussion. I can still feel Mashiro-senpai’s death glares to my direction. Bookmark here

Haha, I’m in danger.Bookmark here

“If you guys have any idea on where should we start, feel free to suggest anything!”Bookmark here

I was the one who took charge of the discussion in order to shrug Mashiro-senpai’s threat. Uuu, it’s not working!Bookmark here

“Hai!” Toujo-kun raised his hand.Bookmark here

“Toujo-kun! Go ahead!” I frantically exclaimed.Bookmark here

“We’re talking about popularity, aren’t we? Then… how about hosting a mixer party? It was effective!”Bookmark here

What the heck?! How can this guy suggest something like that in a meeting like this?!Bookmark here

“What is a mixer…?” Kurokawa-senpai asked while slightly tilting his head in confusion.Bookmark here

Crap! Kurokawa-senpai doesn’t know it! It was better left unsaid!Bookmark here

At this point, I and Mashiro-senpai probably have the same thing in mind. Bookmark here

I’m still cautious about what he might do to me about his suspicions, but that goes for later. Bookmark here

The first thing that we must deal with is to shut Toujo-kun up before he could say something inappropriate in front of Kurokawa-senpai.Bookmark here

After exchanging a synchronized nod with each other, I and Mashiro-senpai took pieces of mochi in the snacks that Haibara-kun prepared for us.Bookmark here

Haibara-kun also nodded, he would distract Kurokawa-senpai for a while so we could deal with Toujo-kun.Bookmark here

We’ll leave that to you, Haibara-kun!Bookmark here

“Toujo-kun likes snacks, right?”Bookmark here

“Ahaha… yeah… I like them… but senpai, why are you looking at me like that?” Bookmark here

As if oblivious of our intention, Toujo-kun just awkwardly laughed from uneasiness.Bookmark here

“What are you saying Asahi-kun? This is normal though,” Mashiro-senpai ominously said, paired with his threatening smile.Bookmark here

“W-wait! Hear me out! If it was about the mixer–“ Bookmark here

Before he could continue what he was about to say, the two of us swiftly shoved mochi in his mouth that he ended up choking on it.Bookmark here

“P-pweashee shtopp…” he cried with his mouth full of mochi.Bookmark here

“Haibara-kun’s sweets are delicious though!”Bookmark here

“Saa, eat more, Asahi-kun.”Bookmark here

After suffering from endless chewing of sticky mochi, we managed to shut him up.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Kurokawa-senpai is distracted by talking to Haibara-kun. His eyes lit up while talking to his kouhai, it seems like their conversation is interesting.Bookmark here

“That’s a nice idea, Aoi-kun! Ne, what do you think, everyone?”Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

Haibara-kun nodded and explained his suggestion, “Since Terushima-senpai is a transferee, she probably don’t know about the sports festival. Every year, when the seasons started to change from Spring to Summer, Nekoji Academy’s Sports Festival is held.”Bookmark here

“Ooh! That’s nice!”Bookmark here

“That was the first event of the school year after all. What I’m suggesting is that, we should hype up things this time. That way, we could also raise the popularity of the student council.”Bookmark here

“That could work…” Bookmark here

Even Mashiro-senpai agreed.Bookmark here

“Right? Aoi-kun suggested a good idea! Everyone here is okay with that?”Bookmark here

Everyone gave our agreement about it. Toujo-kun who was forced to chew mochi since earlier just managed to nod his head.Bookmark here

Did we go overboard?Bookmark here

“Then, let’s call it a day. I’ll stay here to make plans for the event. Everyone is free to go now.” Bookmark here

“Wait, senpai! You should res–“ Bookmark here

I was just about to appeal to Kurokawa-senpai when I felt a cold touch on my shoulder. When I look behind, it was Mashiro-senpai, smiling ominously.Bookmark here

“Terushima-san, can I have a word with you?”Bookmark here

“A-ah… etto…”Bookmark here

While I was trying hard to not look at him, my sight fell upon Toujo-kun, now recovered from chewing mochis, he mouthed something.Bookmark here

‘Run.’Bookmark here

“Sorry, senpai. I have something that I have to do. Well then, later!”Bookmark here

Run! Bookmark here

As soon as I get out of the office, I made a run for it. Bookmark here

It completely slipped from my mind! I need to run away!Bookmark here

“Terushima-san, why are you running?”Bookmark here

As if Mashiro-senpai was a ghost from a horror movie, he showed up out of nowhere and put his hand on my shoulder as I feel his bloodlust even from behind.Bookmark here

I just swallowed a lump on my throat.Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

“Now then, Terushima-san, speak up.”Bookmark here

What is this situation? Bookmark here

I ran for my life with everything I got, but even then, Mashiro-senpai managed to catch me and we somehow ended up on the back of the dorm.Bookmark here

In order to make sure that I won’t escape, he locked me in the wall, with both of his hands in each side.Bookmark here

My face is currently burning from embarrassment.Bookmark here

“I don’t know what you’re thinking but I suggest you to speak up now. Don’t test my patience, Terushima. What did Hanako-san tell you about kaichou?”Bookmark here

His glare pierced through me as if a pointed weapon aiming to slit my throat. Mashiro-senpai is dead serious to squeeze out any information from me.Bookmark here

I gulped out of fear. Bookmark here

My heart was beating rapidly, a cold sweat broke on my forehead… what an intense pressure.Bookmark here

“Don’t think of making any excuses. That ghost definitely said something.”Bookmark here

There’s no one here. Bookmark here

I was cornered. Bookmark here

There’s no point regretting that I turned to run in a secluded place. I don’t have a choice. Bookmark here

If I died here, please send my regards to my dear father. Tell him that I love him so much. His daughter lived a life with no regrets, she was just plain stupid to stood up against a demon.Bookmark here

I’ll speak up. If it was Mashiro-senpai, he definitely knows what does that mean.Bookmark here

“N-ne… about Kurokawa-senpai… is he drifting away?”Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai didn’t respond for a while. Bookmark here

It became silent all of a sudden, all I could hear is the blowing of the wind and the rustling of the leaves from the trees.Bookmark here

“Hah. So that ghost said something like that…”Bookmark here

I lift my gaze and glanced at him. Our eyes didn’t meet since he was looking down.Bookmark here

“A-ano… Mashiro-senpai…”Bookmark here

“Anything more?”Bookmark here

“Ah… nothing else. She just said that I must look out on Kurokawa-senpai, and that as soon as his contract ends, it was over for him.”Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai remained silent and raised his left hand from locking me into the wall. However, it wasn’t to let me go, the way he raised his hands, closing it into a fist, he’s definitely going to hit me.Bookmark here

I closed my eyes tightly, expecting his fist to land on my face.Bookmark here

I definitely made him upset now, right? Uuu, please don’t make it painful.Bookmark here

However...Bookmark here

It didn’t come. Bookmark here

THUMP!Bookmark here

A loud thud made me flinch on my place as I opened my eyes to see his fist making a dent on the wall. He punched it!Bookmark here

I-is he okay?Bookmark here

“This is… unacceptable…”Bookmark here

I freeze in that moment.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai’s voice… it was in so much pain.Bookmark here

“That guy doesn’t deserve it… I can’t just let it end like this… I don’t want to lose someone important to me again…”Bookmark here

Again…Bookmark here

This isn’t the first.Bookmark here

I know the pain of losing someone important.Bookmark here

Things like 'if only I could do something at that time, I’ll do it whatever it is’. Those thoughts always clouded my mind after Mom died. Bookmark here

It might be a natural death but the pain is still there, it leaves a wound that time may or may not be able to heal.Bookmark here

Seeing Mashiro-senpai frustrated about Kurokawa-senpai’s sake said it all. Bookmark here

He is important to him.Bookmark here

“That guy… no matter how many times I pushed him away… he always sticks by my side. No matter how cold I treated him, he would always smile… I took everything for granted and before I know it… that guy is about to disappear…”Bookmark here

As I thought… there’s really something wrong with Kurokawa-senpai. Bookmark here

Telling comforting words at this point may just come out impudent. Bookmark here

I just remained silent.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai is a strong person. I could tell how much pain it is from every word he said but… he’s not crying. Bookmark here

He’s trying hard not to cry.Bookmark here

“If I could make a wish to that god again, I’ll do it over and over again,” his voice finally cracked.Bookmark here

It hit me. Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai was desperate. Bookmark here

All that time he was hostile towards me, it was because of Kurokawa-senpai. He was wary that I might do something bad to his friend. Bookmark here

Well, it’s not something that I can understand easily. I don’t have any idea about that kind of long lasting friendship.Bookmark here

It was something that I never had.Bookmark here

“Senpai… I actually have something that I didn’t mention. Hanako-san offered a deal to me. She said that she would answer any questions I have in exchange for a favor.”Bookmark here

If the deal would benefit us, I won’t mind accepting it.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai lifted his gaze and looked at me with widened eyes.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai held both of my shoulder and lightly shook it. He looks restless by what I said.Bookmark here

“Terushima, promise me that you won’t accept that deal no matter what.” His voice trembled.Bookmark here

Eh?Bookmark here

“W-wait, aren’t you going to say that I should accept it?”Bookmark here

“Accepting that kind of deal with a supernatural will only bring you misfortune!"Bookmark here

Senpai… Bookmark here

“Promise me that you won’t accept it,” he repeated and shook me more intensely from earlier.Bookmark here

“I… I p-promise… stop shaking me senpai…” I mumbled softly as I started to feel dizzy from the way he’s shaking me.Bookmark here

“O-oh… sorry…”Bookmark here

“That was too much, senpai!”Bookmark here

He lets out a soft chuckle and I noticed a subtle hint of blush on his cheeks. Bookmark here

It looks like he’s enjoying himself by making fun of me. Bookmark here

I pouted at him and sulked.Bookmark here

“Are you sulking because of the deal?”Bookmark here

“That’s not it!”Bookmark here

“Then, how about making a deal with me instead? If you help me save kaichou… Yuuto-kun, I’ll let you touch my cat ears.”Bookmark here

Now that I realized… it was the first time that I heard Kurokawa-senpai’s first name being spoken.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai lend his hand out to me. I held it and shook hands with him.Bookmark here

“I accept.” Bookmark here

I got Mashiro-senpai’s approval! Yayyy!Bookmark here

But still, even if he doesn’t make a deal with me, I will still end up finding myself doing something anyway.Bookmark here

“Mashiro-senpai, you really like Kurokawa-senpai, huh.”Bookmark here

“Un… he’s someone that I admire greatly. He was like a hero to me.” Bookmark here

A gentle smile formed on Mashiro-senpai’s lips while saying that. Bookmark here

If only he could be this gentle every time, I bet he would be popular in no time!Bookmark here

“Now then, we should focus on making the Sports Festival a success. We only have a month left, we should assist kaichou with everything we got.”Bookmark here

“Are you putting me on work right away? What a slave driver…”Bookmark here

“Get to work, Terushima.”Bookmark here

And that was how I ended up collaborating with Mashiro-senpai. Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

In preparation for the upcoming Sports Festival, all of us are giving our best.Bookmark here

However, everything is not going to sail smoothly. Problems started rising one after another during our one month preparation for the first event of the school year.Bookmark here

And the biggest problem was...Bookmark here

"How shameful can you be?! Seducing Tsuki-senpai like that! What cheap tricks are you planning?! Oi! Terushima!"Bookmark here

It was that damned Calico.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.