Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love
"Was this really a good idea?" Shiho asked shyly.
"Don't worry. Everything will be fine." Kazuma answered confidently.
"But damn, you sure have guts!" Hirata complimented him and slapped his back.
Kazuma and his friends were on their way back to the train station after they dealt with the delinquents in the mall.
While everyone was chatting, Shinya was in thoughts.
"Hm? What's wrong, Shinya?" Kazuma asked.
"The thing you said to them..."
"Don't mess with us ever again. We are the new gang everyone should watch out for. We are 'The Owls'. That's what you said." Shinya recited.
Kazuma nodded his head.
"What are you planning and since then? I know that you wouldn't declare something like that on a whim."
"Hahaha!" Kazuma laughed.
"What's so funny?" Shiho asked as she and Hirata turned to Shinya and Kazuma.
"You truly know me well, Shinya. You're right. I've planned to declare this for three months already."
"Three months? Why didn't you tell us anything?" Hirata asked.
"My idea was still full of gaps. I had to think this thoroughly through."
"And what's the purpose?" Shiho inquired.
"To spread our name so that less people start a fight with us. Am I right?" Shinya replied instead of Kazuma.
"Yes. Isn't it annoying? We just try to hang out in public but there isn't a single day where delinquents won't try to intimidate us with their gazes or where they won't pick a fight with us." Kazuma elaborated.
"I-is it because of me?" Hirata lowered his head.
Hirata was often the target of delinquents even before he met Kazuma and the rest. Due to his stature, the delinquents felt pressured and threatened. Therefore, they fight him to show dominance and to restore their pride.
"Raise your head. No need to feel sorry. Even if it wasn't because of you, sooner or later I - No, we would have done the same thing." Kazuma reassured.
"Just imagine the future where we can have fun without interferences! Every single one of them will bow their heads in respect to us while we walk!" he added with a smile.
Hirata chuckled in response.
"Yeah... You're right."
His guilty expression slowly changed into his usual one.
"But why owls?" Shiho asked as she tilted her head.
"Oh, ehm, well..." Kazuma scratched his blushing cheek.
The reason for the name was too embarrassing for him to say.
The others stared intensively at him.
"Ah, fine! I'll tell you so stop staring! The reason may be underwhelming."
"Just spit it out already!" Shiho nudged him with her elbow.
"The night when I first met Shinya. I remember how silent it was. The only thing you could hear were the owls. That's it." Kazuma explained as he tried to avert their gazes.
They did not say anything.
"Haha, I'll die from laughing!"
They broke out in laughter.
Kazuma's face turned redder than a tomato and his head was smoking from embarrassment.
"The night we met? Pfff! I can't anymore! Since when were you so romantic?" Shinya commented as he tried to held in his laugh.
"Hahaha! The reason was really not what we were expecting." Hirata laughed.
"But it's a good name." Shiho, who still had tears from laughing, cheered him up.
Kazuma was pouting while his friends were mocking him.
"Geez, don't be like that, Kazuma. We are sorry for laughing, haha!" Hirata said.
"Yeah, in the end, no one of us disagrees with the name, right?" Shinya stated while he leaned his arm on Kazuma's shoulder.
In response to Shinya, the other two nodded their heads.
"See?" Shinya smiled at him.
"So this marks the birth of our gang, huh?"
"Let's take a picture to celebrate it!"
With his embarrassment gone, Kazuma turned stern.
"Are you really sure? If you want to, then you don't have to force yourself into this. Especially you Shiho. I don't want to offend you but it could be pretty dangerous for girls."
Despite being the one who suggested the idea, Kazuma did not want to force them to participate in his selfish plan.
Of course, he hoped they would participate. After all, they were his dear friends. But it was just his hope.
The world of gangs and delinquents could not be described with just cruel and dangerous. Kazuma also hoped that his friends would decline so that they would not have to put themselves in danger.
He was contradicting himself.
"Man, what are you talking about? As long as we four stick together, we are invincible!" Hirata said as he flexed his biceps.
"That's funny considering that you were beaten to a pulp." Shinya remarked.
"Huh? You were on your knees, too!" Hirata fought back.
"Tsk, tsk. You're too naive. I held back when I faced him." Shinya justified himself.
"Huh? Me too naive?" Hirata said in a provoked tone.
While the the two continued to insult each other in the back, Shiho walked side by side with Kazuma.
"Don't worry about me, Kazu-kun. Did you forget that I'm at least as strong as Brother?"
"I know but..." Kazuma's face turned grimmer.
"No buts! I will take responsibility for myself!" she claimed as she placed her hand proudly on her puffed chest.
"Seems like I can never win against you." he said as his smiled faintly.
"Yup!" she agreed with a toothy smile.
Thus, the group of friends founded 'The Owls'.
Another year passed and Kazuma was now in his last year of middle school.
It was a hot summer when the cicadas were heard outside.
Since their own gang was founded, their everyday life was far from being dull and relaxed. Be it morning, noon, afternoon or night, the four friends were constantly involved in street fights with other gangs and delinquents their age.
Always coming out as the victor, their name and circle got bigger and bigger. Within just one year, 'The Owls' succeeded making other gangs fear and respect them.
The story about the up-and-coming gang was spread like a wildfire.
Now, almost the entire Kanto region knew about 'The Owls' which had about 100 members.
"Good day, sir!" multiple delinquents yelled as they bowed their heads.
"What are they doing here, Shiho?" Kazuma asked tiredly.
"W-well, they insisted on acting as our bodyguards..." Shiho answered embarrassed by this situation.
Currently, Shiho and Kazuma were sitting on a bench of a park while multiple members of their gang surrounded them.
"Geez..." Kazuma sighed.
"Listen up, guys! Get your asses out of here! You disturb the people!" he ordered them.
"B-but, sir, what if a gang ambushes you?" a member asked in a worried behavior.
"Huh? Do you think we'll lose or what?" Kazuma retorted.
"No, not at all!"
"Then, get out of here and don't make me repeat myself, you hear me?" Kazuma said as he stared at them threateningly.
"Yes, sir!" they obeyed and left.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
"Why the hell are you clapping?" he asked Shiho irritated.
"It always amazes me, seeing you acting as a boss." she replied while still clapping her hands.
"Oh, well, whatever. Where are Shinya and Hirata? Did Shinya say anything to you?"
"I don't know. I'm not his mother." Shiho shrugged her shoulders.
"But you're his sister."
"You want to get hit?"
Kazuma clenched his right fist and was about to punch her.
"Oh, seems like someone sent me a message!"
"Maybe those two?"
"Let me check."
Shiho read the message and then showed it to Kazuma.
[Sorry, but Shinya and I have to do something. Enjoy the day without us!] Hirata wrote.
"Are they kidding me? Today's finally the day in the month where we can take a break from all the stuff involving gangs."
Shiho looked thoughtful at the message.
"Something wrong?" Kazuma asked.
"It's just my brother."
"Recently, he's kinda suspicious..."
"What do you mean?"
"He goes out every night and comes home with new injuries."
Kazuma was shocked when he heard it.
"Could it be that Hirata is going with him?"
"I-I don't know..." Shiho looked down.
"What the heck..." Kazuma was trying to think of a possible reason.
It was silent for a few minutes.
"Aaahhh, whatever! Thinking about it now is pointless! Let's just ask them the next time we see them." Kazuma decided as he stood up abruptly from the bench.
"Y-yeah, you're right." Shiho, who was slightly surprised by Kazuma, agreed.
Kazuma took a deep breath.
"Well, in the end, they're Hirata and Shinya. As if they would plot something bad, right?" he reassured the worried Shiho with a kind smirk.
"Yes." her smile returned on her face as she softly agreed with him.
He sat down again.
"Now, what should we do? Let's enjoy our break." Kazuma asked.
"Hmmm..." Shiho was thinking.
This time, Kazuma's phone vibrated in his pocket.
"Who is it?" Shiho asked as she tried to lean closer on him to see his the message.
He jumped off the bench.
"D-don't startle me like that!"
"Sorry, I also have urgent business to attend! See you tomorrow!" Kazuma waved his hands and began to run away.
Before she could say anything, Kazuma was already too far away to hear her.
While he was running, he read the message all over again with a pure and excited expression.
[Honey? Could you come home now, please?]