Chapter 35:

My Knight

Confession Games

After I escorted Kirisaki to the club room, I looked for Amakawa just for the sake of it, but she wasn't here yet so I left my bag and hurried to the soccer field where Arisugawa and I would meet up to help the soccer team. The two of us arrived at the same time and went to the coach for instructions.Bookmark here

As I could easily endure being hated and envied, I thought that handling this request wouldn't be anything out of usual. Unfortunately, I had underestimated the jealously and courage of these jocks. Bookmark here

It started with a few 'missed' shots. I wasn't very unlucky, so I managed to dodge most of them and allowed few to hit me on my limbs. On multiple occasions, I thought about throwing one of those shots back at the one who kicked it, but the moment I glanced at Arisugawa who was working with the team's managers, I suppressed that urge. It wasn't a very happy thing, but my endurance stat saw great improvement during the bullying arc so I didn't play into their hands. Bookmark here

Some of them also bounced into me, stepped on my foot and gave me a hard slap on the back, but I just memorised their features and covered the pot of my anger.Bookmark here

Eventually, their malice partnered with a coincidence and turned into my misfortune. While I was pushing myself to carry a bucket of ice to the igloo on the bench, another ball came my way, but this time I was too concerned about the bucket so my reaction was late, and not late enough. If my reaction was a little slower it would have just hit the side of my head, but instead my subpar reflexes made me welcome the ball with my face.Bookmark here

"Ahh!"Bookmark here

My very next action was to raise my hand to my face, and as that had a higher priority than the bucket, the ice inside was thrown to the grassy field along with it. Furthermore, if that wasn't enough, those guys made sure to kick me when I was down with their sneering.Bookmark here

"Oi oi, look what you did to our ice."Bookmark here

"Tch, incompetent."Bookmark here

"Hurry up and bring some more ice."Bookmark here

"And don't go stealing any for your face, you might look better that way, hahaha!"Bookmark here

The ones to make fun of me were only those seated on the bench, but I marked every one of them as an accomplice. I could handle the minor pranks that they were pulling before, but the searing pain my face was in was about to break down the chains of my restraint. Bookmark here

"Oi, you damn-"Bookmark here

With foul words at the tip of my tongue, just waiting to be released, I opened my mouth and then immediately closed it when I noticed her approaching.Bookmark here

Unlike I, who only wore a sweater over my shirt, Arisugawa had changed into her jumpsuit for PE class. Others might think this would provide no benefits to her beauty, but I thought otherwise. Plain clothes like this were like starting equipment, no special effects but no negative effects either. Therefore, I believed that if a woman could pull off this plain look, she could truly be considered attractive.Bookmark here

My mind drifted in a strange direction, but that was stopped the moment I heard her authoritative tone.Bookmark here

"What happened here?" she asked.Bookmark here

"Uh, I," I hesitated on whether or not I should tell her the truth. The boys on the bench made it obvious that they didn't want me saying too much, but they also seemed to possess the confidence to get out of any trouble.Bookmark here

In the end, I chose the relatively peaceful option, "I, tripped. Landed on my face and spilled the ice."Bookmark here

I scratched my head and smiled through the pain, but only until Arisugawa asked again, "Really?"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

This time I was silent. Bookmark here

I didn't know if she had seen through my lie, but it was enough doubt to seal my lips. Ashamed to face her, I lowered my head and clenched my fist. It would be easier if I just blamed those guys for messing with me, but the only one I ridiculed was myself.Bookmark here

'Damn it! If only I kept my guard up.'Bookmark here

Rather than lament my bad luck, I hated the fact that I couldn't react properly and ended up causing trouble for her.Bookmark here

"Akishiro."Bookmark here

As I sunk into my depressing thoughts, I flinched when she said my name. I was afraid. Afraid that I had let her down. She, who was perhaps the one I didn't want to disappoint the most. Bookmark here

Suddenly, I felt a warm touch on my cheek and my heart nearly stopped.Bookmark here

Arisugawa then whispered, "You really don't listen, do you? I already told you that I don't want you to endure for the sake of the club."Bookmark here

"Sorry..." I quietly replied.Bookmark here

I remembered that line from yesterday, and it was one of the things that pushed me to finish my match with Hiroki. However, when the time came, I wasn't able to be selfish. The possibility of smearing the club's reputation was too much for me to ignore it.Bookmark here

I trembled when she sighed in exasperation, and then looked at her with wide eyes when she said, "I'll handle the rest. You can go to the nurse if your nose is bleeding."Bookmark here

"N-no, I'm fine. I won't be much of a vice-president if I can't at least stay till the end of the request."Bookmark here

"...Fine. Watch how your President takes care of these pathetic boys."Bookmark here

Sensing that something would happen, I watched Arisugawa turn to face the soccer team on the field, and then put her foot on the ball.Bookmark here

She asked them, "Shall I return this?" Bookmark here

I couldn't have been the only one who felt a chilly breeze blow by, but the ones on the field only meekly nodded. That was when it happened.Bookmark here

"Wha, wha-"Bookmark here

Fast enough to leave a blur, the ball flew by the face of one of the players, the one who had stepped on my feet twice. Anyone could tell how scared he was from his pale face, but not a single person dared to move without permission. All eyes were locked on this 'smiling devil'.Bookmark here

"Oops, my apologies. I didn't land the hit," said Arisugawa.Bookmark here

"Actually, you're not supposed to hit the player," One player gently retorted.Bookmark here

However, he had fallen right into her trap.Bookmark here

"Is that so? I don't know much about soccer so I just assumed that to be the case. After all, it seemed like too much of a coincidence for the ball to keep hitting one person. Right?"Bookmark here

Instead of responding, the players looked at each other with pale faces as if they were all ill. Which was no surprise as even I felt afraid, and I wasn't facing that signature polite smile. On one hand I was glad that they were getting what they deserved, but I was also reminded never to get on her bad side.Bookmark here

A couple seconds later, Arisugawa got impatient and pushed them for an answer.Bookmark here

"Aren't you going to tell me if I'm correct or not? Vice-captain?"Bookmark here

As soon as she called out a specific member of the team, every player except one released sighs of relief while one brown-haired lad flinched. They stayed silent before, but now that she had called him out, he had to say something. On a separate note, I was quite surprised that even some of our seniors were afraid of her, but maybe that was normal. Bookmark here

Although the vice-captain of the soccer club was handsome and had a good reputation, he was average when compared to Hiroki and Zakushi. That vice-captain, wracked his brain and finally managed to come up with a decent excuse.Bookmark here

"Y-you have it wrong Arisugawa."Bookmark here

"Oh, then explain it to me," she commanded.Bookmark here

"There are a lot of new members in this team so their shots aren't that accurate is all."Bookmark here

Never mind, I take back the 'decent' part. It was obvious that this was the best he could come up with, and my President wasn't going to let him off that easily.Bookmark here

"Is that so? But even though they've missed several times I didn't see you correcting them," she pointed out.Bookmark here

"Ah, it's just practice so-"Bookmark here

The vice-captain tried to talk his way out of it, but he was way out of his league.Bookmark here

"Just practice? If they're so bad that they can only hit bystanders instead of passing or scoring, then why are they playing on the field? Pardon me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't such amateurs be better off practising by themselves? Or is this the standard of our prided soccer team?"Bookmark here

'And checkmate.'Bookmark here

If the vice-captain still had something to say, I would be impressed, but based on what I saw I didn't think that was likely. Bookmark here

As I expected, he closed his mouth and looked to his teammates for help, but not a single one faced his gaze. Seeing that they could no longer continue, Arisugawa let them off.Bookmark here

"Well, it's still not my place to find fault with these training methods. I'll leave you to your practice now. Let's go, Akishiro."Bookmark here

"Uh, yes."Bookmark here

I took a moment to pick up the bucket with the small amount of ice left in it, and placed it on the bench, before following Arisugawa who walked away. The first thing I did was apologize for the trouble, but that wasn't what she wanted.Bookmark here

"Sorry for-"Bookmark here

"Instead of an apology, you should thank me."Bookmark here

"Oh, thank you very much for your help," I said sincerely.Bookmark here

She nodded in acceptance, "As I just showed you, there are many ways to confront others without violence. In situations like this, you can retaliate however you want as long as it doesn't require violence. Blackmail, threats, tricks, you can have your pick."Bookmark here

"But, won't that mess with our reputation?"Bookmark here

"It would be worse if they thought that our club was made up of pushovers. From what I've investigated, you have a good idea of when it's okay to fight back so as long as you deem it acceptable you can do as you like."Bookmark here

While I processed what she was saying, Arisugawa glanced at me with a blank expression and delivered the line that made me forgot about my aching face.Bookmark here

She said, "You're one of my people, so you can count on me to protect you if things get out of hand."Bookmark here

She looked away right after, leaving my speechless self behind.Bookmark here

'It's like I'm the girl here...It's not a bad feeling.'Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.