Chapter 16:

Quite a Bit of Popularity

Unconsciously Interested



“Yu-chin! I miss you! How are you feeling?” Tomoka jumped to my side as soon as the breaktime bell rang.

“You should make it a habit to arrive at class before the first subject, so you won’t need to wait until break to check on her.” Minori, who is standing next to my desk, sounds like she’s scolding Tomoka.

“Ehh…?! It doesn’t help my grades when I’m early anyway, so why bother?” Tomoka protested.

“Ohh? I’m surprised you’re still capable of thinking about your grades.” Minori fired back.

“Of course I do! I need to know if I will pass or not.” Tomoka smugly puffed her chest. “So, how are you, Yu-chin?”

“I’m okay now... Thank you, Tomoka. Kyashii did a fantastic job taking care of me as well.”

“Oh, yeah? I’m glad to hear that. Mikami-san sure knows how to tend to sick people, huh?” Tomoka grinned.

“You’ve got it exactly right.”

“Here are the notes from last Friday’s lesson, Yuyo.” Minori passed me her notes. I sent her a message yesterday asking for her notes so I could review the lessons I missed.

“Thanks, Minori.”

“Don’t mention it.” Minori smiled at me before glaring at Tomoka. “Mizuno Tomoka, study up, or else you’ll have to do the make-up test again.”

“Yes, class rep!” Tomoka exclaimed, playfully saluting Minori, who just frowned at her as she returned to her seat.

I started looking over the previous lessons I missed as Tomoka quietly munched on her snack next to me.

At one point, I heard someone call out for Kyashii, but I was so focused on the notes that I didn’t pay much attention to it.

“Heeh... Mikami-san is undoubtedly pretty popular, huh?”

“Well, that’s implied. Her popularity dates back to her freshman year. I can tell you the same thing.” I said with my eyes locked on the notes.

“Really? Would you say that I’m more popular than her, Yu-chin?” I could hear a teasing tone in her voice even without looking at her.

“You both enjoy a different sort of popularity, so there’s no answer to that.”

“Ehh...? What a letdown. Yu-chin, you should have sided with your wife!”

Urrg... How am I supposed to stay focused with her constant chatter?

“Tomoka...” I closed the notes for a moment and looked at her.

“Yes, Yu-chin?” She’s grinning as if she doesn’t realize how she bothers me.

I lightly pulled on both of her cheeks. “Surely you realize I’m going over the lessons I missed, don’t you?” A wicked smile spread over my lips.

“Ye-Yesh! I’m sho-rry!”

“Aherm!” I heard Kyashii clear her throat out of the blue.

I quickly let go of Tomoka.

“Oh, Kyashii! What is it?” I smiled at her gawkily.

“Ouch! Do you have to keep hurting me like that, Yu-chin?!” Tomoka whined before Kyashii could respond.

I narrowed my eyes at her. “It wasn’t that painful, you know?” I turned my attention back to Kyashii. “What is it again, Kyashii?”

“Would you like to go home with me later?”

“Uhh... I have student council duties today.” But why would she want to go home together again? Kyashii and I seem to have been going home together lately.

“I’ll wait for you if you want.”

“Say, Mikami-san… You should also seek permission from Yu-chin’s wife.” Tomoka said without smiling, but I could see she was holding her grin there.

“Don’t mind her, Kyashii.” 

Kyashii stared at me in icy silence.


Why is she upset with me?! Tomoka is the one who’s making fun of her.

“May I then ask for it then, Mizuno-san?” Kyashii gave Tomoka a stony smile.

Pfftt… What a smile.

I can’t help but snort at Kyashii’s reaction.

“I’m happy to grant your request, Mikami-san!” Tomoka beamed as she gave Kyashii the peace sign.

Kyashii just nodded at Tomoka. “So, Yuyo, can we go home together?”

“Oh! Sure! Then, please wait for me until I’m done with student council duties.”

She simply smiled at me as she turned her back on us while Tomoka watched her get back in her seat.

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit mean to Kyashii? What’s your angle?” I looked at Tomoka through a squint.

“Nothing, Yu-chin. I enjoy teasing Mikami-san for my amusement. It doesn’t appear that she likes me. It might be because we’re close, or my friendly skill isn’t working with her,” she smiled before turning her eyes back at me.

“Kyashii doesn’t seem like the kind of person who gets along with just anyone, and you’re no exception. I have nothing to do with how she treats you. That’s just how she is.”

“Really? Mmm... You sure know a lot about her, huh?”

“I think I know just as much as a best friend should. And her personality’s also pretty easy to figure out. It’s kind of predictable.”

“Haah..?! Mikami-san is anything but predictable, Yu-chin! She’s a bit of a mystery.”

“Really? Even though I don’t spend most of my time with her, I’d say she’s fairly predictable.”

“Isn’t that because you are Yu-chin?”

“Huh? What does that make me?”

“I mean, I usually hang out with a lot of people, so I can pretty much guess their personalities by now. However, Mikami-san has always been distant from me since my first year, so I have no idea what she thinks whenever she’s around me. Yu-chin has a knack for reading people without spending much time with them, so you can pretty much figure Mikami-san's personality out. I call it a Yu-chin thing.”

“Hmm... Point taken. Maybe? But I don’t really read through people all that often. You could just say I’m just observant, I guess.”

“Yeah. I’m sure you don’t, Yu-chin.” Tomoka cracked a small grin.


“Yuyo-senpai! I’m glad you’re here now! How are you feeling, senpai?” Takashi-san hurriedly took the seat next to me as soon as she walked into the student council room.

There are only four of us here in the student council today. Minori won’t be around today since she needs to attend a meeting about our upcoming school trip. She’s on the school trip committee, so she will likely go home later in the evening.

“Yeah. I’m fine... I heard you showed up at the infirmary when I was out like a light. Thank you, Takashi-san.” I turned to look at her, only to find that she was making a weird expression.


Her face looks like that of a puppy whose owner has abandoned it.

What’s up with her face?

Hmm… But I think it’s adorable, though.

“Oh... It’s alright, senpai. It was lovely seeing your sleeping face. Even if you were sick at the time, you still looked cute.” She grinned.

A chuckle emerged from my lips. “Were you just there to poke fun at my sleeping face? I definitely looked messed up then.”

“No, senpai, of course not! I was there because I was genuinely worried about you. And there was nothing wrong with your appearance back then. I told you, you were pretty cute.” Takashi-san pouted.

“What’s with that attitude?” I chortled. “Anyway, you can go home early today. There isn’t much paperwork here today. For now, let your upperclassmen handle things. And besides that, everyone else is too busy preparing for the school trip.”

“Ehh…? When is your school trip, senpai?”

“It’s the following week. Which reminds me...I should probably leave you my unfinished tasks while I’m on the trip.” I teased. “You’ll have plenty on your plate.”

“It’s fine, senpai. Feel free to rely on me! It’ll be no problem for me. Whatever Yuyo-senpai needs.” She glowed.

Uff... This girl sure knows how to handle jokes, doesn’t she?

“I was just kidding. Of course, I wouldn’t do anything like that… Anyway, hurry up and go home. There isn’t anything to do here.”

“Do you not want me here any longer, senpai?” Takashi-san frowned.

“What?! No, nothing like that. It’s just a matter of telling you that you can go home now and enjoy your time off.”

I can’t leave until our student council president, who I’m not sure where she is on this planet, gets back to me with some essential documents. Besides that, Kyashii said she’d wait for me in the classroom since we agreed to walk home together.

“Let me enjoy my free time just by talking to you, senpai.” Takashi-san drooped against the table.

Hmm? What was she up to this time?

“Don’t you have anything to do after school when you’re not on student council?” She doesn’t look like she will leave anytime soon.

“Nothing much, senpai. I mostly hang out with my friends. We usually go to the mall after class.”

“Heeh... That sounds fun. I don’t frequent places like that.”

“Really, senpai? Then, where do you hang out with your friends?”

“Well, I prefer hanging out with Minori at the bookstore.”

“Whoa! That’s a smart student for you.”

“You are not making fun of us, are you?”

“No way, senpai! Hmph! That’s how you always think of me. You’re so cold-hearted.”

“This is what I call reverberation of our first encounter.”

She snickered softly. “Fine, senpai! I get it... Anyhow, where will you be heading on your school trip, senpai? Isn’t it too soon to go on a school trip? We’re only in May. Most schools take students on school trips in October.”

“We’re off to Nara. As for the school trip schedule, it appears they want to focus on Cultural Day comes October.”

“Ohh! Nara! With all those temples and the deer park! It’s definitely worth exploring. How nice... And it’s a fantastic place to go on a date, don’t you agree, senpai?”

“What is it with you and dating while doing school things?” I gave her a glassy-eyed look.

“Ehh…? It’s fun, senpai. If we were classmates, I’d ask you out on a date if we were going on a class trip together!”

Huh? Again?

Girls seem to be dragging me into more dating situations these days. Could it be that I’m so unpopular with guys?

Uff… Not that I mind, though. I’m just feeling a bit weird about this.

“My dating life is nonexistent. And you’re supposed to date your crush instead of your friend. What happened to that drinking water crush you had?”

“Who?” She grinned slightly before her playful mood waned. “Senpai, are you not interested in dating?”

“Yeah... Dating, love, romance, relationships, and all that jazz. They are not my cup of tea. That is to say, if you have a love problem, I’m not the right person to turn to for help. Okay?”

“Do you usually stay away from talking about love and crushes, senpai?”

“Something along those lines.”

“Then how can you help your closest friends if you don’t care about those things?” She suddenly got quite serious.

“Hmm. You know, Takashi-san... Sometimes, being there to listen is enough to help someone going through a rough patch in their relationship. It may not be possible for me to resolve their issues, but if I listen to what they have to say, maybe I can make them feel better. Listening to them is the best thing I can do, rather than trying to help them figure out stuff I personally don’t care about.”

“Oh! I’ll keep that in mind, senpai… But I had no idea you weren’t interested in those things, senpai... Hmm… So that’s why... Right! Now it all makes sense.” Takashi-san appeared to be pondering something.

“What is?”

“Oh! Just a thought, senpai. You’re quite popular, but you never seem to acknowledge those who admire you. I understand now why.”

“Huh?! What are you saying? It’s not like I’m popular or well-liked in that way.”

“Ehh?!” She giggled all the way up. “Having said that… Then, senpai, will you kindly listen to me if I have love problems or anything else?”

“Sure, of course. We’re friends, and I’m your senpai. I’ll be there, Takashi-san.”

“Really, senpai?!” Her eyes light up almost immediately.

“I told you I’d listen to your problems, but you can forget about getting advice from me concerning love, yeah?” I said with a smile.

“Yes, senpai! I’m aware of it by now. Thank you, senpai!” Her face engaged in a smile again. “You’re a wonderful person. It’s almost impossible not to like you.”

“Hmm... I suppose I should prepare myself for your woes, then?” My gaze narrowed at her.

“You bet, Yuyo-senpai! I’ll be in your care.” She bowed with a smile.

That’s what I thought...

A slight smile touched the corners of my mouth. “Yeah… Sure. I’ll do my best, Takashi-san.”

Lord Grimm
Kid Komet