Chapter 17:

Awakening Emotions

Cupid's BLAME!

On the other side of the creek, Airi observed the entire scene somewhat surprised, but mostly impassive.

Yusei had stolen Agatha from right under her feet, and she couldn’t do anything but watch from a few feet away.

She lost.

All her efforts had been for nothing - just like usual.

How stupid she was for thinking it would all work out, for once.

She sighed, disappointed in herself.

As she turned to leave, she heard a creaking noise, and a few hollow footsteps heading in her direction from behind her.

When she turned around to see what the sound was, she saw Yusei, who had made his way back from the other side to where Airi was standing.

He had one foot over the log and one foot on the ground, extending his hand towards her with a frown.

“...You too.”


“Gimme your hand.”

Airi’s eyes opened wide.

Yusei had come back for her.

Even though there was no reason for him to do so.

This was his chance to be alone with Agatha, and yet he came back for Airi.

She was shocked for a few seconds, looking at him with a few blinks, half wondering if he was the type to pull his hand away as soon as she reached to hold it, or if he would try to push her in once on top of the log.

Despite his reputation, Yusei didn’t seem the type, she thought.

She smiled at him warmly, reaching over to take his hand.

Yusei immediately started leading her to the other side, as carefully as he did Agatha.

She couldn’t stop staring at him the entire time.


Yusei popped a vein again the moment Airi suddenly laughed.

“What’s so funny!?”

“You’re quite the gentleman, aren’t you, Wilde?”

“...Shut up or I’m letting go of your hand.”

For once, she decided to drop the teasing the moment she was asked.

He had earned it, after all.

Suddenly, Agatha’s words came to her mind.

Airi had her suspicions, but this was the first time she got confirmation that Yusei was invited to this camp for misbehavior.

“So you’re here because you’re a delinquent, after all… I suppose that makes sense.”

“What’s that supposed to mean!?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just that you simply didn’t strike me as someone with academic merits, is all.”

“You made it worse!?”

“Fufu. You’re always so on edge. Is this how you are with everyone, or is it because… I’m a girl?”

“It’s because you’re annoying as hell.”

Airi laughed quietly.

Despite Yusei’s scary demeanor, he didn’t strike Airi as someone who wouldn’t hurt someone that wasn’t also a delinquent.

In fact, she would almost dare say he was… nice.

She’d even go as far as to say she felt safe with him right now.

A moment later, they reached the end of the log.

Yusei stepped down first, holding her hand in a tight grip to help her with the last hop down, but as she did, Airi’s foot slid on the slippery mud at the edge, and she headed face-first towards a harsh fall on the wet ground— before Yusei quickly caught her in his arms.

It had all happened so fast, Airi could barely react.

Yusei had moved instinctively to stop her fall, ready to yell at her for not being careful, but then Airi lifted her head and met his eyes.

She looked genuinely embarrassed, and equally grateful.

“Thank you…”

Yusei’s heart skipped a beat, immediately looking away from her with a slight blush creeping on his face.


He let go of her as soon as possible, all while Agatha observed the scene a few feet away, pulling on her braids to contain her excitement, whispering to herself.

“A-A-Amazing! That was really just like a shoujo manga! O-Or like a dating-sim! So that kind of thing can happen in real life, too! Aaaahhh!”

Yusei dusted himself off and cleared his throat, looking at Airi.

“Why are you guys so far from the camp, anyway? If you wanted to get a head start on the foraging, there was no reason to move so far into the woods.”

“Oh, I had other reasons.”

He gives her a puzzled look. His eyes move from Airi to Agatha instead, and Airi’s ‘reasons’ suddenly click.

Of course.

Airi was simply playing the game.

He sighed, coming back to the cruel reality of their situation.

“...Right. Forgot about that.

Airi fixed her hair, and her usual smile was back on her face.

“I’m very grateful for your assistance, Wilde. Though now that you understand, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave us to—”

“Nuh-uh,” he quickly interrupted her. “No way I’m leaving you two alone here in the woods. Who knows what you guys will do? Besides…”


“It’s dangerous and shit, isn’t it?”

Airi’s eyes widened in surprise, then she covered her mouth to chuckle daintily.


“I fucking hate it when you laugh out of nowhere.”

“I’m sorry. You’re just much more chivalrous than I thought, Wilde.”

He recoiled at her compliment.

Geh. Somehow hearing that from you feels disgusting.”

Agatha quietly stepped over towards them, coming down from her high.


They both looked at her, and she looked at them a few times, as if trying to decipher something.

“Are you two… friends?”

Yusei was the first one to wave a dismissive hand.

“Hah? No way. I don’t have any preppy friends.”

Airi smiled at Agatha, endeared by her genuine question, but her reply was directed at Yusei instead.

“Fufu. How are you so sure I’m not a delinquent?”

Yusei gave her a once-over, then he scoffed.

“You’re seriously asking me that, with your neat uniform and magically unripped tights despite being in the woods for who knows how long?”

“Oh, dear. Have you been looking at my legs this whole time?”

Yusei’s face flushed red in a second.

“W-WHA– NO! Stop making me sound– s-shut up!


Agatha twiddled her thumbs.

“S-So you just met on the bus, then?”

Airi nodded.

“You could say so, yes.”

“I see… that’s nice…”

Yusei growled, still a little heated.

What is?”

Agatha looked away, her voice a little quiet.

“You’re so friendly with each other so soon after your first meeting… I’m a little envious. I wish I could make friends that easily…”

Both Airi and Yusei glanced at each other for a moment.

They were both thinking that, if she were well-adjusted enough for that, she wouldn’t be one of Cupid’s cupils.

Airi shook her head.

“Oh… I’m a little hurt, Agatha.”


She flashed Agatha her brightest smile.

“I thought we were friends already.”

Agatha opened her eyes wide.


“Ah! W-We are!? I-I mean! We are! We’re friends! We ARE friends!! Yeah!!”

Her glasses almost fell off her face as she bounced in place, excited to find out she actually had another friend - a pretty girl, at that!

Yusei, however, was not impressed with Airi’s thinly-veiled manipulation of Agatha’s simple emotions and scoffed at her.

“...You’re unbelievable.”


Agatha stopped bouncing after a few seconds, and suddenly had a slightly worried look on her face.

“Though… I’m a little sad Emma couldn’t join us…”

Yusei didn’t know the girls ended up rooming together, but if Agatha knew Emma, it had to be because of that.

Still, it meant something was amiss if Emma didn’t tag along the two girls.

“Huh. That’s right. You’d think a ball of energy like that would be an early riser.”

Agatha looked at Yusei, shaking her head.

“Airi woke me up before dawn to bring me here. She said this is the best spot for foraging, so instead of waking her up and interrupting her sleep, we’re gonna surprise Emma with lots of tasty mushrooms!”

Yusei squinted in Airi’s direction.

Surprise her, huh.”

Airi smiled at him.

“Is there a problem?”

“Did you do something to her?”

“Me? Of course not. I saw that she was fast asleep, so I simply tucked her in properly so Agatha’s stirring wouldn’t wake her.”

“Yeah! Airi’s very nice!” Agatha chimed in with enthusiasm.

Yusei snorted.

“Yeah, I bet.”


Agatha tilted her head. Yusei simply waved a dismissive hand at her.

“Either way, you should hurry up with whatever you’re doing. The teacher’s gonna wake up soon and start asking questions.”

Airi removed some leaves from the bag that was hanging from her shoulder, addressing Yusei.

“That’s right, what are you doing here, Wilde?”

He shrugged.

“Couldn’t sleep, so I wandered out of the cabin pretty early on.”

“Oh, my. Even though we were all so tired?”

“The hot springs and the baths were closed by the time we arrived, right? I can’t sleep without a proper bath no matter how tired I am.”

Airi blinked.

“How unexpected of you.”

“Shut up.”


“Also…” Yusei started before he trailed off.


Airi pressed on.

Yusei glanced at her, then away, rubbing the back of his neck.

“I… kind of also felt this strange pull towards the woods. As if something was telling me to come here.”

“Oh, my.”

Agatha clapped her hands together at Yusei’s ethereal explanation.

“Th-that’s like something out of a manga…!”

He shuddered.

“Geh. Forget it.”

“Ah!” Agatha suddenly ran towards the root of a big tree. “Look over there! Mushrooms!”

Airi walked towards her, surprised.

“Looks like the pamphlet was right. There’s quite a few of them over here.”

Agatha crouched down and started picking some of them, putting them in her own bag with a big smile on her face.

“I-I want to get the biggest ones for Emma…”

Airi crouched next to her, and started helping her out.

“Fufu. You’re such a good friend, Agatha.”

Yusei stood back, smirking with his arms crossed.

“Heh. You must be seething right now, huh, Carroll? You came here to get close to her, but all she thinks about is someone else.”

Airi stopped moving for a moment.

Suddenly, she stood up, her back still facing Yusei.



She turned around smiling, but impassive as usual.

Then she jammed a mushroom straight into his mouth.

“Is this tasty?”

Yusei was completely caught by surprise. He immediately stepped back, spitting dirt and mushrooms all over.

Gehgh–pbfft! The fuck!? What the hell did you do that for!?”

“Fufufu. Help us pick them up, please. The sooner we finish, the sooner we’ll be on our way.”

She offered him a spare folding bag she had brought with her, along with a cute, mischievous smile.

Yusei wiped his mouth with his sleeve, and had to look away from her before his face heated up any more.

He yanked the bag out of her hands, and crouched down next to Agatha to help her pick the rest of the mushrooms from the ground.

“...Tch. Whatever.”

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