Chapter 32:

Sense of Protectiveness

Unconsciously Interested



Right! Of course…

There’s no denying Kyashii and this gyaru are still at odds after the incident involving that other guy, which explains her hostile gaze.

I cautiously inched my way closer to Ezaki-san by a few paces. My instinct tells me that the safest bet right now is to keep my distance from Kyashii and the gyaru.

“Uhm, there was an insect in her eye, and all I did was to get ri—”

“I wonder why you didn’t help this girl instead, Ezaki-san?” Kyashii cut me off and sent an indignant glance at Ezaki-san.

The way Kyashii was staring at him surprised Ezaki-san, but he managed to keep a smile on. “Ahh… I thought it would be inappropriate for me, so Shibasaki-san volunteered and stepped up to the plate, Mikami-san.”

“Volunteered??” Now, Kyashii’s piercing stare shifted to me.

Uhh… Is she in such a glaring frenzy that she literally just shot all three of us the same glare? Also, I didn’t sign up for this myself. Ezaki-san basically talked me into doing it even though I didn’t want to. “Well, y-yeah... Gyaru-san here was in need of he—”

“Hey! I told you my name isn’t gyaru-san!” The gyaru cut me off this time.


Someone, please tell me why I keep getting interrupted. At the very least, I hope they would let me just finish what I’m saying! “Yeah, Yeah... I got it… You’re Komatsuda-san. Why do you have to cut me off just to make an irrelevant point? I’m trying to make things clear here.” I narrowed my eyes at her.

“Heeh! Shibasaki-san, what’s with explaining to your best friend how you helped me?” The gyaru looked directly at Kyashii with her lips twisted up in a lopsided grin. “I don’t think it’s wrong to help someone in need. What do you think, Mikami-san?”


Wait… Yeah... I guess she makes a valid point. Why am I even bothering to explain?

“Certainly, helping others isn’t bad. But it seems unfitting that Yuyo, rather than Ezaki-san, was helping out someone who should be the last person she’d ever want to help.” Kyashii looked down at the gyaru in a flat tone.

“My~… My~… How rude, Mikami-san. What’s this? Do you still harbor resentment toward me?” Komatsuda-san seems to be taking a dig at Kyashii. “You shouldn’t, though. Shibasaki-san and I have already cleared up that problem, so we’re already getting along so nicely~...”


Just listening to this gyaru made my eyes go dead.

What does she mean? It’s not as if she had moved on from that incident when she just harped on me about her rejection earlier. More importantly, who says that we are getting along well??

“That’s just between you and Yuyo.” Kyashii’s eyes have taken on a look of growing irritation. “I don’t remember making peace with you about that incident, am I right?”

Uhh? Is it a good idea to stop them already?

Contrariwise, it’s not like they’ve got a heated argument over someone. Rather, they’re just talking about it so slyly that I’m not sure if I should say anything.

My eyes turned to Ezaki-san, hoping once again that he would do something about this, but instead, he just stood there smiling broadly, watching Kyashii and the gyaru throw brickbat at each other.

“. . . .”

W-What the heck is going on with this guy?! What’s so amusing about this situation??


I thought Ezaki-san would be handy in a tricky situation like the one we had before, but… was I wrong?

“Ohh~. Of course, Mikami-san... You are right.” The gyaru picks herself up with an ironic smile, locking gazes with Kyashii. “So, why don’t we settle it now?”

“Fine by me....” Although Kyashii’s expression remains unchanged, I can tell the air around her is becoming more ominous.

“What… Would you like me to offer you an apology for what I’ve said about you in the past?” Komatsuda-san arched her brow at Kyashii.

The gyaru’s attitude towards Kyashii is starting to rub me the wrong way. She shouldn’t have asked that question in the first place; it should go without saying.

I was about to say something when Ezaki-san tapped me on the shoulder. “Shibasaki-san, I think it’s best if we let them sort things out on their own.” He whispered. “They aren’t trying to harm each other aggressively, so let’s not get in the way. And put your trust in Mikami-san to handle things.” His face lit up with a warm smile as he looked at me.


R-Right... It doesn’t seem like Kyashii needs to be shielded from anything right now. It’s just that since she’s typically uneasy with those she doesn’t know well, a part of me feels protective of her.

Yet, at this moment... There’s something different about her that I’m not quite sure what it is.

“Y-Yeah… You could be right, Ezaki-san.” I returned the whisper with an uneasy smile.

“I don’t need you to apologize to me, gyaru-san,” Kyashii firmly replied. “All I want is for you to stop being such an inconvenience for Yuyo and not bother her more than you already have. That’s it.”


In nothing flat, I felt a warm sensation wash through my chest when those words from Kyashii reached my ears. Even if it sounds mean, I guess I can take it as a sign that Kyashii genuinely thinks of me as her best friend, huh?

Look at her~... She doesn’t want anyone to cause me trouble other than herself. Pfft!

But yeah... Having Kyashii care about me in that way makes me feel good.

“You’ve got an enormous grin on your face, Shibasaki-san,” Ezaki-san said with a smile. “Isn’t it great that Mikami-san said that?”

“Ahh... Y-Yeah.”

“What’s up with you two calling me gyaru-san?!” Komatsuda-san hissed.

That’s what she’s going on about, huh? Does that tag really bother her?

“What’s wrong with it? More importantly, will you do what I ask of you?” Kyashii’s tone remained frigid the whole time.

“Because I’ve got a name, that’s why! Anyway, is that all, Mikami-san?”


“Sure, I can do that. Not that I have any intention of befriending Shibasaki-san or anything. And I just don’t see it happening.” Komatsuda-san stared at me. “I’m sure that’s how she feels, too.” She gave me a ghost of a smile.


“It’s settled then...” Kyashii scowled at the gyaru. “Yuyo, let’s try that bike you were talking about earlier.” Her eyes narrowed at me.

“Ah! Yeah. I have rented one already.” My finger pointed at the bike in the back. “You can use the rest of the rental time.”

“All right, come on.” She snatched my hand and dragged me.

“Mikami-san,” The gyaru called out.

“What!” A fierce glare erupted from Kyashii.

Woahh! Scary!

“Wha—! Why are you glaring at me like that?! I was just trying to say sorry about what I said behind your back, okay?! I’m sorry for that. Hmph!”

“Ahh…” Kyashii’s expression softened. “What caused this sudden change of stance?” Her eyebrows twitched.

“Nothing,” Komatsuda-san smirked. “I finally see why you keep rejecting those boys, Mikami-san. And it’s not because you take pleasure in turning them down, but because you’re already interested in someone else, isn’t it?” She shifted her glance to me.


Wait… How did she even find out about it?!

At that point in time, I felt Kyashii’s grasp on my hand tighten, nearly crushing my fingers. As I glanced at her, it looked as if she had lost all the blood on her face.

Ah-re?? Why is she turning pale?!


Oh! Yeah! Of course!

Kyashii wouldn’t want anyone to know about the person she likes, not even me, and if this gyaru spread the word, it would embarrass her.

“Hold on, gyaru-san… Where did you even get that idea? That’s not something Kyashii shares with anyone.” My eyes bore into her.

“Huh?? What?” Komatsuda-san sounded a little confused.

“Is she the subject of your rumors again? Didn’t I tell you not to pick on my best friend??” I took a sharp tone. Seeing Kyashii’s pale face makes me edgy. I don’t want her to worry that someone like this girl might expose her little secret to everyone.

“Haaah?! Hey, you! I don’t have time to dwell on her any longer! Besides, just how dumb of you to call it a rumor when it’s so obvious that she lik—”

“Ah! Komatsuda-san,” Ezaki-san suddenly reached for the gyaru by the shoulders. “Would you like to grab a cup of tea with me at that café near the hostel?” He gave her a swoon-worthy smile.

“H-Huh?!” The gyaru is at sixes and sevens by his unexpected invitation.

Of course, who wouldn’t be?! Ezaki-san’s out-of-the-blue approach to that girl surprised me as well.

“Uhm... The thing is, my thirst is growing, and I thought it would be nice to have some company. Given the limited bike rental window, inviting Shibasaki-san and Mikami-san might be a bad idea. So, do you mind? It’s on me,” he smiled even more dazzlingly.

Komatsuda-san’s face instantly turned red. “I-If you’re okay with me, then….”

“What do you mean by that? Any guy would be happy to hang out with someone as pretty as you, Komatsuda-san,” Ezaki-san is trying to win over the gyaru as slick as a whistle.

“Kyaah~!” The gyaru squealed. Hearts are practically spilling from her eyes. “I-If you insist...”

“Ohh! That’s great... After you, then,” Ezaki-san bowed, motioning with his hand on his side.


I couldn’t help but stare open-mouthed at them as they left.

What the heck just happened?! D-Did Ezaki-san just gets smitten with that gyaru?!

“. . . .”


It never fails to baffle me just how strange Ezaki-san can be. In some ways, he seems to switch between multiple personalities based on the situation. Or perhaps it depends on his mood?

Yeah… Something like that.

“Ezaki-san is downright weird, don’t you think so?” I asked Kyashii, who was oddly quiet and had her eyes locked on Ezaki-san’s back.

“Yes… I g-guess he is….” Kyashii mumbled. “Umm... Yuyo…” She put a gentle squeeze on my hand.


“I almost forgot to mention it, but I... Umm... I’m sorry you had to go to such lengths to stand up for me against that girl. And t-thank you….”


“That’s not something you should thank me for at all.” I beamed at her. “Any friend would do the same if someone said something terrible about their best friend.”

“But I really want to thank you, considering that almost got you suspended.”


“Y-Yeah... Minori explained to me what might happen to you after the incident, and—”

“Nah... It’s nothing like that. She was probably speculating at that time.” I chuckled. “Since it was my first time getting into trouble, all I got was a slap on the wrist. It’s all fine, Kyashii.”

“I mean… I didn’t think you’d be so careless as to start a fight with those other girls over me. Don’t do that again, please. I would feel sad if the school decided to punish you for trying to defend me.” Kyashii’s face turned gloomy as she stared at the ground.

“Hmm. There’s no way I can promise you that, Kyashii.”


“But I’ll do my best to do what you’re asking of me, okay? It’s just that I find it impossible to turn a blind eye to matters that involve you. I don’t want you to get hurt over those rumors.”

“This is really why— Haah….” Kyashii breathed a sigh.

“What is it?”

“Umm… Just thinking about how kind you are. And that’s one of the many reasons why I like you, Yuyo.” Her smile was heartfelt.

“Heh?!” On impulse, I held my breath for no apparent reason. “R-Really?” Nevertheless, those words and Kyashii’s smile had a surreal effect on me.


“W-Well, since you complain all the time about how I’m always mean to you, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be nice to you every once in a while, right?” I made an awkward attempt at humor.

“No. Umm... But, in reality, you’re always kind to me! And… And I’m incredibly thankful for it.”

“Err...” She seems to be taking things pretty seriously. “Anyway, it’s not a big deal, Kyashii. You know I’ll do whatever I can to protect your happiness, okay? That’s how best friends are, yeah?” I said, feeling smug.

“Then... You should always protect yourself, Yuyo.” She softly said.

“Yes, of course. I won’t be able to look out for you if something happens to me.”

That’s right... Kyashii’s happiness means a lot to me, and I must go to bat for it.

Now then...

As I see it, there are still some things to sort out between me and that pushover gyaru. Since she knows something about the person Kyashii likes, I have to make sure she won’t do anything stupid with that fact.


Komatsuda-san, thanks for causing me this much trouble. Getting your name out of my head is no longer an easy task. Sheesh!


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