Someone is in a hurry to get their souvenir, huh? It didn’t even take her until the end of the school day to come to collect it.
I then motioned Takashi-san to wait while I reached for the souvenir in my bag. “Excuse me; I had to take a moment, guys.” The rest of the girls were staring at me as I got to my feet. “I need to give this to her straight away.”
“Oh my~... Takashi-san must be in a transport of delight getting to see Yuyo again after a few days.” Minori’s face lit up with an oddly endearing smile. “Don’t you think so, Kyashii-chan?”
“No offense meant, Minori, but I’m not in the mood to think right now!” Kyashii said in a somewhat disgruntled voice, her brows furrowing as she glared daggers at me.
She’s still in high dudgeon with me!?
The sudden sensation of having my heart in my mouth made my arms reflexively wrap around me in a protective stance. I mean, Kyashii’s stare has such an ominous look to it; one can almost sense the bloodlust in her eyes!
“Ara~… I get it, Kyashii-chan.” Minori expressed amusement as she gestured for me to walk over to Takashi-san.
I cautiously offered Minori a nervous smile before gingerly approaching the main door.
Hmm… I guess I should apologize to Kyashii for my careless remark about her dish. That seems to upset her far more than I gave credit for.
“Yuyo-senpaiiii~! I miss youuuu!” Takashi-san made a dart for me with a bear hug before I could even step outside our room.
“H-Hey!” As uncomfortable as it might be, this underclassman has just hugged me again in our classroom! “Away with the bear hug, Takashi-san.” I painstakingly took her arms off me. “And refrain from being what I call a hugging monster whenever you’re here on the second-year floor.” My eyes squinted at her.
“Eeh?!” Takashi-san poked out her lower lip. “But, senpai, I miss you!” She then wrapped her arms over my right arm and started rubbing her cheek against my uniform!
“Uhh... What are you doing, exactly??” I scrunched my brows at her. I had thought about this before, but Takashi-san really resembles a puppy through and through.
“I’m taking a healthy dose of my senpai now that she’s back!” She beams with a broad grin.
Not only does she look like a puppy, but she also unmistakably exudes Tomoka’s energy. My mind is almost ready to believe they share the same bloodline. “You made it sound like I was gone for a week... Anyway, let’s head outside. You’re in the second-year space without permission.”
“Aww~! Your cold treatment of me is something I miss just as much, Yuyo-senpai!” Her radiant smile remained ceaseless.
“Cold treatment?” I stared down at her with narrowed eyes and held the souvenir bag up to her face. “Giving you this is too much for a cold treatment, you ungrateful kouhai,” I said with my tongue in my cheek.
“Yatta~!” Takashi-san grabbed the small bag from my grasp with excitement. “Many thanks, senpai! I can’t tell you how relieved I am that you actually got me a souvenir!”
“I take it you didn’t think I’d follow through on my promise to get you one.”
“No way, Yuyo-senpai! You aren’t like that, I’m sure of it.” An ever-wider smile spread across her face. “Senpai, may I open it?”
She can hardly wait until she gets home to find out what it is. “Go ahead... I don’t mind. In any case, it’s already yours.”
“Yay!” Pleased as a punch, Takashi-san opens the tiny box in the bag. “Wooaah~! It’s a Nara mikuji white deer! It’s so cute! I like this a lot, senpai!” She gushed as she held the figurine close to her face. “I’m going to keep this right next to my bed! Thank you very much~!”
“Well, I say that’s some good news for me. I settled on that since I couldn’t decide which stuff to buy. I’m happy to know you like it somehow.” I cracked a smile like hers.
“As long as it’s from Yuyo-senpai, I’m bound to love it!”
I scoffed. “That’s quite a statement.”
“But it’s true, senpai! Other than that, I look forward to seeing what kind of luck you have for me.” Her eyes shifted to the fortune tucked inside the ceramic deer.
“If that presents itself as a sign of bad fortune, please accept my apology now, Takashi-san.” A faint laugh escaped me.
“Nooo! Please don’t jinx it, senpai! Hmmph! I’m crossing my fingers for good fortune in romance!” Her eyes get dreamy all of a sudden when she glances at me.
Heh~... Romance, huh?
Well, it goes without saying. High schoolers are incredibly passionate about romance.
I sometimes wonder when I will feel all those emotions the same way these people I know do. Or will I ever get to experience it?
I’m not even going to pretend I care about this; curiosity is natural in me. It’s just not possible not to muse about it from time to time.
“Then... Good luck with it, Takashi-san. Please don’t hold it against me if it goes against you, okay?” I made a smiley headshake.
“Of course not, senpai! And even if my luck does run out on that, I know I can make a choice that might alter my luck.” Takashi-san’s smile lost its luster. “After all, it’s merely an omikuji; that’s how to tell it’s not the real deal yet, isn’t it?” I could tell how serious she was when she said that to me.
Hmm? Is it just me, or does the mood here seem so downbeat all of a sudden?
“Uhh… I get what you’re saying, and I agree with it.” I nodded. “Your way of thinking on that matter is quite impressive, Takashi-san.”
“Thank you so much, Yuyo-senpai.” Her head bent towards me. “Anyway, I’ll be taking my leave now, senpai. I’m sorry to get in the way of your lunch.”
“No… Not at all. I’m just a little surprised you didn’t wait until the end of class to get your souvenir.”
“It’s because there aren’t any after-school club meetings this week, senpai! Hmph! The brutality!” She grimaced.
I had to stifle a laugh at her utterances. “We are nearing exam week, so all the club activities are canceled for the week. That means you will have more time to study, Takashi-san.”
“It also means I wouldn’t get to spend as much time with Yuyo-senpai!” Takashi-san looked glum.
“Heh... You really find my presence to be that nice, huh?” I said despite myself.
“Yuyo-senpai, I’ve already told you I like you a lot!” She pursed her lips and lightly stomped her left foot.
I can see that she looks like a child throwing a fit. I guess this is how having a younger sibling feels.
“Yeah… Yeah… I’m glad to hear that, Takashi-san.”
“Unggh… I saw that response coming. Haaah...” She let out a sighing sound. “Then, I have to go, senpai. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this souvenir. I promise I will treasure it a lot, Yuyo-senpai.” With head hung low, Takashi-san turned around and walked off from me.
Uhh... What’s up with her?
It was like, through some mysterious force, her mood went down in a flash, swiftly sending her into a temper tantrum.
“I’m back….” I muttered under my breath as I settled into my seat.
“That was quick, Yuyo,” Minori said with a smile. “I thought Takashi-san would eat up the rest of your lunch break.”
“Uhm? Was that quick?” My head cocked.
“Right... It would be better for Yuyo to spend the rest of her break time with that underclassman. They were obviously having a great time chatting. What a shame she was back so quickly.” Kyashii remarked mordantly before guzzling her fruit juice box.
“. . . .”
And here’s another one who, for some reason, is still in a fit of ill humor.
“Oh, yeah… Maybe Takashi-san and I should have spent the entire lunch break together instead.” Kyashii got a jerky smile and a shoulder shrug from me.
“What?!” Her eyes flared at me in a flash.
“What... You mentioned it would be better for me to spend the time left in a break with my kouhai.” My smile stuck to my face. “Kyashii-chan, I’m simply agreeing with you~...” For some reason, I feel the urge to poke fun at her at this very moment. Since I have a good idea of why she is throwing a hissy fit, I am starting to find her grumpiness amusing rather than menacing.
“Shibasaki, Yuyo...” Kyashii’s voice took on a threat-like tone as she tightened her grip on her poor juice box, almost crumpling it. “You are wreaking havoc on my nerves right now; do you even realize that??”
There’s no way I can resist giggling. Even when Kyashii is fuming, her cuteness still shines through.
“What’s so funny?” Kyashii maintained a vicious glare at me.
“Heh~... Nothing’s funny.” My palm rested on my left cheek as I teasingly stared into her eyes. “I was just wondering how long you will stay mad at me, Kyashii?” I’m not sure why, but the more I see her upset, the more I want to tease her. “I apologize for my careless remark on your side dish. So, could you please forgive me already?” My jerkish smile morphed into a sweet one.
“Aah—” She suddenly lost her angry expression.
So, a smile like that works wonders on her whenever she makes a fuss over trivial things, huh?
Hmm... I dare say it’s funny that I’ve never paid attention to that before. “I promise I’ll be more careful not to pay a backhanded compliment on your food the next time, Kyashii-chan~.”
“I-It’s not that I’m put out about that... at all.” Kyashii’s lips curled into a pucker.
“Huh? What?” My hand slipped off my cheek. “That’s not why you were so ticked off at me? Then what is it?” I asked with mounting curiosity.
“Ah… That remark also rubbed me the wrong way. But it’s n-not all about that. So… Umm…” Kyashii cast her gaze downward.
“Okay? So, what does that mean?” My gaze lingers on her.
“I mean… Umm… The thing is….” It’s beginning to look like Kyashii is turning red.
“Tch! You guys are hopeless!” Tomoka grunted. “Yu-chin, you put your mistress nose out of joint here since you already handed that underclassman her souvenir, but we’re still missing ours! By the way, where is our love token that you promised us?” She held out her palms toward me.
“Huh? Love token? What— ….Ah!” Right. Those keepsakes... It’s just that there’s no telling yet what I’ll give Tomoka and Kyashii. “Ha-ha? W-Well... I’m still debating which one to give.”
“Haaaaa…” Tomoka lowered her hands listlessly. “As one would expect from my wife... Boo! Where are your priorities, Yu-chin?!” There was a taunting sigh on her part before she turned to Kyashii. “Oohh, Mikami-san, I feel terrible for us~! Given that Yu-chin couldn’t even put the two of us first, it does seem that your affair with my wife will be short-lived. It’s a shame you won’t be her mistress for long.”
“Hey… That’s not the case at all.” I leveled my disapproving eyes toward Tomoka.
“What is, Yu-chin?” Tomoka asked matter-of-factly.
“This idea that you and Kyashii are not my priority. It’s just that—” Uhh? Now, hold up a second... Something about this doesn’t sound right to me. “Tomoka, would you please stop referring to Kyashii as my mistress?! It just doesn’t feel quite right. Sheesh!”
Minori’s giggling echoed to me. “What a random thing to say, Yuyo.”
“Eeh?? How is that random? Minori, calling my best friend my mistress does not sit well with me.”
“Why is that, Shibasaki-san?” The question abruptly popped up from Nazumi-san. “You should know that this is all good fun, right? Why do you give it so much weight?” She flashed me a dazzling smile. “Or would it be more fitting for you to refer to Kyashii as your wife rather than just a mistress?”
“Haaah?!” The root of Nazumi-san’s question is beyond me!
More importantly, I’ve noticed that Nazumi-san has become much more relaxed around me these days. She has suddenly reached the level where she can make fun of me as Tomoka does.
Guh! I knew it... Tomoka’s shenanigans have a contagious effect on those around her.
“No, Nazumi-san, I didn’t mean it that way. I just feel weird referring to my best friend that way.” My smile only works on one side. “I understand it’s all in good fun, but I’m betting Kyashii feels the same way I do about it.”
“Is that so?” Nazumi-san turned her smile to Kyashii. “Does it bother you, Kyashii?”
“Huh? Umm… W-Well… I have n-no problem with it in the slightest.” Kyashii replied in a hushed tone. “I don’t mind taking the tag as Yuyo’s m-mistress.”
O-mikuji (mikuji) is a paper slip with the result of fortune-telling written on it. It doesn’t just tell whether you will have good or bad luck in the future, but it also elaborates on your fortunes in detail, such as your luck in money, health, romantic relationships, and so on.
In this particular instance, Yuyo gave Takashi-san a cute white deer made of ceramics which has a fortune slip in it. This souvenir is called NARA MIKUJI DEER. Nara’s deer are the city’s symbols and are famous across Japan.