Chapter 29:

“Divine Error”

VISUAL SHOCK - sometimes you have to promise not to fall in love~

With nothing planned until Halloween, and midterms coming to a close, I focus on my students.

Things have been going well. Their confidence has definitely increased, we just have to wait on results to see whether my efforts paid off with them. Hopefully I’ve been worth the money!

Another afternoon after class, Kaori and I are in the library. She studies while I make some extra revision materials for my lessons. No, I’m not still over preparing… I promise!

Things have been, well, not stagnant, but they’ve plateaued for the moment between us. I get it, she’s busy, so I just need to help her through again. Anyway, exams are nearly over, but I can’t help being a little impatient and excitable with how everything's been going otherwise.

Well, there is one thing...

Kaori looks up briefly, catching my gaze, bringing a smile to her lips, then down her head goes again.

No words pass between us, just these little looks.

My heart flutters every time and all I can do is assume it has the same effect on her too.

Ice Queen? Pfft!

I wake to a cancelled lesson.

No problem.

By lunch, a couple more.

Maybe some kind of bug is going round the Business School?

As I’m waiting for one of my tutees to arrive for their session…

“Sorry Tyler. Have to cancel.”

No further explanation.

“What is going on?!.”

I ask Kaori about it, as if she’d have any idea, and her face flushes with anger.

“Did she do this?”


I realize what she meant, as her response is verbalised.

“Come on, no! Fuyumi wouldn’t do this!”

My defence of another girl gets a strained look.

“Do you really know her that well, Tai?”

That was a little pointed.

“No, but… she seemed to take things well. We’ve not heard anything since. She’s even still waved occasionally and been polite when Saki says hi, so…”

“Mm… I see what you mean.”

If Fuyumi really had been that torn up about my rejection, it would have made more sense for her to tell everyone to cancel on me sooner. Rather than continuing to give me money for a few weeks.

Plus, it’d be awkward as hell to ask her if she’s gone behind my back to destroy my income. I’m sure being accused alone would be enough to make anyone go out of their way to get revenge on you somehow.

We forestall further considerations until dinner. Kaori has to go get ready for work and I have a gangster to perform!

“Ohh… Hey Tyler…”

What’s with the gloomy reception?

“Hi, err… are we not watching the drama tonight?”

A ripple of uncertainty runs through the room. The international students are obviously gathered for our weekly translate-along, so why are they being weird about it?

“Ah, hah, yeah, no.”

That it!

“We’re just having a quiet one.”

“Don’t you have a revision session to go teach?”

Was that a snicker?

What the hell is going on?!.

I go back to my room without another word.

Music on, no headphones, screw the consequences.

I lean out of my open window, the cool evening air washing away some of my irritation, but as Amoxicillin flows into Diluka, the juxtaposition makes me realise I need something stronger.

Giving their modern metal VK compatriots another listen, the appeal of HEXCORE and DEMONLOOP sinks in… right place, right time.

Finally able to focus my frustration into something else, I get a decent meal on the go and carry on with my sewing projects. I’m not letting whatever is happening rob me of being productive for myself, and supportive of Kaori.

When she gets home after work, I vent about the drama downstairs, and she nearly storms out of my room to go fight the entire dorm.

“Hey, it’s o-”


Hostility hot in her voice.

“Look, I haven’t gone to cause a scene about it, so you don’t need to do so for me.”


She clenches her fists in futility at her sides.

This has really gotten to her!

“We can ask around tomorrow. Doing anything right now, while we’re emotional, is just going to make things worse.”

Kaori nods, as frustrated as myself.

I ply her with food, and she begrudgingly sits down.

With a full belly, blood sugar in balance, her will to seek conflict greatly reduces. She even rests against me for a bit before seeking an early night, so we can investigate sooner in the morning.

As defensive of her friends as I am…

Everyone is evasive.

Do I have the plague or something?

Even Ryosuke didn’t say hello this morning. He just kept walking, head down, earphones in, avoiding eye contact.

Someone’s definitely behind this…

Kaori goes off to class, her hot headedness rekindled. Her usual cold demeanour completely evaporated.

Once I’m alone, a familiar hand pats me on the shoulder.



He curtly cuts me off and pulls me aside.

Am I about to get beaten up by the school bully on top of everything else?

“I cannot be seen talking to you. Not any more. This conversation did not happen. Be quiet and listen.”

RuRu! Have you really been nice all along?

“Things with Fuyumi got back to Toshi. He has finally taken action against you…”

Ryu hushes us both, drawing me further into the alcove’s shadow.

“…with him focused on you, he should leave Kaori alone. At least for now.”

Some people pass by as I go to respond. As soon as their footsteps start to fade out of earshot…

“Why are you telling me this?”

He opens his mouth, but closes it again. Unwilling to shed light on things further.

“Please just…” a tinge of panic or pleading entering his voice, “…take this hit for Kaori.”

Checking over my shoulder that no one is there, Ryu walks away, and I am left only marginally the wiser.

In the coming days, it becomes clear that Toshi really has used his despotic princely powers to forcibly remove me from the campus’ collective social circle.

He’s ceased to ignore me completely, too. Every time we spot each other around the Business School, he smirks. It’s pathetic… but effective.

No one dares go against his rule.

Even the international student group chat isn’t safe.

I’m not removed, everyone just stops using it. I assume they’ve set up another and migrated without saying anything.

The few exchange students I was getting on with ghost me too, not without apologising at least.

The worst is that Fuyumi realises what’s going on…

At first, her habitual waving continued, but then seems pained to forcibly stop herself. An uncomfortable half smile half frown of resignation is the best she can offer in apology… and only when no one else is looking.

Honestly, I can deal with being a pariah, it’s the tutoring that’s the issue right now. Without an income to tide me over, I’ve only got the budget for my basics 'til the end of the year.


Heaving maybe the heaviest sigh of my life after reviewing my finances, Kaori comes to the god-damn rescue with the best news I’ve had since my reward.

“If you are still looking for work, they are starting a new English class at the language school.”

My ears prick up enthusiastically.

“I have put in a good word for you, all you need to do is live up to my expectations at the interview. I do not want you to fail and damage my reputation.”

Her stern comment, delivered as matter of fact as always, losing most of its impact because I can plainly see she’s struggling to hide a smile.

“Go on, you can laugh.”

“Why w-would I do th-that?”

“It’s not very convincing when you’ve already started.”

She attempts to sulk, but again is betrayed by her own amusement.

My impulse is to reject her offer.

I don’t want to be dependent on Kaori for work, but it’s my only option. I’ll just have to show my gratitude properly and try not to get in her way too much. Speaking of appreciation…

“I’ve got something for you, by the way!”

She pauses, spoon in mouth, pudding cup scraped clean. No spilling any this time.

I open the closet and reveal the gakuran uniforms I’ve been modifying, helmets and all.

Kaori looks confused and shimmies over to investigate the outfits further.


“No, it’s Shinjuku POWER, for Halloween! So we can… match.”

She’s enthralled as she inspects the details I managed to capture in the costumes.

“Were they a part of the New Left?”

“I thought they were angura kei? I mean, they’ve got that pikopiko chip-hop sound like Metro-Gnome, but not the denshi look, hmm…”

My mind grinds to find the genre, band, or brand Kaori mentioned…

“Tai, what are you talking about?”

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon