Chapter 2 — Coming of age, a ceremony needed for emancipation. Part 6
“Hey.” I grabbed her hands.
“What do you expect to achieve by telling me that?” I asked her sternly. She let a bitter smile form on her lips, before releasing me and sitting down again.
Then, she placed her elbows on the desk and buried her face in her palms.
“I hate you,” she said in a feeble voice, as if in pain.
She never answered. In the end, I never understood what she was trying to tell me back then.
I flipped my hair away and sighed.
“Well then, excuse me,” I told her and went to sit at my own desk. Just as I sat, the bell rang.
Only then did I notice that I didn’t know Budworm’s name.
During lunch break, I went to receive my new uniform.
After all that uproar from before was settled, my uniform that was submerged in the toilet was disposed of and never returned to me, so I had to order a new one.
The designated clothing store for the uniforms also had a delivery service, so I made use of it.
Apparently it would be delivered to me after going through a few intermediaries, first from the store to the school, then from the school to the homeroom teacher, and lastly, from the homeroom teacher to me.
I had received a notice that the uniform was already here, so I went to the staff room and started looking for my teacher.
I was slightly worried since I couldn’t remember his face at all, but then one of the teachers raised his hand and called out to me.
He was a middle-aged man with nothing that stood out in particular about him apart from his dark blue tracksuit.
“Tsukagi, over here. Your new uniform has arrived.”
I headed towards him and noticed that there were two large paper bags leaning against his desk.
He handed one of them to me, and I checked the contents. The sailor uniform, a scarf, left over cloth, and a receipt were there. It was a complete set.
“Thank you.” There wasn’t really any need for it, but I still said it regardless.
Satisfied, he nodded, then hesitantly began talking.
“Now then… is school fun for you, Tsukagi?”
“I see… Then everything’s good.” He was clearly forcing a smile. “Still, if anything bothers you, don’t hesitate to tell me–”
“–because teacher is my friend, right?” I finished the line.
He stared at me in confusion for a moment, then cleared his throat awkwardly.
I smiled formally and continued:
“I’ll be relying on you then.”
“No-no-no, no need to act so formal. This is my job after all.”
Yes, that was correct.
He had ignored acts like bullying before, but now he was trying to avoid getting involved in a case that would attract a lot of attention. If a case of—let’s say—suicide happened in his class, his future career would be compromised.
And that was pretty much all he cared about.
It was normal for a teacher to have such concerns. I didn’t mind that kind of mindset at all, but I found his two-faced behavior rather revolting.
“I understand,” I responded like a regular student, obedient and unaware of the world, and nodded.
I heard the door opening and reflexively turned to look who it was.
A girl wearing a tawny blazer, and a dark green colored necktie and skirt stood there. The name ‘Shiina’ was embroidered on her chest.
She had large prominent eyes that were very rounded, wavy short hair, and a friendly smile that reminded me of a sunflower.
Immediately after, she surveyed the room, turning her head around with exaggerated motions.
Her eyes stopped when they found my visage, and she lightly waved her hand as if trying to make a friend, before bouncing over to where I was.
“Oh, so you are finally here,” the teacher said softly, and looking at me, he continued: “She is a transfer student and she’s here today to finish arranging everything. Treat her well.”
I don’t want to. “I understand.”
The girl bowed, still standing, and smiled.
“Sorry. I got lost on the way here and ended up arriving late.”
She had a soft voice—so gentle, it seemed as though it was flowing into my body.
“Oh, so that’s what happened… Well, you could have just contacted me, and I would have gone to find you.”
“It’s fine, really. After all, I was able to familiarise myself with the school layout thanks to that.”
They found that funny for some reason and started laughing together.
After the laughter died down, she extended her hand towards me and looked into my eyes.