Chapter 3: Karaage and Realizations

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*[TL: Karaage is a dish made by deep frying boneless chicken]

That day, I was confused all morning.

“What’s this?”

On the dining room table, there was a karaage in front of me that looked like breakfast.
There was no other accompaniment, just that karaage.

Isn’t it heavy for the morning? Who prepared this? Could it be Hiyori?

Incidentally, Yaeko had gone out early this morning to take care of her father, who was working alone.
I’m pretty sure Hiyori is the only other person in the house right now.
That in itself is not unusual.
But I’ve never had Hiyori prepare breakfast for me before.

“Hmm? This is …”

As I inclined my neck to look at the top of the dining table, I noticed that there was not only the karaage, but also a note.

“Please help.”

That’s all it was said with that round-like handwriting of Hiyori, underneath, there was also a game magazine and a lunch box.

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It seemed that Hiyori had really prepared this for me.
But what was she asking for help?

I opened the magazine attached to that sticky note.

“Collaboration with Heaven 11!” Eat karaage and get a chance to win this limited game avatar!

… Apparently, if you buy a certain number of karaage from this convenience store Heaven 11, you can get an avatar to play with in-game.
The collaboration period starts today.
I’m not sure what to make of it, but I think it’s a good idea.

“Totally …”

I couldn’t help but smile at the behavior that was typical of Philia-san, who I’ve been familiar with for many years.
The lunch box was still slightly warm.

Whatever the reason, this is what Hiyori made for me.
The heat transmitting to my palms warms my chest and makes my heart flutter.
Apparently, I’m quite happy.

― I wonder if I should thank her.

But how?

During the break in-between classes, my eyebrows wrinkled thinking about it.

“Oh, it’s Nanjo-san.”

“Those guys in the next class are quite lucky, he’s got a feast for his eyes.”

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“… It might be a little awkward to be in the same class as someone who rejected you.”

Suddenly, the boys in the class start making noise.
Looking ahead to what they talked about, there was a group of girls in the next class cantered around Nanjo Rin.
It seems like there’s going to be a major displacement of living organisms for the next class.

There was also Hiyori in the group.
As usual, she was far from fashionable, looking plain and inconspicuous.

Hiyori was also moving accordingly from the corner of the group, holding her study materials.
When you look at her intently, you come to understand that somehow her steps were light and had a happy mood about her.

― she was so easy to understand.
I couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Oh, so finally Kurai also starts getting concerned about Nanjo-san?”

“As if!”

Then, a classmate who was watching/staring at the group of Nanjo Rin suddenly comments.

As I said many times earlier, Nanjo Rin is a beautiful girl.

That well-groomed, bright, and shiny hair, the long arms and legs stretching out from the uniform, and that friendly smile that gently floats on her face fascinates both men and women equally.

… Then the bulge that can be seen from the top of the knitted vest.
It was probably because of the words of Hiyori the other day that my eyes instinctively went there.
I hurriedly diverted my eyes.

I looked back at Hiyori, and unlike yesterday, she was not in the center of the conversation.

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Instead, or rather, Nanjo Rin, like usual, was talking to the people around her, maintaining the going with each one of them.
She seems to be very thoughtful.
It’s no wonder she’s so popular.

I can understand why Hiyori admires her.
However, something caught my attention.


“Are you ok, Yoshida-san!?”


Suddenly, Hiyori trips from a place where there was nothing.

It seems that she was in such a good mood that her footstep fell short of the usual length.

“I’m sorry.
I was a bit in a daze.

“Be careful, okay.”

Nanjo Rin, who reacted at once, was taking the arms of Hiyori.
However, she dropped the stuff she was carrying for her next class in a reaction as it got scattered around, dropping in the hallway.
Which was then picked together with the help of everyone around her.
Hiyori just fumbled around awkwardly at this development.

― Damn, she’s such a troublesome fellow.
[TL note: could write “pain in the a*s” but thought otherwise in this situation.]

Watching Hiyori’s face, my mouth relaxed instinctively before I knew it.

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While doing so, it was lunchtime.

Kohtora from the class next door came all the way to our classroom and called out to us.

“Will you be eating together at the school cafeteria today?”

“Nah, I have tiffin with me for today.”

It was the stuff made by Hiyori this morning.

When I was about to take out the lunch box from the bag and show it to Kohtora.

“Well then, I guess I’ll have to buy it then.”


“Ah, no, I just now remembered that I had something to do during the lunch break today.
I’m sorry, but you’ll have to eat alone today.”


I put the lid back to the lunch box that I was about to open and jumped out of the classroom in an instant.
Where there is no eye, I aim for the emergency staircase.

“This girl…”

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