Chapter 1: Underneath The Bandages, Part 1

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Common Honorifics:
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.

She was dazzling,

Many students gathered at the entrance ceremony, yet she stood out.
Wearing her brand-new uniform, she was more beautiful than anyone else.
Her long silvery-white hair reminiscent of freshly fallen snow; her translucent white skin; her feathery blue eyes; and her long, sleek eyelashes—She was completely breathtaking.

That girl took over the stage as the representative of the freshmen.
Straightening her back, she spoke with clarity and vibrancy, wearing a sparkling smile.
By the end of her speech, she had already ensnared the hearts of the entire school.

Needless to say, I was also one of them.
I couldn’t help but wonder if someone so outstanding as her even existed in the first place.
I could vehemently swear she was an angel with how precious she seemed.
An existence far from mine, maybe from a different dimension altogether.

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All the freshmen went to their respective classes after the ceremony.
Coincidentally, I ended up in the same class as her.

The first period was homeroom.
The teacher gave words of encouragement to the students, and each one introduced themselves separately.
I learned her name then.

Yuki Shirahato.

That was the name of the girl who won over the hearts of everyone.
People naturally flocked around her, and with a simple laugh, she made the surroundings glisten.

I let out a weak sigh as I watched my classmates gather around her.
It would’ve been nice to have the same guts to do what they did.
Unfortunately, I’m not that kind of person.

When I was in elementary school, I was confident and would talk to absolutely anyone.
However, as a result of spending three years in junior high as a recluse due to the sudden passion I had gained for studying, I felt that my personality changed a lot.

Feeling distant from the radiant figure of Yuki Shirahato, and unable to make connections with my new classmate, I remained quietly in my seat, listening to their happy conversation.

“Shirahato-san, you’re so beautiful! You really look like an angel from up close!”

“Your freshman speech was incredible.
I admire the fact you didn’t seem nervous at all.”

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“Do you have a boyfriend, Shirahato-san? Would you like to exchange contacts with me?”

Yuki Shirahato returned their words politely.
Every word she said oozed kindness.

Not only was she gorgeous, but she was also courteous.
In addition to that, in order to represent the freshmen of a new school year, you’d need to have the highest junior-high score and excellency at academics.
She was the embodiment of an ideal person.

She slowly stood up from her seat after replying to everyone.

“I’m sorry to interrupt our conversation, but there’s someone I need to talk to.”

The person she wanted to talk to from the first day of school had to be either an old friend from something like junior high, or some ridiculously good-looking guy.
However, all of our classmates have never met her before, nor were there any impossibly handsome dudes anywhere around here.

As these thoughts filled my head, she walks towards me through the surrounding students.

Not in a million years, I had expected this.
She stood next to me with a sunny smile, shaking her silky hair.

“Ehehe~, we’re in the same class now.”

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Her voice, a melody composed with the soft twinkling of bells, reaches my ear.
Just hearing that sultry tone made my heart jump with a bang—Surprised, I get up from my seat.

“… Oh, we’re in the same class, yeah.”

I hid my embarrassment and returned her greeting.
A cute grin plastered on her face as her eyes cast down a bit.

“Could we talk in the hallway for a second? I’d like to talk to you in private.”

“You’d like to talk to me…?” What on earth does such a lovely girl have to do with a background character like me?

Curious, I followed her as she walked down the hallway.
There’s no one there but me and Yuki Shirahato.
What does she want to talk about with me alone? I intently listened to her next words.

“I can’t believe we’re in the same class.
I’m so happy!”

She beamed innocently at me, yet I didn’t know her.
In fact, I didn’t remember meeting her anywhere.
If I’d known such a beautiful girl, I would’ve never forgotten her.
Furthermore, today was the first time I’d seen her, no doubt.

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“You know, Shirahato-san… We’ve never met before, right?”

“It’s the first time you’ve actually seen my face, and my last name has changed.”

“First time I’ve seen your face? … Your last name changed?”

“Don’t you remember me? It’s me, Yuki.
You’ve helped me a lot in the past.” She gazed straight into my eyes with her sapphire eyes.

Yuki Shirahato’s maiden name is Yuki Amagi.
She was a good friend of mine in elementary school.

We went to the same school and played together every day, but I had never seen her face before—There was a reason for that, however.

Back then, her face was wrapped around in bandages.
I didn’t know if it was because of sickness, or if it was due to an injury she sustained as an infant.
In any case, pure-white gauzes encased her, and I’d never seen her face.

Because of those bandages, she was subjected to insidious bullying.

When I reached out to support her, to help her, that’s when it all began.

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