I want to ask Ichijou-sensei why I was called a villainess, but I can’t afford to be late for the entrance ceremony. I ask to rent a spare uniform, change clothes, and head to a large auditorium where the entrance ceremony is held together with Sara-sama. It’s an Art Deco style auditorium. There was no auditorium at the junior high school I attended, and the gymnasium was leaking. There was even asbestos growing out. However though, I hardly attended school due to Mari-sama’s lessons.
Congratulatory speech for students at the entrance ceremony is given by the student council president, and new students’ greetings are given by the student council president of junior school.
The student giving the third year’s address is Mademokouji Yuu-sama, a handsome guy like a traditional prince, with his sharp voice echoing throught the hall. Everyone here should be an Ojou-sama. Aah, even an Ojou-sama (Young Lady) is just an ordinary young lady.
And the student giving the first year’s reply is Takanashi Ryou-sama. He looked a little rough at first glance but he was actually very diligent, Sara-sama who is sitting next to me briefly commented. Well, not that I care. He too has a sharp voice, albeit not as sharp as Mademokouji-sama. The ladies seem to be fine as long as the guys are handsome.
“Are you thinking that they’re popular just because of their looks?”
Sara-sama utter the thoughts I had in my mind.
“Is that not the case?”
“Yeah, sure they look fine but they also possess a good family name. They’re especially popular because they have no fiance yet.”
A fiance in high school! I’m surprised. Every day I think about what to eat, go to the mountains to pick wild plants, dig bamboo shoots, and waste my days away. Ara, I just pulled out the bamboo shoots earlier today and left them alone! Let’s make Tosani after I return home. Did I still have some bonito left? I feel like I do.
The entrance ceremony was over while I was thinking about tonight’s dinner.
I was in the same class as Sara-sama, so we decided to move together again. Sara-sama is like a big sister who cares for you deeply. Flashy ringlet curls, cat-like eyes, and a pointed nose, a cute beautiful lady.
When we enter the classroom, more than half of the students are already seated, and I too quickly sit in the designated seat. The desk is especially solid. Is it oak? The chair is so comfortable. Ah, there is air conditioning in this place! You can study in cool summers and warm winters this way.
While I was looking around, the homeroom teacher came in. He looks pale, I wonder if he is okay? After all, teachers in such a school may have many difficulties.
Self-introduction has started. First, the homeroom teacher. Kawamoto-sensei is a very ordinary middle-aged English teacher. The students and doctors I encountered at this school today too are glittering, so I was relieved.
“Gokigen’ you , I am Hongo Sara. But of course, most of you are already aware of that.”
Sara-sama said just that, then sat down. Aren’t self-introductions supposed to make you go fidgety with bashfulness or the like? That way, wouldn’t we receive better reception? Which reminds me, Mary-sama would always scold me for entertaining such a commoner like thought. Even so, I’m practically poorer than a commoner, so I don’t think it can be helped.
“I’m Soujuu Hongou. Nice to meet you.”
Ara, it’s the Hongou surname again. Together they make a sal tree (sara soujuu = sal tree in japanese). Somehow they have a similar aura. Sara-sama has a twin.
After the introduction of the internal students, it’s the turn of the external students. Since the external students aren’t used to school unlike internal students, they are treated as a group. There are seven externals in this class. I am one of them.
“Nice to meet you, my name is Reiko Kujouin. Please treat me well.”
I bow and sit down. I heard from a junior high school teacher that external students are ignored even when introducing themselves at this school, but nobody ignores me. The teacher’s information must have been incorrect.
When I was having such carefree thoughts, Yuuki Miu who introduced herself after me was completely ignored. Yuuki is the same external student as me, but not a scholarship student. An ordinary Ojou-san. It would be painful if such an ordinary Ojou-san was ignored. I will not ignore you! I’m your comrade! No wait, I cannot even be a comrade. I’m just a penniless bumpkin. External students other than me were brilliantly ignored.
After the homeroom, I want to get along with Yuuki-san as fellow external students. However, Sakurada Yuria, the Denpa-chan from the next class, forcibly pulls her away.
“Where are you taking Yuki-san!”
When I said so, Sakurada Yuria-sama stared at me and answered with a low voice.
“I will protect her from being bullied by the villainess young lady.”
I most certainly am not thinking of bullying as Yuuki-san claimed. She couldn’t realise that it’s all just a delusion, since she regarded this as a reality. Sara-sama came to my seat as I am thinking of such a thing.
“Reiko-sama, are you okay? What has Sakurada Yuria done this time?”
“I was called a villainess young lady again.”
Sara-sama is angry again.
“Sara-sama is more beautiful when she is smiling, you are ruining your beautiful face.”
Just as I said that, Sara-sama became bashful with a bright red face. How cute.
“Sara is getting all dere dere.”
Appearing behind Sara-sama was Hongou Soujuu-sama. Sara-sama is staring daggers at him.
“Could it be that the two of you are twins?”
“That’s right, is there a problem?”
When Sara-sama answered, Soujuu-sama laughed. I want to ask what’s so amusing, but I don’t want to be rude.
“It’s quite rare for Sara to go all dere dere. Pardon me, I’m Soujuu. Sara, did you become friends with her?”
“That’s right, is there a problem?”
I got it! Her, “That’s right, is there a problem?” is a catchphrase when she goes all dere dere. Fufufu, you’re a pair of chummy twins!
“Hey, Reiko-sama. Let’s stop by the school infirmary and listen to Ichijou-sensei on our way home. I can’t overlook Sakurada Yuria’s attitude.”
“That seems to be it huh. I’m supposed to be a villainess, but I have no knowledge of what it’s supposed to be. It’ll be very reassuring if Sara-sama were to come along.”
“That sounds very interesting. Can I come along with you?”
Sara-sama glares at Soujuu again, but once again, she just ends up looking like a cute cat threatening someone, very adorable indeed.
“My sister is cute, isn’t she?”
“She really is! Even the glares of a beautiful girl are just cute isn’t it.”
“What’s that you’re saying to both of you!?”
Sara-sama is a beautiful tsundere young lady. I thought that I wouldn’t have any friends except for the external students for the span of three years, but I unexpectedly seemed to become friends with an internal student, Sara-sama. Conversely, I haven’t been able to talk to the externals yet. Even though I too am an external student who is poorer than any of them.
Sara-sama turns her face sideways. I apologized and managed to fix the mood. In the end, we went to the infirmary after school together with Soujuu-sama. Sara-sama and the others are done with school today, but external students have a briefing session for the school so I have to participate there.
“But I still have to attend the briefing session after this. I’m sorry I have to keep you waiting.”
“It’s okay. I’m killing time at the salon.”
“Yes yes. Then when you’re done, come to the east wing where the salon is located. We can eat lunch together in the café on the first floor.”
Café. There is a café? The snack-shop near my place was closed recently. The shop’s daughter has opened an organic café, but there is an issue here, I don’t think there is any demand for organic café in the countryside. The café here is not such a café though. Speaking of a café, they would have a waitress. Waitress(女給 jokyuu), maid(女中 jochuu)… I want to see Fuki-san who was Mary-sama’s maid. Are you doing well? Are you content?
“Reiko-sama! You’re in your own world again! Please come back to us.”
“I’m sorry. I was listening.”
We decided to meet later, and Sara-sama and Soujuu-sama went to the salon. I attend the briefing for the external students. There are 15 external students. Five of them are the same scholarship students as me. In other words, they are comrades and rivals. The external students too are likely to have a hierarchy. I want to spend these three years meticulously.
“Nice to meet you. Kumagaya, ah no, I am Yuuki Miu. My last name has just changed and I am not used to it yet. I had always been living as a commoner and entering such a prestigious school so abruptly is such a surprise. I wonder if all the external students will agree? Let’s be on good terms with each other.”
A petit girl with a short bob,having the impression of a small animal, Yuuki Miu, gave a nervous greeting. Thereafter, the external students began to introduce themselves one after another. This time no one ignores anyone. My turn comes.
“I’m Kujouin Reiko. Please take care of me.”
I introduce myself the same way as everyone else, but their gazes are cold. It seems that everyone is looking at the smartphone and tapping something, but I can’t tell because I don’t have a smartphone. I did something that displeases you perhaps? I don’t think I smell because I bathe everyday, and I diligently work on my appearance for a while, more or less, I think there should be no problem around that.
After hearing the explanation of the annual event without understanding, we will be guided around the school. It is customary that this guidance is provided by the second-year external students, but the second year internal student will also participate this time. They come into the classroom. Among them is the student in front of the school gate this morning, Katsuragi Kaoru.
Representatives of the second grade externals speak to us first grade externals.
“I think you guys would have worked very hard. It’ll only be for three years, but I wished you all to do your best.”
He sounds a little grim. If it’s unpleasant, you should stop… No, he may be under some form of pressure from his family and he can’t stop so easily. Though, I’m not living with any relatives and ended up being a bit carefree.
“Even external students can enjoy themselves. Everyone, don’t make such grim faces. Lift your chests up!”
Just when I wonder if hearing such things from a genuine internal student Katsuragi Kaoru-sama would have any persuasive power, a loud voice was raised.
“Katsuragi-senpai, I’ll do my best!”
It was persuasive! Yuuki Miu is screaming with her hands on her chest. In response to Yuuki-san’s remarks, other external students began to encourage each other to do their best.
Aren’t you guys too simple-minded? It’s like one of those scary brainwashing seminars I read in a newspaper.
“Kujouin Reiko-san, I’m sorry that Yuria was rude this morning.”
Meanwhile, Katsuragi-sama suddenly apologized to me! That is not your fault!
“I don’t mind it. Ichijou-sensei will consult with me on that matter at the infirmary. So you don’t have to worry.”
Sakurada Yuuria is ill. Sick people tend to demand attention here and there. Due to dealing with Mari-sama’s irrationality, I’m especially used to letting such matters pass.
“Then, can I ask you a laundry fee for cleaning the dirty uniform? That much is plenty enough for me.”
“I got it. Then give me the uniform later.”
“Eh? Just the price is fine.”
“By all means, I’d like to start cleaning it here.”
“…If you would go to that extent. I will be in your care.”
They will lend this extra uniform for a while, so there is no problem. But during this exchange, the gazes of the externals hurt. Oh, I see. Despite being an external student, I became friends with Sara-sama who was an internal student. Even now, Katsuragi-sama, an internal student, is talking to me personally.
And thus, I found the decisive reason why I couldn’t make friends with externals. I don’t have the smartphone that everyone else has. Therefore, I can’t be put into their group. Perhaps in the school, chatting isn’t too easy for the external students. Therefore, a smartphone is indispensable for the sake of communication.
By the way, the home telephone is still black rotary-dial telephone. Though, since it is an analog line, it can be used even during a power outage.
… I’m too poor to even get along with externals. Let’s give up. It’s fine as long as I can go through the next three years without problems.
It became a little painful somewhat. Although poverty doesn’t bother me when I’m alone, such thoughts grow in my heart occasionally.
“Let me guide you”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll follow you along with everyone else.”
Katsuragi-sama, please stop the special treatment. Look, the externals are sending me cold glares.
“Besides, I’m supposed to be a villainous young lady aren’t I? If I were to be seen with Katsuragi-sama, it would be troublesome again.”
“…So that’s how it is. I’m really sorry. I’ll be sure to advise her carefully in that regard.”
“Aahh, that won’t do. If you deny the world she believed in, she’ll end up being more agitated. So please comply with it instead of denying it.”
Katsuragi-sama is astonished.
“Dealing with her that way may be troublesome, Katsuragi-sama, but I think this is the least troublesome way. I look forward to working with you.”
Ultimately, I ended up following them from a little further away. I’m used to being alone, but being so amongst a group is a bit painful.