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Chapter 5

The Cultural Festival

AFTER A LONG period of preparation, the festival finally arrived.

The festival began at 9:00 a.m., and students were required to arrive at school by 8:30 a.m.

Furthermore, the gates to the school opened at 6:00 a.m., so if necessary, preparations can be made early in the morning. Horikita and I met at the lobby of our dormitory at 6:00 a.m. to go to school. This was because we have to make a final confirmation in advance, in order to avoid any inconvenience during the actual event.

As soon as I joined her, she turned her attention to the box I was holding in my hands.

“Good morning. Is that cardboard by any chance the one you were talking about?”

“I'm sorry for making you come up with an unplanned budget.”

“It wasn't a big amount, so the impact is minimal. We second years should’ve been given 5,000 points each to spend as we see fit.”

We also rubbed elbows with students from first to third grade who came in early with the same idea, although not as many. I stopped by the classroom once to drop off a box of hand-me-downs and then came over to the maid cafe.

“Did you receive the call from Matsushita-san?”

“I checked. It must be hard for her since she's one of the leading figures who led the maid café to this point.”

Matsushita contacted me early in the morning and reported that she had to take the day off due to illness.

“But it's a wise decision.”

If she had only a slight fever, she might have been able to go, but she had developed a cough and other symptoms, so she could not perform a job that required customer service. Additionally, even if she were to participate, Matsushita, who was not feeling well, could not be entrusted with a heavy workload, and if the cold spread, it would affect the class during the festival.

“Besides, this is the kind of preparation we need to make in advance.”

It’s not enough to just reassign personnel; it is necessary to know where to fill in the missing personnel.

“Speaking of which, did you hear? It's rumored that Hasebe-san and Miyake-kun may have been the ones who leaked the information about the maid cafe.”

“Sounds like it. But we could have foreseen that at an early stage, couldn't we?”

This information came down from Kei, who was in close contact with the girls and had already heard about it.

“I guess so. But I wonder if it was really a good idea to leave it alone.”

“Rumors are rumors. Haruka and Akito didn't actually leak the information.”

Horikita's self-loathing at not being able to help Haruka and the others peeked out.

“You shouldn't show your weakness so easily. It will only give them an opening to take advantage of you.”

“You’re always so calm as if you’re a stranger to the situation.”

I noticed that Horikita was looking at me as if to check my expression. The observation continued for five or ten seconds, and then I noticed that her face had changed to a difficult expression with a wrinkle between her eyebrows.

“I have a few questions…do you usually interact with the first-year students?”

“First-year students? No, I don't. I talk to Nanase or Amasawa once in a while, but that's about it.”

I feel like I shouldn't say that I interact with them, since I rarely ever go see them myself.

“Is that what you wanted to ask?”

“It's not a big deal.”

“Speaking of interaction, what about you? You talk to first years in the student council, don't you?”

“Well, I do. I'm getting a little bit more involved with the juniors.”

The student council had gained three people from this year's first years; the second years only had Ichinose for a long time. There was a distinct lack of quality, if not quantity, of talent. The most recent addition was Horikita, but it was likely that the number of members was adjusted to fill the gap.

There was no limit to the number of members in the student council, but it was said that there were generally eight to twelve members. At this school, there are currently three third-year students, two second-year students, and three first-year students. It would seem that they were following past conventions.

“At first, I thought it was useless. I would rather be in my room studying than doing student council work because it would better benefit me. To be honest, that feeling hasn't gone away.”

Student council work wasn't the only thing that seemed like such a waste of time. Whether it was club activities or friendships, it was basically a series of futility.

Some may go from club activities to becoming professionals, or from friendships to future jobs, but for many, these will be nothing more than memories of the past.

On the other hand, if you work hard at your studies, it is likely to lead you to a great future. It would be the most solid and safe option a student could take.

“There’s a lot to be learned in futility. You're beginning to see that. Your brother was student council president, too.”

“My brother's case is different from mine. He was able to carry out his student council duties flawlessly while also achieving impeccable results in his schoolwork. I don't think he ever felt that the student council was a burden, nor did he suffer from a lack of studying.”

Even if we'll never know the actual truth, there was always plenty of room for Horikita to study. I don't think there was any way she didn't put in a lot of effort, but she didn't let it show in vain.

“I'm grateful to you, if only for the results. Joining the student council has helped me see things I couldn't see.”

She was honestly thankful, or so I thought, but she still went on with her words.

“It made me realize how great my brother is again, and I have to do a lot of extra work.”

“I wish you had just been honest and thanked me.”

“You have to accept some complaints.”

“I agree and sympathize with you that academics are a difficult goal for you.”

I know that I am not inferior to Manabu in terms of pure academics and physical ability. But if he was in the same grade as me, under the rules of this school. It's a long shot, but you never know what kind of fight it would have been.

At the very least, he held enough power for me to consider him a dangerous enemy. 


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