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Chapter 1:

Kushida Kikyou’s Soliloquy

DO PEOPLE LIVE according to their own ideals, I wonder? Well, I do. I’ve become my ideal self. Other girls acknowledge that I’ve been blessed with a wonderful figure, my memory is sharper than most people’s, and I’m academically gifted. I’m good at sports and confident in my conversational skills. I have pawns at my disposal, I’m shrewd, and I’m adaptable to any situation.

Wouldn’t you say I’m perfect?

Of course, I wouldn’t say that I am. There are girls cuter than me, and many who are smarter or more athletic. That’s obvious. Yes, that’s quite obvious. However, it’s also fair to say that most people hate to lose. Whether it be a question of looks, academic performance, singing, or even video games, it’s only natural to feel frustrated when you lose to someone else at something you excel at. 

I hate losing far more than the average person does.

Every time I lose to someone I know, it shakes me to my core. Every loss deepens the darkness inside my heart. I once vomited from the intense emotional stress that losing caused me.

Reality is cruel. I know I’m not average, but I’m not a genius, either. When I was a child, people fawned over me every time I completed even a small task. They called me a genius, a wunderkind. It felt wonderful. It made my heart dance. 

You could say I was the hero, the class idol. I was the best at everything—until I started junior high. Then people began to overtake me in multiple aspects. I just couldn’t beat certain opponents, and that ate at me, so I searched for an escape. I wanted something that I could never lose at. I wanted people to respect and envy me. 

I couldn’t achieve that in academics or sports. It just wasn’t possible. So, I decided I’d get people to trust me instead. They’d love me more than anyone else. I would extend my hand in friendship to disgusting, asocial boys, and to girls unattractive and bitter enough to turn anyone’s stomach. I suppressed my real emotions and wore a smile, exuding false kindness.

I became really popular. I was loved by my classmates, by both upperclassmen and underclassmen, by my teachers and guardians, even by strangers in my neighborhood. When it came to likeability, I was unparalleled.

In those days, I was elated. At the same time, I learned something new. Trust is like an expensive sake; you can’t just replace it with a false or lesser spirit and expect people not to notice. Additionally, trustworthy people receive access to secrets. When people find someone they can truly trust, they lay themselves bare.

I racked up that currency. I learned everything from the secret desires of the most popular boy in class to the smartest kid’s secret troubles. I obtained information both insignificant and gravely serious. Every time someone confided in me, my heart danced with joy. 

Every time someone trusted me with information that meant the world to them, I shook with delight. I was trusted—the most trustworthy person around. That became my reason for being. But my power came from living a life of lies. I spent my days being slowly crushed by the weight of that stress. 

Then…that incident happened. Well, that’s not quite true. The incident didn’t “happen.” Someone made it happen. 

But there was nothing I could have done, anyway. Everyone had rejected me by then.

If you hurt someone, you can’t complain when they hurt you back. If someone hurts you, you pay them back in kind. That’s only natural, right?

Still, the ideal persona I’d constructed for myself shattered. The respect and envy people felt for me disappeared, replaced by fear and hate.

That wasn’t what I wanted.

I only wanted one thing.

I wanted to be everyone’s favorite. To feel that sense of superiority once more.

I promised myself I’d never go through that again. I swore to myself that it wouldn’t happen. As I thought about my new life in high school, my heart pounded in excitement.

This time, I would succeed.

So, I was determined.


Alas, alas, alas…

The beginning of my new life turned out to be a disaster even before the start of the opening ceremony. On the first day of high school, I bumped into Horikita Suzune on the bus.

She knew about the incident.

As long as she was here, I’d never have peace.


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