“You fool, this might just be a little contest, but you shouldn’t take your opponent’s words so seriously. In the first place, I didn’t mean anything strange by the word ‘train’. What were you imagining?”
Shinichi suddenly said in that monotonous voice as he criticized her failures. As expected, he was indeed teasing her.
She’d been disarmed and her opponent’s weapon was right in front of her. Were this a real battle, she would have indeed lost.
Perhaps it was because she understood that that she made a red, bitter face, yet in the end, she still smiled.
“I had no idea,” Shinichi was shocked.
Tomoe wanted to throw a tsukkomi here and point out his agitation after all that talk, but realizing that he still showed no openings despite that, she decided to keep quiet, believing that doing otherwise would only bring needless trouble.
What they were doing was neither actual combat nor training, but a mere imitation of a Sports Chanbara match.
The weapon they were using was also not real swords, but special airsoft swords.
Their bout with those unexpectedly ended in Shinichi’s defeat because of a foul, but…
“You know, Tomoe, if you’re going to bring up the rules here, how many valid strokes do you think he made?”
Tomoe was visibly dismayed when one of her friends watching their bout pointed that out.
In an ippon-shobu of Sports Chanbara, one valid stroke was all that was needed to decide the match.
Tomoe’s shoulders dropped in dejection, and Shinichi patted her on the head to console her.
With the airsoft sword, that is.
“Oh, that makes a pretty good sound.”
“Do you take my head for a fish drum or something!?”
Correction, he was not consoling her, he was playing around.
She was really angry this time and yelled with a red face, but he just found her reaction amusing and apologized while smiling.
That only served to aggravate her anger, but there was no point to it no matter how angry she became.
Meanwhile, Tomoe’s friends inadvertently smiled as they watched them quibble.
“W-What?” Tomoe asked.
“Nothing, I just thought you’re really having fun.”
“Exactly which part of this is fun!?”
Tomoe immediately denied the notion, but they ignored her and turned their attention to Shinichi.
“Still, you’re pretty amazing, umm, Nakamura-kun, right?”
“I don’t mind if you drop the suffix. You all seem to be 2nd years, so please just treat me as your kouhai.”
“…Alright, Nakamura───But you know, Tomoe is the strongest and fastest among us, and yet she couldn’t hold a candle to you at all. You’re strong, aren’t you?”
After a moment of confusion, the three pairs of eyes that looked at him were that of doubt, though hidden within could be seen an insatiable greed for strength.
Shinichi was inwardly impressed by their attitude, but he chose to dodge their question with a few casual words.
“I can’t say the same for the academy’s classes, but I still remember some stuff when it comes to this kind of stuff.”
“Oh, I see, have you been training or something?”
“Nah, it was just something like a hobby of mine. I studied all on my own, so as you can see from earlier, I even accidentally committed a foul.”
It’s really problematic, he said.
Muddying the truth with half-truths was something Shinichi had long gotten used to.
Tomoe alone looked at Shinichi with a face that seemed to say, ‘who is that?’
The sight of a Shinichi using such courteous words and with such manners was just too shocking.
Shinichi noticed that and frowned.
“…Tomoe, I know what you want to say, but even I can do this much… I can’t keep it up forever, though.”
“It’s called keeping up appearances, Shinichi.”
“Ku, I have no words to rebut with!”
“Good luck, maybe one day you’ll find some…”
Although Tomoe was relieved to see that he didn’t act so outrageously with everyone he met, she felt like admonishing him when he confessed hat the couldn’t keep it up for long.
“…Close enough to call each other by name.”
“…With a fairly intimate atmosphere.”
“…And an attitude different from when she’s with us.”
Is this ‘that’? Tomoe’s three friends pondered with suspicion.
As they shared a glanced with each other, an amused smile surfaced on them.
“Hey, hey, I have a question! What kind of relationship do you two have?”
“How far have you gone?”
“If I may be so blunt, when did you fall in love with each other?”
Tomoe’s three friends used the hilt of the airsoft sword as a mic and asked their questions like a pack of gossip columnists.
Their actions did not startle Shinichi, but Tomoe was greatly rattled.
“F-Fall in love!? What are you guys talking about!?”
“Ah, yes, actually it was just a few days ago. It was a really fierce attack from her side.”
Unlike the flustered Tomoe, Shinichi was as calm as ever as he responded to these ‘reporters’ with a smile.
That made Tomoe open her eyes even wider in shock and let out a strange scream.
“Wait just one moment, what the heck are you saying, Shinichi!?”
But no one lent an ear to her screams as the abrupt interview continued.
“Oho, oho, and?”
“After that we got into trouble with another guy, and we had to work together to get rid of him. That was probably the start of it all.”
“Ooh, like a fated meeting!”
“What is!? Hey, what is!?”
“After that, a lot of things happened, and now we’re close enough to embrace each other many times.”
“Wow, Tomoe has climbed the stairway to adulthood!”
So that’s his side, what about yours?
Tomoe’s three friends seemed to say as they turned the mic to her.
Seeing her three friends with such big grins understandably made blue veins pop on Tomoe’s forehead.
“I’ve climbed nothing! I didn’t do any such thing! What the heck have you three been asking him anyway!? And you too, Shinichi, quit feeding them nonsense!!”
“…Nonsense? You sure about that?”
Tomoe had exploded into an emotional outburst, but Shinichi just calmly shrugged his shoulders, as though to say that the one saying nonsense was her.
“Huh? Everything you said was obviously nonsense— Huh?”
His attitude confused her, so she thought back to the chain of events that occurred since their meeting.
When they first met, she was under control, but without a doubt, she definitely ‘attacked’ him.
“N-No way… I-It wasn’t nonsense? Impossible!”
Although there were a lot of things that couldn’t be said, and he’d intentionally made things sound misleading, Shinichi’s depiction of their history indeed wasn’t mistaken. He was telling the truth.
The shock from that and the fact that there was only so much about that incident that she could talk about made it exceedingly difficult to clear up this misunderstanding.
As realization dawned on her that she would have to explain their history together in that manner from now on, Tomoe collapsed.
“Well, actually, I exaggerated a lot of stuff and made it misleading, so please just forget everything I said.”
Satisfied with Tomoe’s reaction, Shinichi withdrew his earlier statements.
“Okay, okay, don’t worry, we understand. Teasing Tomoe is really fun and her thoughts are always written on her face.”
But even if he said nothing, Tomoe’s three friends understood from the start that there was nothing of the sort going on between them.
Shinichi was dumbfounded by that for a moment, but he immediately understood and silently shook their hands.
In other words, ‘Let’s continue to tease her from now on’ ‘Of course.’ It was that sort of mutual understanding.
But of course, Tomoe could not possibly remain silent after an exchange like that occurring from right in front of her.
“Uwaah, the club leader is mad! Mr. Boyfriend, console her!”
“You’re still continuing with that!!?”