CHAPTER 1: PART 6
We decided to collect branches in the vicinity so that we’re not too distant from the base camp. In a place not too far away from the camp, the three of us spread out picking up branches.
“Hey, look, Ayanokouji. I want you to keep this a secret between you and me.”
Yamauchi, holding a branch in his hand, approached me whispering into my ear:
“I… am thinking of having my eyes on Sakura.”
“Nah, isn’t Kushida-chan on a higher level? Her communication skills are also superb. That’s why I was thinking of giving up on that eminent target on this occasion. Compared to her, Sakura can’t get used to guys at all as if she’s bad with people on purpose. To be honest, I was thinking of going as far as I can go on this trip. Perhaps that girl will fall for a guy who’s kind and caring. I will go after her until I get a kiss at least. No, really. It’s okay if it’s Sakura on this occasion. No – Sakura’s good!”
“On this occasion… You haven’t been involved even once with Sakura until now. It’s quite unexpected.”
“Nah, look, I feel sorry for not seeing it earlier. She didn’t catch my attention because she is plain, but she’s really cute. Is she an idol? Her breasts are already at their finest. Even when she wears a jersey you can see them completely, it’s very noticeable.“ He started doing massage movements while having naughty thoughts.
His reason for suddenly feeling like helping out was that, it seems. It looked like a backup measure after giving up on his favorite Kushida. I can’t think of Sakura being pleased with that. I wished for an event to happen where Yamauchi would start liking Sakura for real.
“So please, help me. For instance, you could leave us to be alone from now.”
“I’m not saying I’ll help you with that…”
“What? Are you after Sakura maybe? Those boobies!”
Why are there so many guys who look at things so nastily? I wasn’t going to deny Yamauchi’s feelings particularly. After all, breasts size are women’s charm and their attractiveness is biologically explained too. I don’t mind cheering and helping out if necessary. But unlike Kushida, Sakura is not used to interacting with men in any case. It would be a different story if this was him just purely wanting to become friends with her, but I can’t let her suddenly be alone with a guy who’s after the opposite sex. If Yamauchi acts recklessly, there will be no chance with Sakura.
“Please, give it up for now. I will cooperate when I get closer with Sakura. Besides, I’d like to go back and try to set a bonfire properly while it’s still early. Alright?”
Yamauchi dropped his shoulders in disappointment, but recovered his mood quickly.
“It’s really hard. Well, whatever. Since you have Horikita you don’t need to worry, Ayanokouji.”
Since when do I have Horikita?
“Look – let’s just collect the branches properly. I’ll start diligently picking them up over there too.”
With that being said, he pushed the collected branches towards me. Some of them fell from his hands on the ground. I regretted a little, thinking I might have done something bad to Sakura. Although the cause might be in Kouenji leading, there was a possibility that he felt agony being together with me for a good amount of time. He isn’t the one who will say it out loud.
After Sakura warned the two of us, we collected branches almost silently in the end.
“We have enough already, haven’t we? It’s enough for today, right?”
That was right, we have collected even more than enough amount today.
With Yamauchi’s remark, the three of us finished collecting branches and started heading back to the camp.
“Hey, hey, Sakura. Would you like me to help you with carrying? It must be hard for a girl. You might hurt yourself.”
He was going to break the ice from the beginning – she was holding only about half the amount of branches I had. It seemed he intended to present himself as a sweet, caring guy. I wondered if Yamauchi’s kindness would be conspicuous in contrast to me not helping out.
“It-its’ fine… Ayanokouji-kun, he’s carrying a lot. Help him out.”
“Ugh! You’re so nice, Sakura! Really, you’re too greedy, carrying a lot of them all alone Ayanokouji. Look, I will carry half for you so lend me some.”
With that, firstly he grabbed and retrieved about half of the amount. Even if Sakura refused, it seemed like a two-stage strategy to be able to appeal to her gentleness. Yamauchi, who looked satisfied, walked off in high spirits.
Such an adventure happened on the way back.
There was a girl sitting with her back on a large tree who seemed to have been left behind. She wasn’t a D class student. When she realized our presence, she turned her eyes to us only once and then she completely averted her gaze like she had immediately lost interest.
Because another class left her to fend for herself, I immediately understood that the situation of the girl was not a trivial matter. On her cheek, there was a red swelling mark. I knew at first glance that was a sign of a slap, like it was struck by someone. One given with a great force too. When Yamauchi tried to rush to the girl, unconsciously I grabbed his shoulder.
“What is it?”
“Ah, No..I’m sorry. It’s nothing”
Now, when I tried to say something, when I tried to say it was an unnecessary thing to do, at the last minute… I just restrained myself.
“Hey. What’s wrong, are you okay?”
Yamauchi couldn’t leave the injured girl alone and he wanted to take the initiative to call out to her. But…..
“Leave me alone. It’s nothing.”
“Oh, it’s nothing?……..It doesn’t seem so. Who did this to you? Should I call a teacher?”
From the state of the swelling, it was easy to see how she was accompanied by considerable pain.
“I just had a dispute with the class. Don’t worry about it”
Laughing with self-derision, the girl said so and rejected Yamauchi’s offer. She gave off a masculine feeling, but it was clear that she looked down and unwell. I guess she was a little concerned about the story of the dispute.
“What are you going to do? I can’t just leave you here”
This place is completely different from the school grounds. It’s a jungle surrounded by another forest.
In 1 or 2 hours, the sun will begin to set. When that happens, this too could probably lead to accidents.
“You see, we’re D class students. If you don’t mind, come join us to the base camp”
Since Yamauchi asked lightly for approval, me and Sakura nodded slightly and played along with his story.
“EH? What are you talking about? Are you kidding me?”
“I mean shouldn’t we help each other when someone is in trouble? Isn’t that natural?”
She had no intention of listening to such words so she turned away and said nothing. I’m sure it would be very easy to leave her on her own but, unless in extreme circumstances, girls couldn’t be left alone in such places.
“I’m from C class. In other words, I’m your enemy. You understand that much, right?”
That’s no reason why she shouldn’t receive help.
“But…we cannot leave you behind in this kind of place, can we?”
Both me and Sakura nodded, agreeing with him. Still the girl didn’t even try to raise her heavy back from the tree. Because we’re students from the same school, it’s natural for us to help each other. But whether or not it was the right thing to do in this special trial, it’s another matter completely. Especially if you judge it in a calculating and selfish way.
“We cannot go back leaving this girl behind. We’re going to be here until you move”
Yamauchi decided to continue staying in this place. Then we just had to watch and wait together. But then, the young lady, perhaps judging our presence as a temporary trick of her imagination, moved away immediately and continued on giving us the cold shoulders. She took no notice of where we stood.
“Anyway, in the forest it’s gloomy and there’s an unpleasant heat and humidity. Sakura, aren’t you hot?”
“I….that’s….uhm..not particularly….I’m okay”
Being there just waiting was really boring, but from Yamauchi’s viewpoint, he had his exact wish fulfilled. Because he could spend his time with Sakura, until the girl gave in. Even then, he could also spend a meaningful time whenever he hit the girl with questions, together with Sakura. After 10 minutes or so, the girl, losing perseverance, stood up since she had no more choice.
“You guys are so stupid. You’re so naïve. You aren’t thinking about your own class”
“Because we can’t leave behind a girl who is in trouble”
Yamauchi tried to look cool by raising his thumbs up. Sakura’s impression of Yamauchi is now becoming more favourable and it’s rising to good….isn’t it?
The main thing is that Sakura does not care at all about Yamauchi’s painful efforts. It is just like our situation, now, when we are deep in the woods and there is no meaning in trying to watch the sky. First and foremost, if he could see that Sakura is not very good at being surrounded by other people, maybe we could avoid this unpleasant situation. I let him come close to us with the best of intentions and for helping us do the task faster.
“But, excuse, me? If you are going to tell me about the place that your camp is. At least make a guide map.”
“Eh?! That seems to be kind of inappropriate.”
I think that Yamauchi did not understand the words of the girl and turning to my place he sought for validation. As I was thinking without saying a word, the girl talked, without hesitation.
“What an idiot! I can not believe it, truly, I can not believe it.”
Yamauchi was taken aback and stood still. If we somehow find out where are the campsites of the other teams, how this could help our class to overcome this exam? If we study and take some measures, then, there is a possibility. Speaking of D class, the existence of the spot that the camp is based is already known. There is a part for a lot of reasons for my anxiety, but I correct my seated position and I start thinking of everything, one by one.
“It is alright, I think that there will be no problem.”
“Is that right? Then there is no problem. I am Yamauchi Haruki. Please, treat me well!”
“Well, you seem like a nice guy but….. for real you are an idiot!”
While being astounded by the self introduction, the girl without even looking towards us, gave us a short reply.
“I am… Ibuki.”
With a voice pleasant to my ears, the girl named Ibuki, as soon as she told us her name she brushed her cheek with her hand that had become quite red. Even during introductions she made sure not to meet our eyes. Maybe she hates looking at other people’s eyes. Whatever it is, I am quite interested in this. It might be insignificant, but there is dirt between Ibuki’s nails and hands. Just a little while ago, we found Ibuki seated down, but it seems that she was digging the ground for some reason.
“He he, nowadays fellow girls do things like fighting by slapping each other…?”
“Just let it go. Our problem is where are the other classes set up their camps.”
Even if I am saying that out loud, my aura is emitting the fact that I am actually scared. Even though I can control this, sometimes my agony is printed on my face, almost like it stroking my cheeks.
Ibuki took the bag and put it on her shoulder, like it was something troublesome, then she flashed a strange look at Yamauchi. Her eyes flickered as she almost saw something coming.
Well, Yamauchi has to show that he is a man, at least in front of Sakura. Moreover, in order to impress me too with his technique, he offered his hand to the new girl. Truth be told, it was courteously.
“… I’m ok, wait, I’m telling you, I’m ok. Stop it.”
We might have Ibuki and her bag into custody, but there is no chance that she will entrust it to us to carry it, if we possibly believe that she will trust us, then we are in denial. The bag left her hands and as it bounced it bumped into a tree with a thud. As the atmosphere became awkward and almost dark Yamauchi apologised.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I did not have any bad intentions. I apologise.”
“I understand, it is just that I still do not trust you, guys. You do understand, right?”
That is all, it seems that there is nothing left to say, Ibuki stood still in silence, Yamauchi too, gave up and started walking. If she did not carry the bag, then she should carry some branches… Maybe she thought that we would make her carry branches in large quantities and thus hurt her hands, so she held on to the bag.
We gathered the branches and we returned to the campsite. We did not want to cause trouble as Ibuki was from a different class, so we made her sit in a place hidden from most people. Even though we left her in a place within our eyesight, I hope there will not occur any unpleasant situations. It would be a really bad luck if we were to meet Hirata. For the time being it’s me and Yamauchi, as Sakura was keeping herself busy with the preparations for the bonfire. Well, the night was beginning to fall around us and still we had not prepared to make a fire, so we felt a bit improper.
Yamauchi came with the box of matches he received from Hirata, making a heap of light branches, then, crouching down, before it.
“Let me take charge of this, I will show you an easy way to do this”
He took a match from the box and rubbed it against the rough striking surface to ignite a small amount of flammable fuel. I heard for just an instant, the rubbing sound, but the stick did not seem that it would produce a flame easily.
“Damn it, it is really difficult.”
As Sakura was standing beside him, Yamauchi took an imposing posture, but it does not seem to work as always, especially in front of other people. Well, it seems that is not something that it will go smoothly.
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