Main Story 32

The following day, I attended school as usual.
And I planned on continuing to do so as a scholarship student.

I entered the classroom and greeted the person sitting next to me, the heroine Yuuki Miu-san, with a smile.

“Good morning.”


After glaring at me, Yuuki Miu-san started looking at her phone without a word.
It has finally reached a point where she won’t even deign to return my greeting.

Oh well, I don’t mind it.
I do however start to ponder if I should still continue greeting her from now on.
Is it right to greet someone when they were evidently displeased about it?

After thinking about it for a moment, I decided that I will continue greeting her without minding her reaction.
Giving a greeting does not cost me anything; still more it is important to keep proper decorum.

After a while, Sara-sama and Souju-sama came to my side.

“Rei-chan, good morning.”

“Rei-chan, morning.”

“Sara-chan, Sou-kun, good morning.”

All three of us had smiles on our faces.

We attended classes, went to the salon, and had our lunch as usual.

“Um, thank you for yesterday.
It was foolish of me to let go of you when Sara-sama and Souju-sama had troubled yourselves to be friends with me.”

“I am much relieved to hear that you will be moving from that precarious house! Even Kaname-niisama…”

“Sara, I told you to not say anything unnecessary.
More importantly, it seems that some of the teachers and guardians had objected to the choral performance we gave at the cultural festival, but thanks to that princess,  I heard that they completely changed their minds and began praising the performance instead.
We can do it again next year.”

My, so EDM was a no.
Thank goodness the princess came incognito!

“If the princess had not come, I wonder what my fate as the principal offender would have been.”

“Principal offender? You would probably have been called by the dean and be lectured.” (Souju)

“So there was no danger of me being stripped of my scholarship.
Thar’s a relief.”

I was once again eating onigiri.
Although Souju-sama had been glancing my way looking like he wanted some, I continued eating while bearing his stares.
It would be rude to the cafe’s chef.

Just then, with a refreshing smile on his face, Madenokouji-sama called out to me.

“Kujouin-san, sorry to bother you while you’re eating.
I thought it would cause trouble for you were I to go to your class.”

Madenokouji-sama is a person with common sense you can trust to be normal.

“Thank you for your consideration.
Do you have any business with me?”

I won’t mind if you refuse, but my grandmother wishes to see you.”

“Madenokouji-sama’s grandmother?”

“I was told that your way of behaving with the princess reminds her of her own grandmother.  She misses her dearly.
My grandmother deeply respects her own grandmother who had worked to support the Madenokouji family when it had fallen into ruin.”

Do I perhaps emit the same impoverished aura to that great-great-grandmother he’s speaking of?

“It’s probably not what you’re thinking, Rei-chan.”

But I don’t see any other points of resemblance aside from being penniless.”

Madenokouji-sama seemed to have gained a slight understanding of my financial situation after listening to our conversation.

“Ah right, you were a scholarship student.
It is as you said, the Madenokouji family was a family that had fallen into ruin and was extremely poor until my great-grandfather succeeded with his business.
At that time, my great-great-grandmother worked as the governess of a well-known family’s daughter and barely supported the family.”

Hm? Could it be…

“After Mari-sama contracted dementia, there was a time when she became frightened while mentioning Madenokooji-sensei.
Could that person perhaps have been Madenokouji-sama’s great-great-grandmother?”

What kind of person was it to have been able to make that Mari-sama so frightened? My interest has been piqued.

“Perhaps that might be so.
I heard that your grandmother was Shirasagi Mari-sama.
Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ve heard that when she was a child, my grandmother greatly admired Shirasagi Mari-sama.
We have a recorder that she holds dear in our house.
Mari-sama held the master license and ceased all sale of the recordings after she quit being a pianist, so they say.
That’s why the only recordings in existence are those already sold at the time.”

“Ah, is that so? I did not know that.”

Now that Mari-sama has passed away, does that master license belong to my father? If so, he might sell it.
It aggravates me for my father to be able to make a profit, but I suppose it’s favorable news for those who would like to listen to Mari-sama’s performances.

Speaking of, Sara-sama has been in a bad mood since earlier.
Sara-sama was imposing a threat upon Madenokouji-sama like an adorable cat.
You’re not frightening, Sara-sama.

“Madenokouji-sama, my grandmother is a die-hard fan of Mari-sama.
What she feels is above such a trivial emotion as admiration.”

Sara-sama is being competitive! And over Mari-sama, at that.

“Yes, the lady of the Hongou house is supporting quite a number of artists, so she must hold a lot of affection for the trade.
I see that Shirasagi Mari-sama was one of them.”

“No, it is not so! She is different when it comes to Mari-sama.
Mari-sama is special!”

Mari-sama who is in heaven.
No, Mari-sama who might be in hell.
They are arguing over you…

What else can I do? I should turn the conversation away from this topic.

“Um, I have cassette tape recordings of Mari-sama’s playing in her late years at home.
How about listening to them together with Youko-sama and Madenokouji-sama’s grandmother?”

“Rei-chan, for real?”

Unexpectedly, Souju-sama had something to say.

“Although she could not play for an extended period of time in one sitting, Mari-sama could still play the piano as normal.
But cassette tapes don’t last long so I do fear that it might not be long before we are not able to listen to them any longer.”

“Rei-chan, you should get those cassette tapes restored by professionals as soon as possible.
I’ll handle it so can you bring them tomorrow?”

“Ah, yes.”

Souju-sama immediately contacted Youko-sama.
In response, he was ordered to get them today, stating that there’s no leisure to wait until tomorrow.

“I will hand them over to the driver Suzuki-san then.”

“No, she ordered me to receive them personally so I’ll be going to your house today too.”

“But you’re busy, Sou-kun.
I’ll go back home to get them and bring them over to the Hongou residence.”

“If you do that, I’ll get scolded by both Grandfather and Grandmother.”

There’s no other way then.

“If that’s the case, should we have dinner together as well? Although I cannot offer you anything much.”

Souju-sama’s eyes sparkled.

“Nice! Let’s go buy the ingredients on our way later!”

Ah, Souju-sama sure is adorable.

“Souju! I’m going too!”

Madenokouji-sama watched over us with a kind smile adorning his face.

“The three of you really do get along well.
How about joining the student council together, all three of you?”

We looked at one another.

“We absolutely refuse, Madenokouji-san.”

“There is no way I will when Souji will not either.”

“As I am a scholarship student, I believe I am out of the question.”

Madenokouji-sama let out an awkward laugh while scratching his cheek.

“You guys are quite a difficult bunch.
I still have yet to give up though.
And, Kujouin-san, if you could maybe tell me your contact details.
It’s for my grandmother.”

I told him my home number.
The cell phone I have is only a borrowed thing, after all.

“You didn’t tell him your cell phone number.
I guess he’s gonna have to call your house instead.”

“There is only myself living there, so please do not hesitate to call.
And do tell your grandmother about the cassette tapes listening.”

“Huh? Kujouin-san, you live alone?”

Souju-sama fixed a glare upon Madenokouji-sama.

“Don’t approach Rei-chan too much! It’s the same case with Katsuragi-san too, but aren’t you guys on Sakurada Yuria’s side? You guys are a nuisance.”

“Sakurada-san, huh? She’s only someone sticking to Kaoru; I have nothing to do with her.”

“You definitely do! You can go ask for more explanation from Katsuragi-san or Ichijou-sensei.
Just don’t go about approaching Rei-chan anymore!”

“Sou-kun, Madenokouji-sama has only come to relay his grandmother’s message.
That was rude of you to say all that.”

“You don’t understand, Rei-chan!”

Souju-sama was pouting.

“Right! I will make what Sou-kun wants to eat for dinner today.
But nothing that will take too much time.”

“For real?! Then, I want fried chicken and onigiri.”

Huh? Onigiri for dinner? Just how much does he like onigiri?

“You will also make what I like, won’t you? I would like the gratin I had last time.”

“I understand.
We should go home quickly then.
I need time to prepare dinner.”

To think that their mood would get better with something like this.
I’m glad I learned how to cook.
Food overflowing with the refined flavor I learned from Fuki-san, the warm taste of the countryside from the landlady, and the taste of the wild while also being mindful of all its dangers I learned from Comrade Yoshio.

Come to think of it, I also repeatedly learned how to disassemble deer and boars from Tanaka-san.
I recall giving him my word that I would get the Class I Hunting License once I became an adult when I was still in elementary school.
Ufufu, how nostalgic.
Although I don’t have good reflexes, I was told that I had good eyes and ears.
He also praised my ability to concentrate, saying that I would make a good sniper.
It was rare for me to get praised and I was elated.

After finishing lunch, we returned to the classroom and each attended our own electives.
I chose music for my art class.
Souju-sama chose fine arts, and Sara-sama calligraphy.
Speaking of, Sara-sama had just become a calligraphy instructor the other day.

Sara-sama is proficient at Japanese art and also does ink wash painting! I did not expect that.

I head to the music room by myself.
Classes such as art and physical education are joint classes between different academic years.
My art class I had with Yuuki Miu-san and Takanashi-sama in the same class, so I took camp in the very back of the room in order to avoid catching their attention.

The music teacher was a middle-aged man.
I heard that he was one of the people who had criticized the EDM performance.

Today, the third recital was being held.
Every student performs there.
Two of such recitals had already been held and it was finally my turn to also perform.
Aside from performing solo, you also have the option of performing as an ensemble.

“Next, Takanashi-kun, Yuuki-kun.”

It seems that the two of them had gotten closer, just as Sakurada Yuria-sama intended.

“We will perform the piano four hands, Hungarian Dance No 5.” (Takanashi)

The two of them bowed, adjusted the bench and sat.
They looked at each other, matched their breathing and began playing.

They were exceedingly terrible, but above all, they seemed to be having fun.
Yes, the most important thing in music is to have fun.
But I do believe that it’s a different case if you were performing for someone else.

After receiving applauses, they looked at each other again.

“You seem to have had fun performing together.”

At the teacher’s comment, Yuuki Miu-san seemed to be in high spirits, exclaiming, “He praised us!”

It seems to me like he had not actually praised them.
Yuuki Miu-san is such an optimistic person.

My turn came after the next performance.

I moved my fingers to loosen them up.

“Next, Kujouin-kun.”

When I came forward, Takanashi-sama jeered at me.

“The performance of someone who had mangled a traditional choral performance is not something I want to listen to.
It’s gonna be shitanyway.”

And to such jeerings, the music teacher replied with,

“Takanashi-kun, since this is a class, I am obliged to allow even the Kujouin-kun who does not understand classical music to perform.”

Though I had never seen one myself, the atmosphere felt as if this was a public execution.
Still, I imagine it to be a mixture of hatred, anger, curiosity, and sympathy so I think it is a similar enough comparison.

I came forward and decided to perform Bach’s Goldberg Variations: Variation 20.
It is only right that the performance of someone so hated be short.
It’s a one-minute piece.

I bowed and sat down on the bench.

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