––Why did this happen?
Masaki wondered this as he walked the short distance from the bus stop to the school’s entrance.
The staring eyes around him were painful.
There was a parasol in his left hand.
But since it was a girly black parasol decorated with lots of frills, he didn’t open it. Alice used it so that she could block out the sunlight.
“Hey, Alice… aren’t you going to hold your optical illusion parasol?”
“…I’m feeling black today.”
“Come to think of it, wasn’t it white before?”
If it was an optical illusion, it would be simple to change such a thing.
This morning, Alice and Shirley came on the bus together. Since they lived in the same place, it was a natural thing to do.
When they got off from the bus, the parasol was handed over to him with a “…Hold it.” The school entrance wasn’t too far away, but he thought that it might have had some kind of meaning so he held onto it.
There must have been a meaning.
From Masaki’s point of view, it seemed like they were well-known.
No matter how you looked at it, he was a servant.
Even just holding the parasol of one of the most well-known girls in the school attracted lots of negative attention. To make the situation even worse, another girl was pulling on his right hand.
“Masaki, what will you do for lunch today? Hey, I recommend the buffet on the 53rd floor!”
“Hey, Shirley, are you going to stop pulling on my hand?”
She laughed abundantly.
Masaki walked to the front, holding Shirley’s right arm. Masaki left his arm as it was and increased his pace.
Alice was walking slowly at her own pace, and Masaki was holding the parasol and pulling Shirley from behind.
“Ah, it’s similar.”
“…What is it?”
“The large dog being taken for a walk in the neighborhood. Another guy was doing it for the old man with the bad back, but as soon as they left the house, the dog started to run, pulling hard on the lead.”
“Heh, that dog isn’t disciplined is it. So how do we look similar?”
“…It’s a stupid dog.”
Even though a conversation like this was taking place, from a bystander’s point of view, it looked like they were on good terms with each other.
As soon as they reached the classroom, boys started to gather around.
“Uh, hey, Kusunoki-san.”
“Huh? In this school, you add “san” to other boy’s names?”
“No… I’m just showing you respect.”
“You just said something ridiculous. It’s fine for you to address me without honorifics as you would normally. If you like, you can call me ‘Masaki’.”
“N-No, that’s too much! Are Kusunoki-san, Sakurazaka-san and Clockheart-san on good terms with each other?”
He used honorifics for some reason.
They still hadn’t gotten to know each other very well. Since he was a transfer student, it would be hard to get used to him.
“We’ve become partners in Breaker. But I think that the combination of Alice and Shirley is better.”
“Ah… eh, right now… that is to say…”
Masaki just called them by their first names.
The voices of the others was rising and falling like a wave.
“Hey, he isn’t using ‘san’!” “Did he just call her ‘Alice’!?” “Wait a minute! If Clockheart-san hears that, will she kill him!?” “Kusunoki-kun is sick! It’s true that he’s a Level 7!” “It seems like he and Sakurazaka-san are childhood friends, but the Queen…” “If he’s the Queen’s partner… then he’s the King.”
On that day he received the nickname “King.”
It was really discomforting.
Since his hobby was making confectionary, he had been affectionately called “Patissier” and “Cookie” as pet names in his previous school.
This was wrong.
Masaki wanted to have a friendly conversation with his male classmates. When it was break time, he went to where a few of them were gathered.
“Hey, if it’s okay with you guys, could we have lunch together?”
“Huh? Uh, King… in the school cafeteria?”
“You can use my name. Yes, Sakurazaka-san wanted to go to the buffet on the 53rd floor, but I don’t think we should go there together.”
He tried not to call her by her first name in front of other people.
But his classmates were indecisive.
“So… you won’t be going with Clockheart-san…?”
“Ah, well, maybe.”
Shirley said that she couldn’t leave him alone, so she wasn’t the type to let him eat alone. Masaki was also the same. Because they were friends.
His classmates shook their heads.
“We should accept only the King’s sentiments! Or rather that’s overdoing it a little… how should I put it, we would be out of place–– right!?”
He was asking for agreement, so everyone around him nodded their heads.
“Yeah! Eating lunch with Hell Cat is too dangerous!” “Hey you!” “Idiot! Don’t get us involved in this! Please excuse me, King. This guy is an idiot!”
Masaki waved his hand around frantically.
It seemed like they were more afraid of “Help Cat” than Masaki had imagined.
He gave the most courteous and pleasant smile that he could.
“Haha… S-Sorry. It takes time for those two to calm down… I understand how you feel. Erm… let’s do this next time.”
Masaki dropped his shoulders as he thought This is different from what I imagined it would be before I transferred.
If his friends from his old school told him “You’re being called King,” he would either burst out laughing or worry about being bullied.
He left his classmates and returned to his own seat.
The moment he sat down to prepare for the next lesson, his Ring Gear started flashing.
“What is it?”
A window opened.
An email had arrived.
“Can you come to classroom 2808 during lunch break? I’d like to have a discussion with you alone.”
The sender was––Minamishima Miyako.
Who is that? Masaki thought as he tilted his head to the side in confusion.
He thought about it for a little and then remembered that she was one of the girls in his class.
In the morning, his classmates had introduced themselves to him, but he didn’t remembered all of their names yet.
However, he remembered her since he talked to her by herself in the first PE class.
She was sitting about three seats away diagonally from him and was looking around the classroom.
When he looked at her, she turned away.
She had a hairpin in her flowing, shoulder-length hair. She had a tender atmosphere around her.
She must have had quite a strong Dialect to be in this class, but she looked so normal that he wouldn’t have noticed her if he passed by her in town.
Her expression darkened a little.
She gave off the feeling of having something that troubled her.
Yesterday, they had only had a short conversation with each other, as well as the discussion with the others; he didn’t have the slightest idea about what was going on but––the mail was probably sent with the hope that he’d be reliable. It would be inexcusable for him to turn her down coldly.
Masaki sent an e-mail to Shirley saying “I have something to take care of at lunch. I’ll be a little late so you can start eating without me.”