Part 3Music: play Track 3
"Hmm... My home? Must be about me moving."
...... I should have finished the formalities yesterday. Perhaps there's something I forgot to do.
The girl doesn't move, but stands there looking at me.
"Uh... Good morning, Yumizuka."
"Yeah. Good morning, Tohno-kun. Looks like you remember my name."
Sighing with relief, Yumizuka Satsuki gives a faint smile.
"I can remember the names of my own classmates, you know? It's just that I haven't spoken to you much."
"Yeah. I was a little nervous about talking to you."
Yumizuka smiles again.
She seems happy about something.
Yumizuka continues to stare at me as if she wants to say something else.
...... To be honest, I don't know her that well. Although we're in the same class, I can count the times we've spoken.
But Yumizuka Satsuki is the center of attention.
She's often the topic of conversation among the boys, and there aren't any bad rumors about her among the girls. In short, she's your typical class idol.
Naturally, she's always surrounded by a crowd. She's the complete opposite of a loner like me.
While I might be able to remember the name 'Yumizuka Satsuki', there's no reason for her to remember the name 'Tohno Shiki'. It seems like some bothersome coincidences are at work today.
"I know it's sudden, but... will you be transferring somewhere?"
"Ah, no, no. I'm changing my residence, but not my school. My new house is still in this town anyway, so it's no big deal."
"Oh... that's good."
Yumizuka sighs with relief.
How odd. Why would something like me moving cause that kind of reaction?
"But... are you going to leave the Arimas?"
"Yeah. I enjoyed living with them, but I can't leech off them forever."
How does Yumizuka know that? No one at this school should know I was living with the Arimas, except for a certain guy...
...... I let out another sigh.
I once again wonder, like I have many times before, how I ended up knowing this person.
His hair dyed orange, ears pierced.
His vicious glare that shouts he will pick a fight with anyone, any time, and his wearing of rebellious clothes.
Inui Arihiko is the only free-spirited outlaw in our university-oriented high school.
"Do you have to be so loud this early in the morning? I'm depressed about all sorts of stuff, so stay away from me today, okay?"
I wave my hands to shoo him away.
"Depressed? What's wrong, man? Is it 'that' time of the month?"
"...... Wait, I take that back. Rather than just for today, stay away from me for the rest of my life. My depression will only get worse with you around."
Ignoring Arihiko, I head back to my own desk.
Dropping my bag and taking a seat, I stretch my back.
"...... Why are you only mean to me, Tohno? You're like a saint to everyone else. It's not fair."
"What, you just figured that out? The world's unfair."
"...... You really are only mean to me."
Arihiko gives another exaggerated sigh.
I didn't try particularly hard to be cold to Arihiko. That's just the kind of relationship we have.
"So, Arihiko, what's a chronically-late night owl who never shows up until second period doing here in homeroom? It's a little... no, it's very odd."
"Haha... I was thinking that too. I guess being at school on time isn't just for when I happen to wake up early."
"...... Well, I won't comment on your hobbies, but what I'm asking is why you woke up early."
"Why I woke up early? Uhh... I guess it's because I can't stay out late since all that fuss started, so I actually go to sleep at night now.
You've heard the stories about that serial killer, haven't you?"
"...... I see. Come to think of it, I did hear something like that."
I feel a tinge of regret at needing Arihiko to remind me.
For the past two or three days I had been debating whether or not to return to the Tohno household, so I completely lost touch with the news.
"What was that again? They've given it some really nasty name, like the 'Freakish Serial Killings' or something."
"There's more to it. So far, all the victims have been young girls. The eighth victim was only two days ago! And to top it all off, they were all... wait, what happened to them again?"
Arihiko tilts his head in contemplation.
I'm an idiot for asking him.
"Well, anyway, that's what happened. Even I wouldn't be going on the streets at night with a killer walkin' around. That's why I've been waking up at seven lately."
"...... What, that's it? Having a good reason doesn't make a good story. Where's the fun in that?"
"Man, you're cold. What, did you collapse from anemia already this morning?"
"I'm alright, thanks for asking. If I was anemic twenty-four hours a day, I'd be dead by now."
"Yeah, you're right. If you say you're okay, then I guess you're okay."
Second period is over.
Our homeroom teacher, who's also our math teacher, calls out to me as he leaves.
"Tohno, your documents are missing some details. Please go visit the office."
It shouldn't take long, so I'll head to the office before the third period starts.
The office is on the first floor.
The second-year classroom is on the third floor, but I could make it back before third period starts if I run.
I hear a voice nearby. It's a woman's voice I've never heard before.
It looks like I ran into someone.
"I'm sorry, are you alright?" I still can't see my surroundings too well, but I apologize to the person I hit.
"Yes, I'm alright... How about you? Are you okay?"
There's no trace of accusation in that gentle voice.
I don't know who she is, but it seems like she's worried about me.
"Ah... Yeah, I'm also okay."
I shake my head and stand up.
Finally, I can see clearly.
Music: Play Track 2
"I am so sorry. I was not paying attention to where I was going. Your forehead must really hurt, right?" The female student gazes apologetically at my face.
From the formal way she spoke, I assumed she was a first-year, but from the color of her ribbon, I can see she's a third-year... in other words, my senpai.
"No, it's fine, really. I'm the one at fault. I'm sorry for bumping into you, Senpai."
I lower my head in a bow.
"Sorry about that, but spacing out in the hallway is also dangerous, Senpai."
"Yes, I'll be more careful."
Senpai smiles and nods.
It's an honest smile.
"Um... I'm going now. You should go back to your classroom too, Senpai.
Ah, if you're in any pain, please come to my classroom. I'm Tohno from Second Year, Third Class. I'll take responsibility."
...... Even though she's older than me, it's like dealing with someone younger.
"Alright. If anything happens, I'll come to your classroom at lunchtime. Remember, Shiki-kun, you mustn't run in the hallways."
"Okay, but you shouldn't space out in hallways either, Senpai."
With that, I wave my hand and leave.
Shiki-kun? I haven't told her my first name.
Come to think of it... did she use my name earlier too...?
She looks up at me reproachfully.
Those eyes... I'm sure I... remember from somewhere... don't I?
...... Come to think of it, we exchanged greetings once or twice before... didn't we?