So here's chapter 5. I will be finishing off with chapter 6. After that, I'll be clearing volume 1 of Hyouketsu Kyoukai.
In any case, there was nothing that I could do.
My sister has been with Kaichou for quite a while, and she has managed to keep her chastity until now. She should be able to handle it, even if they are by themselves. And if the situation requires her to, she should have the courage to give Kaichou a good kick in between her legs. Despite me still feeling a tad uneasy, it will be better if I am to complete my task.
Walking past the corridor, which was still cold from the remnants of winter, I climbed up the stairs to reach the second floor.
That was the place where my good friend was carrying out her tasks of cleaning and tidying up the rooms.
"Yo Akito. You came."
Ginbe greeted me with her usual cynical smile, while still wearing her olden cooking attire and holding on to a duster in one of her hands.
"How's the situation of others?"
"Well, slightly slow. Even though Akiko had spent much more time talking rather than working, I guess she is still barely on schedule. As for Kaichou, she is already done with her job."
"Really. That's great."
"How about Ginbe?"
"Things are going smoothly over here as well. It's just that there are too many rooms; it is slightly tedious."
"Mmm- is that so. Did I not plan things out well enough when I was doing the allocations?"
"Don't worry about it. I did not bother going through the cleaning in great detail, since the rooms are not in use anyway. Even so, going at the current pace, I will still not be able to make it in time. I do hope to finish it all before noon, so it will be great of you can help out."
"Alright, here I go."
I rolled up my sleeves,
"How should I help?"
"Let's see- there are still lots of broken junk left in the empty rooms, so please help by clearing those out. After that, throw away all the things that you, the caretaker of our hostel, think is not needed here. If there are things that can be of use, just leave it for the future."
With that, I started on the chores.
A war that tests my physical strength in carrying all the junk out, and Ginbe's wisdom in cleaning due to her having lived alone for so long, to their maximum.
We've been friends for over six years already, so we do share mutual understanding in everything we do. Adding to the fact that I have been in the same class as her in elementary and middle schools, we had cleaned the classroom together countless times already. The moment she received my help, the work efficiency was raised to a higher level.
Just like the hardworking ants, we focused on our individual tasks.
There was hardly any talking between us, and just like that, time silently ticked by.
— After a while.
"Hmm. At the very least, we are starting to see the end of the road."
We had successfully converted the empty rooms from a state of 'wreckage' to a state of 'slightly dirty rooms'.
"We have made some quick progress. All thanks to Akito."
"No no no, I did nothing much."
"From the looks of things, it seems like I can achieve my target of completing everything by noon. Please work harder then."
"Alright, watch me do just that."
What happened next was to wipe the rooms once with a piece of cloth, to end everything for the day.
This time around, it was me and Ginbe wiping the rooms together, one at a time.
Both of us didn't say a single word.
In the unique calming atmosphere of a wooden building with history, only the sounds of us wiping the floors and windows could be heard.
After some time, Ginbe suddenly laughed softly.
"Mmm? What? Something happened?"
"No, it's nothing. It's just that somehow, it suddenly feels strange for me to be doing such things with you in this place."
"Oh? Well, I don't quite get it."
"A few months ago, I could not have imagined that things will become like this. I had thought that at the very least, till before the graduation, you will be in Kyoto living out your high school life, staying by my side in that familiar place. But now, I am away from my home, cleaning an unfamiliar hostel together with you."
"Ah- mmm. Yeah."
"Originally, it would have been much better if we can spend our time at a more suitable place, such as the classrooms of the high schools in Kyoto. Well well, we really can't predict what will happen in this world."
"Mmm, that's true. Yes. Mmm."
"Oh, it's not like I am blaming you."
The slightly nervous Ginbe flashed me a wry smile,
"In regards to the things that you had done without telling me anything, they are all in the past already. I am also done with my biggest revenge, which is to move into the hostel where you and your sister are living together. All my resentments are already gone."
"Haha. Indeed, that is true."
"...... I did not cause any troubles for you, did I?"
Her eyebrows were slumping downwards from her uneasiness. Ginbe continued.
"Thinking back, I was forced to move into this hostel due to the circumstances. I need not look at your sister's responses to know that it is not something that you siblings are terribly happy with. I did give a few valid reasons, but my heart is still filled with guilt and regrets. Well, as of now, it is not like I have much of a choice as well......"
"Well, I was obviously shocked back then."
I threw the wiping cloth into the bucket to wash it clean, then said with a smile.
"I was indeed shocked - the leisure days spent with my sister, which I had missed out on for many years, has came to a halt only after a short while. However, not everything about it is bad. Like for now, living together with others can be considered to be a sort of learning experience as well. The experience of living together with a group of highly capable people, will be no doubt a valuable asset in the future."
"Really? I guess what you has just said can be considered to be good news for me."
With that, Ginbe showed a smile.
Even though she can be slightly hard to handle due to her teasing personality, she does occasionally show her honest self - that is one of the virtues of this good friend of mine.
"In actual fact, I am surprised by you coming over suddenly. However, I do feel more secure knowing that Ginbe has transferred to St. Ririana Academy."
Since we met six years ago, we has always been together in whatever things we do.
We were both in the class committee; we were in the same group for our travelling trip; we were together during the sports meet and the school's festivals; we even argued with the same group of people.
Well, it's not like there were absolutely no clashes between me and Ginbe (and in fact, we were both quite hostile at each other when we first met), but despite all that, we has still maintained a very good friendship for the past six years.
Good friends...... no, you can even call us to be the best of friends.
To be studying together in the same school again, and for both of us to enter into the students' council. There's nothing more that I can wish for. The best situation. I have no complaints.
"...... Well, I have never once thought we will be in a situation where we are living under the same roof."
"What. Doesn't this mean you are finding all these things troublesome?"
Ginbe puffed her cheeks.
"If that is the case, don't beat around the bush, and just say it straight. That it is inconvenient to live with me, and you feel unhappy that your lovey-dovey moments with your little sister are interrupted by outsiders. Just like that."
"No, I did not mean it like that, right? Also, what's with you dragging my sister in, at a juncture like this?"
"It is a fact that Akito has been holding back with me all these while. Though you have said that we are good friends or whatever, in reality you have never once relied on me."
"Nothing of that sort. I have always been relying on you. Isn't it all because of you offering me many good advices, that I can break off from the Takanomiya family to stand on my own? Also, aren't you the one who introduced the job opportunity to me as well?"
"You had hid your plans of moving away and transferring school from me, till the very last moments."
"I had no choice, alright? Also, even if I had hid it from you, I did report to you immediately after I was done settling down, right?"
"In any case, you have always said we are good friends, but Akito is still distancing yourself away from me. Even if there are advantages to you acting secretively, it is still way too much. If you are to discuss with me in everything that you do, then things would have gone much smoother. Take for example, the case of you snatching back your sister from the Arisugawa - if I was to help, it would have been done in a much better manner."
"If I went as far as that, then wouldn't it be just purely me acting spoiled towards you? How can I get you involved when it is my own private matters?"
"That's what it means by holding back."
"Look, didn't you just say that you are no longer bearing any grudges in regards to that?"
"You are really fussy about trivial stuff like these. It is due to that personality of yours, that you had walled yourself away from your so called 'good friend'. I request you to reflect on it immediately, and improve on it as quickly as possible."
"Stop bringing in my personality into the argument."
We both stopped cleaning for an instant, to stare at each other.
However, that lasted for only a few seconds.
Because both of us went *puu* in laughter at the same time.
That should be the 'everyday' that me and her share.
The Ginbe who gets stubborn easily and hounds on things, and the me who ignores her temperament - we may not seem very compatible, and we do argue a lot, but no matter what happens, we will always get back together like this.
How great it would be, if such a relationship can last on forever - that's how I feel.
I am not just thinking about it. I do plan to give in my all to maintain it.
"Well, to be honest, please continue to be my good friend, Gin. Due to me being reliant on you, I wish we can maintain our friendship forever."
"...... So as per usual, things have developed into this."
Despite me offering her my heartfelt thanks, Ginbe's expression was immediately overshadowed by a passing cloud.
"Even though I have many things that I find unsatisfactory in you, there is just this point of yours which I am totally helpless in. I was confident in not losing to anyone if we are to talk about the closeness in the relationship between us. However, that single advantage is totally gone as of just now...... My my, that's exactly what the term 'missing the opportunity' is referring to."
"Hmm? What did you just say?"
"What's even more unexpected, is the fact that Akito is actually a hopeless sis-con. To add on, I had just transferred over, and yet so many rivals have already emerged......"
"I say, Ginbe, can you speak louder? I can't quite hear you."
"It's fine if you didn't. Because I have no intention of letting you hear it."
Ginbe turned around and pouted.
She had said something like 'as per usual, things have developed into this', but that should be my line instead. It feels uncomfortable to see her grumbling to herself, and I have experienced that mode of hers countless times already.
"Ginbe, you are really terrible."
"You being so secretive will cause me to be at a loss. I do hope you spare a thought the victim, who is me."
"Hmph, that's something I do not want to hear coming from you. Or rather, out of everyone in this world, you are the only one who do not deserve to say that to me. You are the one who is always saying things unknowingly, that will make me at a loss...... Even if it is just a hundredth of what you have always done to me, I do wish you can have a taste of those sorts of feelings."
"What do you mean by saying things unknowingly? When had I said things like that? Tell me in greater details, so that I can try to take note of it."
"Ah, enough, how irritating. Please just shut up. At this very instance, every single word of yours, no, your very existence itself will be pissing me off to no end."
"What's with that? Isn't that just going overboard?"
It was as though I was affected by Ginbe's feelings as well. I was beginning to feel slightly angry.
Of course, I am used to arguing with her, but that doesn't mean our relationship will not be strained no matter what sort of things we say or do.
"I know I am stepping over the line, but I still have to say it. Ginbe, I think it is better if you are to fix up that stubborn attitude of yours."
"You are saying what?"
"The fact that you are being all pissed off, despite you not expressing your thoughts and feelings to the opposite party. If you do not tell me properly, then how will I know what went wrong, right?"
"...... There is a limit to who and where I will adopt that sort of attitude. In regards to that, it is about time that you realize it as well. That's how I feel."
"Eh? You were saying?"
"Nothing. I am just mumbling to myself."
"There you go again. That is why I say, how will I know what you are thinking?"
"Who cares. I have no intention of letting you know what I'm thinking at a place like this."
"Isn't that strange? You are the one who is angry at me for not understanding you, and now you are angry at me for trying to understand you."
"Ah enough! You are really a guy who loves to dwell on the tiny details. Please just shut up."
With that, Ginbe turned her face away, baring her animosity in full view.
Without that fault of hers, she would have been the best friend one can ever have.
"...... You are really fuming mad. Normally, you are someone who has a clear train of thought, but only at times like these, you will become surprisingly emotional. Isn't that just wasting away the cute face of yours?"
"What did you just say?"
Ginbe turned her head back towards me menacingly.
Her expressions were very solemn, and she seemed to be in a very serious attitude. Shit, had I really caused her to be enraged?
"Urm, nothing. Nothing important."
"Say it again once more."
"Ugh, I am really sorry. You had asked me to shut up, and there I was, continuing on and on. I am sorry."
"That no longer matters. Just repeat what you had just said."
"Ahhh, mmm...... Urm, 'You are really fuming mad. Normally, you are someone who has a clear train of thought', something like that."
"No, slightly after that."
" 'but only at times like these, you will become surprisingly emotional' - this?"
"No, not that."
"Ugh, what I was trying to say is, if you are angry, I hope you can at least tell me the reasons for your anger. I said something along that line."
"I am not asking about the implications behind your sentences. You had just said that my face is very cute, right?"
"Ahh, yeah. I said...... it?"
"You are not trying to tell me that you have already forgotten what you had just said?"
"Ah no. Come to think of it, I did say it. Yup, I said it."
"...... Is that so."
Ginbe had tried her best to move her petite body as close to me as possible, and she was staring straight into my eyes with those green eyes of hers, leading me to think that I had really pissed her off. However, that does not seemed to be the case.
"Is that so. I am cute?"
As per usual, she was mumbling something in a voice which I could not hear.
"Am I cute?"
"Ah, hmm. I think you are quite cute?"
"That's you finding me cute as a boy, or am I cute as a girl?"
" ? What sort of weird question is that. Why will I find you cute as a guy, when you are a girl through and through? Of course, there was a period of time when I did not know you are a girl......"
"I-Is that so. Mmm, that's right. But...... eh?"
For some odd reason, Ginbe began talking incoherently.
"What's with that - so he does see me as a woman? Should I say I am pleasantly surprised, or it is out of my expectations - no, but isn't that infuriating as well? Since he does see me as a woman, then his treatment towards me up till now is really just - no, despite that, this is still an excellent gain for me. Ah, really, I never thought things will develop like this - uwaa, what is happening? Is being praised as cute by that guy really something to be this happy about? My heart is thumping wildly, and if I am not careful, my face will go into a relaxed state-"
"...... Oi. Gin?"
"Are you fine? Your face is flushed red."
"Uh...... No, nothing, I am fine. It's just a slight cold."
"No no no. Even so, it is still too strange for your face to be that red in an instant. It still looks pretty normal not too long ago."
"You are still as long-winded as ever. It is a cold alright. Look, my skin is so fair, any slight changes in my body will be shown immediately."
"Indeed, that may be true for people with fair skin...... But still, you should have told me about it earlier if you are suffering from a cold. If I had known earlier, I would not have made you take part in the spring cleaning."
"Ahh enough, how very irritating. Let us finish up the cleaning quickly. If we are to continue to talk, we will not be able to stick to the plan."
"No no no, it can't do. You must take a rest if you are feeling unwell."
"I don't need a rest. Come on, let us continue."
"Look, you can't."
Just as I was exasperated by my strangely stubborn good friend, I grabbed onto her arm.
That was because it looked like she was planning to ignore my advice and continue working, so I wanted to stop her even if things are to get a little rough. However,
She violently shook off my arm which was grabbing onto her.
Sigh, she is a really stubborn lass. She is usually a smart person, and is normally an extremely calm person. However, there are occasions where she would do things that are unlike her personality.
Hmm? Speaking of which......
"Did you just scream 'Kyaa!?' just now?"
And then, her face began to blush. Much redder than before.
"I-It's just your illusion. The auditory hallucinations that we frequently speak of. Or you can say it as paracusia. If not, it must be something that your brain has made up."
"Why do I have to do things like that...... it's not like I have a problem with it. I was just surprised that you had let out that sort of scream. I really can't imagine that, considering Ginbe's usual manner of speech."
"S-Sorry about that. I may not look like it, but I am still a girl. No matter how small or how frail I am."
"Hey, don't put on such a willful expression...... I have never once said that it is something bad. I think it is good, like that sound that you had made just now. Isn't that just cute?"
I had thought that Ginbe's face could not be anymore redder, but it actually turned into a deeper shade of red,
"This guy...... his natural personality really does kick in only at times like these......"
" ? Huh? What are you saying?"
"N-Nothing at all! Enough of this, I shall just leave this place to Akito! Since more than half of the work is already done, you should be fine by yourself, right!? I'll take a brief rest in my room!"
"Ah, hold on, Gin-"
Without waiting for my answer, Ginbe dashed out of the room like a rabbit.
Leaving me alone, feeling all lonely by myself.
"...... I'll continue it then."
There were no other options.
In the end, I silently finished the work which my friend entrusted to me by myself.