(Ah, she went and did it…)
After Ryuuga angrily stood up while placing both hands on the table, I gave up and watched the situation unfold.
Unfortunately, the tailing operation pretty much failed. The protagonist lost patience before Aogasaki did.
“…Ichirou, sorry. I’m reaching the limits of what I can bear.”
“Well, I suppose there’s no helping it…I understand. Do as you like.”
After I nodded, Ryuuga instantly left my side and stepped forward.
Then, she went straight to the restroom…nah, she didn’t do such a comical thing. She walked briskly towards the seats Aogasaki and King Arthur were at.
Aogasaki was bewildered, the anger from before leaving her.
Of course, King Arthur was speechless as well, not being able to comprehend what was happening.
“──Student council president. Don’t insult Rei any further.”
“Hmm? Could you by any chance be an Oumei High School student?”
“Indeed. I’m wearing a different school uniform due to certain circumstances. Such things don’t matter right now, though.”
Before Ryuuga could continue speaking, I rushed over to her and tried to hold her back.
“H, hey Ryuga, stop. Don’t do anything rash.”
I said “Do as you like,” just a while ago. This is my job during this scene. The role of a friend character.
…These kinds of disturbances occurring is within my predictions.
I already understood well enough that King Arthur is an unlikeable guy. Now that Ryuuga had gotten mad at him, the future plot is predictable.
As expected, this substory…will probably follow the simple pattern of a match between Ryuuga and King Arthur over Aogasaki.
If that’s what the protagonist is going to do, then I have no objections. Since she’s going to confront King Arthur, I decided to set the stage for the duel.
While making such calculations, Aogasaki turned towards us.
“Kobayashi. You too…”
When she was once again taken aback, I bowed my head in response.
“Sorry, Aogasaki. I followed you here…”
“I was worried, so I couldn’t sit still.”
“I, if you’re going that far for me…”
While Aogasaki had oddly gotten in a good mood, Ryuuga was still glaring at the dangerous King Arthur.
When the other customers started looking at us, I said “Nothing to see here. Don’t mind us,” with a forced smile. It’s my duty to deal with onlookers.
“Ryuuga and Kobayashi, was it? So, what are you here for?”
Though a bit befuddled at first, King Arthur soon regained his calm. He then made an eloquent smile and shrugged his shoulders.
“As you can see, we’re in the middle of our date. If you have business with Rei, I’d prefer if you could save it for another day.”
Ryuuga took an unhesitant step closer to King Arthur, who didn’t lose his composure.
“Sorry, but I’ve been listening to your discussion the whole time. There are two misunderstands you have, President.”
“Misunderstandings? What’s this about?”
“Here’s the first one. I recall you saying that…’tradition’ is the only thing Getsushiyoukan loses to against the Aogasaki dojo.”
“I did say that but, I don’t believe there’s any misunderstanding.”
“There’s one more thing Getsushiyoukan loses to. It’s the most important thing to have as a swordsmanship dojo.”
“Oh? For future reference, do say what it is.”
“It’s ‘strength.’ Getsushiyoukan’s sword cannot defeat the Aogasaki style.”
“H, hey Ryuga, what are you talking about?! You’re speaking with the student council president, you know? An instructor of Getsushiyoukan, you know? He even owns a car, you know?”
Depicting a sense of confusion, I once again warned Ryuuga. As a matter of fact though, I don’t really want to stop her. I’m doing this to enhance Ryuuga’s actions.
(Aah, this is quite nostalgic…this is where it’s at. This is my intended position! I didn’t need an ‘Evil Spirit’ from the beginning!)
I wanted to give my gratitude to King Arthur for making Ryuuga angry. It seems that I had been making light of swordbics. Perhaps I’ll take a look at it for myself.
While overjoyed by the minor role I had, the main people involved continued speaking.
“Ryuuga. If I may speak, I don’t believe that the current Aogasaki dojo boasts much ‘strength.’ Do you think there’s anybody there who can rival our advanced students other than Rei?”
“There is, right here.”
Nodding her head, Ryuuga made a bold smile. She then pointed at herself with her thumb.
“That’s the second misunderstanding you have, President. Wasn’t your investigation too shallow? I’m also a fully fledged pupil of the Aogasaki dojo.”
Ahaha. Ryuuga, is this where you’re going?
Indeed, perhaps this is best way to involved in the situation. Ryuuga will do away with King Arthur while representing the Aogasaki style.
She’s inexperienced with handling the sword, but it’s impossible for her to lose.
“Yamanashi Asao. With the way you’re doing things, Rei will never look in your direction.”
“If you’re a swordsmanship dojo, then earn your reputation using the sword, fair and square! If you want Aogasaki Rei, then have her recognize you for your ability!”
Even here, Ryuuga’s shows her power as the protagonist. She’s normally cool, but will become passionate for the sake of her companions…this is who Ryuuga is!
“…You’re also a member of the Aogasaki dojo? And furthermore, you have more ability than my advanced students?”
“Yep. Let me say this, even Kobayashi Ichirou over here is a pupil. He’s probably stronger than you.”
Ahaha. Ryuuga, is this where you’re going?
…Is this where you’re going?! This is terrible! I’m getting wrapped up in this too!
(Why am I entering the stage like this?! I wanted to refrain from standing out as much as possible!)
My joy from a bit ago was instantly replaced with irritation. Not good. I’m getting deeply involved with the story again. In the worst case scenario, I’ll end up having to duel with King Arthur!
I was speechless, forgetting about the drama going on.
Suddenly, King Arthur spoke in an incoherent voice, as if bursting into laughter.
“Ryuuga. You’re quite vigorous, but this is a discussion between fellow proprietors. This is not something a mere pupil should intervene in.”
“As of now, the Aogasaki dojo has no future. However, by merging with Getsushiyoukan, Rei will at least be guaranteed a future. I intend to show my utmost sincerity.”
Even without a script, King Arthur continued speaking. It seems that making speeches is the only strong point a student council president has.
“I believe that through the form of marriage, I will be responsible for the rest of Rei’s life. What about you? Can you guarantee Rei’s future any more than I can?”
Before she knew it, Ryuuga was deprived of her control over the conversation. Not being able to reply, she said no more and hung her head.
…Normally, what King Arthur said would lead into an event. Ryuuga would reply with “Of course! I will support Rei all the way!” and create a thrill in Aogasaki’s heart.
However, Ryuuga didn’t follow through with that.
The reason is because she’s a girl. She and Aogasaki can’t share a future together. Rather, she wants to share a future with me instead──and given her serious character, she cannot allow herself to give a rash answer.
(However, at this rate, she’ll lose the verbal argument with King Arthur, and that’s not good…hang in there Ryuga!)
While holding my breath and observing the situation, King Arthur once again turned to Aogasaki.
“Rei, you should wake up to reality soon. Eventually, you’ll find that you’ll no longer be able to manage the Aogasaki dojo. As is, not just Tanaka, but the remaining children might also be lured towards our establishment, you know?”
At that moment, Aogasaki’s eyes suddenly widened.
“Don’t tell me that you and Kazuhiko…”
“Whoops, that was a slip of the tongue just now.”
King Arthur scratched his face while making a broad smile. This isn’t the first time he messed up his words.
“However, I have not forced anyone to do anything. Ultimately, the one who made the decision back then was Tanaka. Each person is free to study in whichever dojo they want…am I wrong?”
Ironically enough, Aogasaki had said the same thing.
Like Ryuuga, Aogasaki hung her head in frustration. It was quite the good speech to be able to corner both the “Successor of the Dragon King” and the “Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance.”
…At the same time, I felt a simmering, boiling sensation inside me.
(The nerve this guy has…to get carried away in front of the main characters protecting humanity…)
Yamanashi Asao. What an underhanded person he is. At this rate, the conversation will end at his pace. Even in an argument, the guest character defeating the protagonist is inexcusable.
(To think that he’s gone as far as to secretly lure away others. To think that he would crush the Aogasaki dojo while making a face as if he’s worried about it…)
Aogasaki won’t be happy at all if she were to be married with this guy. I didn’t want to stick my nose into this, but it seems that I have no choice but to provide some backup.
King Arthur. Unfortunately for you, I’ll have to turn the tables. Rei is not yours!
“Now, Ryuuga. If you understand, return to your──”
“Wait, King Arthur.”
I took a step forward and stood next to Ryuuga.
For the first time, King Arthur took a proper look at me. He revealed some irritation in his face, probably because he had thought that he was on the verge of winning the argument.
“What now? Is there anything left to discuss?”
“In the end, you’re admitting that Getsushiyoukan is weaker than the Aogasaki dojo──are you okay with that?”
“Since you can’t earn fame through ability, you want to somehow buy your way to it…is that something you’re fine with?”
I put a bit of emotion in my voice in order for the customers around to hear us.
As expected, whispers erupted all around, saying things like “By Getsushiyoukan, does he mean that swordsmanship dojo?” or “I’ve heard of the Aogasaki dojo as well…”
“I believe Ryuga said it a while ago, right? If you want to take the Aogasaki dojo’s reputation, then do it with the sword. You can go ahead and talk business, but this is a matter between swordsmanship dojos, isn’t it? If your dojo wants the reputation that another one has, the logical move would be to try and have a match with the sword, no?”
“Kobayashi, was it?”
King Arthur’s eyes stared daggers at me. The smile on his face had disappeared.
“It’d be troubling if you look down on Getsushiyoukan just because it’s a newly rising school. We have countless talented people nationwide. We don’t plan on losing in ‘strength.'”
“Aah, I wonder about that.”
“It’s impossible for me to lose to either you or Ryuuga. Be careful when you talk big.”
“Heh. You’re quite confident, but can you really knock down Hinomori Ryuuga? This person has been a prodigy in the sword since the day of enrollment. If you think I’m just talking big, then let’s give it a go.”
There were clear signs of anger in King Arthur’s face. Indeed, the best way to handle these types is to poke at their pride. By stirring things up to the point that everyone’s focusing on him, he won’t pull back.
“How about it, King Arthur? Will you let yourself see Ryuga’s dance of the sword?”
“…I understand. You dare make such provocations.”
Once King Arthur finally nodded his head, I chuckled to myself deep down.
Alright, the bait has succeeded! The flag has been set for the duel between Ryuuga and King Arthur!
(I’m a bit worried, but this has been an excellent course of events. Now what’s left is for Ryuga to do the best──)
Or so I thought. King Arthur really is a villain.
He didn’t take the bait so easily.
“As a Getsushiyoukan instructor, I will certainly accept a challenge from the Aogasaki dojo. The time and date will be noon ten days from now. The location will be the dojo of the headquarters. I’d like for the form to be a five to five group battle.”
“G, group battle? No, it’s you and Ryuga.”
“If the reputation of both sides is on the line, then it should be an all-out war, right? You’re not saying that this isn’t a sufficient amount of people, are you? It’ll be fine if Rei, Ryuuga, and you can secure three wins.”
And now it’s come to this. This has gotten serious. The plot ended up pointlessly expanding!
“W, wait a minute, Arthur. I can’t do this. My left arm has a fracture, and I have about eight ruptures in my Achilles tendon. In fact, I need to rest in bed.”
“Kobayashi, it’s too late to withdraw now. Not after talking so big.”
“My condition is quite bad! I had to take a tuberculin test and a pinworm test! Recently, I’ve stayed near the restroom and cry often at night…”
“Hmm, what I’m proposing is not a tournament, but a point-based match. With that, such issues shouldn’t matter much, right?”
“Let’s have a talk, Arthur! Things like that are the reason why the queen had an affair with Lancelot!”
I was clinging on for dear life.
“──I get it. This will do.”
Ryuuga understood. She nodded with a stern expression.
“Are you alright with this too, Rei?”
Aogasaki contemplated for several seconds after Ryuuga spoke and before long, agreed with a slight nod. With this unexpected development, they seemed to have prepared themselves.
After seeing that, King Arthur got up from his seat. He then passed by us and headed towards the exit.
“Rei. This is the end of our date. Your answer to the marriage proposal will happen in ten days…decided by the results of the match.”
…King Arthur left, leaving behind Ryuuga, Aogasaki, and me.
After an indescribable period of silence, Ryuuga hesitantly spoke with Aogasaki.
“I’m sorry, Rei. We did something selfish…”
“No. You two were worried about me, right? I couldn’t stomach Asao’s words either. It’s not a bad idea to settle the matter.”
Making an expression of relief by that response, Ryuuga looked at me with a powerful glint in her eye.
“Ichirou. We cannot lose this match.”
“I have plans to enter the birdman rally on that day…”
Though I put up some futile resistance, it didn’t work.