It looked like the date for Ibuki’s party had been decided. Since the Konoe family was thinking about it, all we could do was wait. When I was called to the salon yesterday, I had just decided on the days and the invitees that I wanted, so it might take a while before the invitations arrived.
More importantly, I had something more important to discuss today. The seven of us would gather in the cafeteria and talk about it.
“With the matter of Konoe-sama, I have already told him what days I would prefer and whom I would like to invite. All that can be done now is to wait for the invitation from the Konoe family, however… we have something more important to decide.”
I said that solemnly, so everyone else looked solemn as well and nodded. We would be discussing that important matter from now on.
“Then, let us decide on the date when the seven of us can go shopping!”
Yes… we had promised that we’d all go shopping together, but we hadn’t decided on the date and time. The kids who attended Touka Academy were all busy. Their schedules were packed with lessons, high society, socialising, and various other things.
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“R’x qall sd…”
“Wsa dso, zlv wp yzz oakvl vbl eyvlp vbyv ol yal yhykzyczl sd.”
“Mbkp eyu’p y zkvvzl…”
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“If we do something about this day…”
“If we look for another day when everyone’s available, we’ll be going into next year…”
Everyone’s gaze was piercing… or at least, it felt like it. They probably weren’t looking at me like that… but I definitely felt guilty, so those gazes felt piercing to me. Six people were available on that day, but I was the only one who wasn’t…
Like what Azami-chan had said, if we didn’t meet on this day, then we couldn’t meet up this year. If we avoided this miraculous day when six people were free…
“Understood… I shall ask my mother if my schedule may be cleared on this day.”
I swallowed. Telling my mom… “I want to play, so can my schedule be cleared on that day”… How much courage would that take? And I just wanted to meet up with them; it wasn’t anything special.
“I am sorry… We are asking you to do such a thing, Sakuya-chan…”
“But there’s no other days where we’re all free…”
They didn’t drop the topic. Everyone was thinking that if only I were free after all…
“Oh! But please do not keep your hopes high. I will attempt to ask my mother. I cannot say that this date will absolutely work…”
I had to warn everyone… If they kept their hopes up and my mom denied, I wouldn’t know how to tell everyone “It won’t work out after all”.
“Well, it’s fine. This date’s pretty far in the future, so we just don’t have any plans for it. We still don’t know if we’re actually available on this date.”
Yuzuriha-chan said that point-blank. Well, I thought the same. It was very far in the future, so it wasn’t “I’m available” but more like “I haven’t made any plans yet”. But saying that was the end, you know…
“Everyone, please take care to keep this day open. Well, one of us might not be available, so it’d be all for nothing, but.”
“That is true…”
Yuzuriha-chan~! You can’t deliver the final blow~! ‘Cause everyone got gloomy all of a sudden!
But everyone confirmed that they’d try their best to keep the day free, and we ended today’s lunch.
After school, I drank tea at the salon while thinking. Kaya-san was sitting in the seat in front of me like usual, but I didn’t mind her. I’d reply if she talked to me, but I wanted time to think alone. I didn’t need to talk and talk all the time.
As a result of talking to Ibuki, the date that the Konoe family would likely pick was in September or October. The date Azami-chan, Satsuki-chan, and the other five of us wanted to meet was in November.
Right now, the time I had to play was something about once per month. Thinking about it normally, that wasn’t a lot. An elementary schooler would usually play every single day. Playing only once every month was way too small.
But if I immediately told my mom that I wanted her to change my plans in November when I got home, she’d get mad and say I was playing too much. It didn’t matter that I had time to play; I had said there would be a party soon. If I asked her to change my November plans, she’d think that I was playing too often.
Well, I didn’t have the option of not asking my mom, but… I also couldn’t leave it alone and ask her later. In my situation, I had to ask her to change the plans I already had immediately, so it was better to ask her sooner.
Oh, how worrying… If only Ibuki didn’t say unnecessary things… If only there wasn’t a Konoe family party, I could play with them just once… Because of the Konoe family party that I didn’t want to go to, our plans of the seven of us gathering together would come to nothing, which would be horrible.
“Yes? What is it, Kaya-san?”
As I was thinking, Kaya-san called my name. I didn’t have reason to ignore her when she did that. More importantly, I had greeted her the moment I arrived at the salon, so I wasn’t exactly ignoring her…
“Sakuya-chan, are you hiding a big secret from your big sister?”
“Huh? Hiding a big secret from you, Kaya-san?”
Did something happen? I didn’t think that anything had, but…
I couldn’t say that I was a guy in my past life… I couldn’t also say that this was a strange world closely resembling that of the game “Love Flowers”.
What was it? What other secrets did I have?
“I cannot think of anything in particular…”
Kaya-san kept pressing me. But even if she continued saying that, I really couldn’t think of anything. What was Kaya-san talking about?
“Then, should I say it?”
I swallowed. What was it? What was Kaya-san planning to say…
“Sakuya-chan, you’re going on an outing with a lot of other girls, right? Why didn’t you invite this big sister?”
What? An outing with a lot of other girls? Was she talking about how I was going to buy things with Azami-chan, Satsuki-chan, and the rest?
“Umm… firstly, where did you hear of that?”
I wanted to know how Kaya-san learned that on the first place. It wasn’t really a secret, but us seven should’ve been the only ones who knew. It was strange how Kaya-san knew about it despite that, but I couldn’t do anything about it.
“I know everything about you, Sakuya-chan.”
“Is that so… I had just said that I wanted to go buy items with some of my classmates, but I did not think of inviting you, Kaya-san.”
I wasn’t really thinking that I didn’t want to invite her or that I wouldn’t invite her. I just simply didn’t think of inviting the sixth-grade Kaya-san when the seven of us gathering were first-graders.
“Then, could you perhaps invite me?”
“Uh… that is…”
This was Kaya-san, so if I told her a date and time, she’d cancel all her other plans and go. This wasn’t a situation where I had to tell everyone about the change in plans yet.
But was this really okay? Always forcing Kaya-san to clear her plans… in the first place, this wasn’t something that I could decide on my own. I couldn’t invite her
without asking the other six first.
If I did ask everyone, there probably wouldn’t be anyone who’d outright refuse. Telling her to come if she wanted to was pretty straightforward. But because of that, I couldn’t decide on my own. At the very least, I had to ask everyone…
“I am sorry, but this is a gathering for only first-graders. Please refrain from attending, Oogimachisanjou-san.
“I didn’t ask you though, Saionji-san?”
Before I could answer, Satsuki-chan made one of her rare appearances and cut in. She was normally with her monryuu and faction at the salon, so she didn’t often come and talk to me. Even so, she came all the way here to put a stop to Kaya-san.
“The seven of us have decided on this gathering. But if we do not agree, then Sakuya-chan will not acknowledge your invitation. You will do that, yes, Sakuya-chan?”
“Umm… that is…”
That was true, but… I was also thinking that, but… If I agreed with what she said, then that’d worsen my relationship with Kaya-san. If I said that I couldn’t accept the invitation without asking the other girls first, then that wouldn’t really worsen our relationship.
If I agreed with Satsuki-chan here, then I’d be taking her side, which meant that I’d be refusing her invitation. If Satsuki-chan and I went forward with that, then that’s what it’d mean. This was a problem…
“Oogimachisanjou-sama, let us first consider it. We will then give you a reply. Yes? Sakuya-sama.”
Nice, Azami-chan! You saved me! No matter what answer I gave, it’d make my relationship with someone worse. But if I didn’t clearly refuse Kaya-san here, then returned and discussed with the other six, my relationship wouldn’t worsen with anyone. Refusing someone or saying that you disliked them were both vague terms; if the seven of us didn’t agree, then I could say that I couldn’t invite Kaya-san.
“Well, that is fine. I was not planning to be invited to that outing in the first place.”
Then why’d you say something so bothersome? If Kaya-san, a sixth-grader, was with the seven of us first-graders, then that’d be troublesome. If she didn’t plan to come but still said that anyway, what was she aiming for?
“I am fine with hanging out with just you, Sakuya-chan. I had just thought it was a little mean if you had forgotten to invite me, Sakuya-chan.”
“Is that so…”
No, I didn’t know how serious she was at all. Was she joking? Was she serious? She definitely sounded a little serious, but maybe she was joking?
“Sakuya-chan, please be careful when you play with Oogimachisanjou-sama. If it suits you, please tell me when you are playing with her.”
“Yes. If Saionji-san is not available, you may inform me as well, Sakuya-sama.”
As they said that, sparks started flying from their gazes. What was this… I didn’t want Kaya-san to get serious against first-graders.
“Kaya-san… would it not be better for you, who is a sixth-grader, to respond like an adult?”
“Hehe… Yes… I, the adult here, will withdraw. You are insisting after all, Sakuya-chan.”
“Sakuya-sama… what has happened…?”
Satsuki-chan and Azami-chan made faces like I’d lost, but I hadn’t. It wasn’t that I was on Kaya-san’s side or that she had won. Instead, I, a first-grader, told her that and she finally “responded like an adult”, which was her loss.
But I couldn’t say that when Kaya-san was here, since it might get complicated. I should go along with Kaya-san and stand down. That was the best way to settle this matter.
I gave Satsuki-chan and Azami-chan, who still looked like they’d lost, an explanation. Once they’d heard it, the both of them suddenly looked better. Even though they were mature, they were still kids after all…