Author: Inaida Sou
Translator: Kei of ChocoCats
○ 331 DAYS AGO
Summer vacation has passed so quickly that the new semester has finally begun. I and other students are in the gymnasium while the principal greets the opening ceremony on the stage. But no one is listening, a student standing behind me is copying someone’s homework, and in the next class row, a student who travelled abroad handed out souvenirs.
The principal was asking if anyone remembers what he said before the summer vacation, but probably no one remembers it.
While as for me, I’m currently telling my friend Yukari what I did to my brother during summer vacation.
I thought she would enjoy the story, but when she heard about my domino’s construction, she turned pale.
“Mai-chan… do you hate your brother?”
Yukari’s curly hair shook as she tilted her head. Her white skin and lovely face make her look like a doll.
“No. I want to please my brother.”
“What, he’ll misunderstand you… It obviously looks like you are disturbing him by putting dominoes all over his room.”
“It’s okay. It’s not domino every day. I’ve devised so that my brother won’t get bored. I also did mokugyo (*wooden fish bell) and bungee.” (*see T/N at end of the post)
After my parents banned me from going out, I still continued to provide surprises during the last week of summer vacation. On the first day, I made a domino using the whole house stuff, and on the next day, I made a maze with cardboard. On the third day, I dug a big hole. I thought I’d dig a pitfall, but no matter how perfect I made it, it’s still dangerous. That’s why I make the appearance obvious.
“It’s not an answer… And the mokugyo, is the one Yukari’s father always uses, isn’t it? Isn’t it very noisy…? By the way, she remember that father said Mai-chan came to our place, don’t tell me…” (Yukari)
“Yup! I was given the old one!”
Yukari’s house is a temple, and her father is a monk. I want to surprise my brother by suddenly making the sound of a mokugyo at home. So, I sneaked out of the house, went to Yukari-chan’s house, and borrowed a mokugyo. Then he gave me an old mokugyo, so I bundled three sticks to make the sound louder than usual and rang them in my brother’s room.
“Doesn’t it bother your neighbourhood? Didn’t your mother scold you?”
“That’s okay! I made perfect soundproofing.”
“Then, what is bungee…?”
On the fifth day, I made a bungee jump from the balcony on the second floor toward my brother in the garden. I’ve calculated it to make sure that I won’t hit my brother. And, although it may sound impossible, I have properly determined the position where my brother will be, and I will not collide even if he comes in for help.
Then, after receiving my brother’s attention, I pretended to return to my room and went down to the first floor. I paint my face with a colourful pen and climbed the house’s pipe towards the second-floor balcony where my brother was.
“Well, bungee is a bungee. And because of that, I spent my last day of summer vacation helping my mom all day…”
“So yesterday, your parents finally get angry… If it was Yukari’s brother, my hair will be cut bald…”
Yesterday, the seventh day, my parents found out about everything I did. I promised I wouldn’t do it anymore, but all I wouldn’t do was dominoes, mazes, bungee, mokugyo, face painting, and climbing pipe. I can still do other things.
“Oh, it’s my brother.”
After the principal’s long speech, it was the student council president’s turn. Although he is a psychopath, my excellent and friendly brother has been chosen as student representative based on majority votes at the student council election.
“My name is Kurobe Makoto, and I’m the student council president.”
As my brother stood in front of the microphone in the same place where the principal was standing, everyone who wasn’t listening to the principal before starts to turn their attention to my brother. Even the student who was doing his homework in rush also raised his face even though he wouldn’t make it in time if he didn’t move his hands.
“The summer vacation in August has ended, and it’s already September. Straight to the topic, there is an announcement from the student council. At the beginning of October, there is a yearly reading session at the kindergarten. Students who want to participate please register to the student council committees or attend today’s after-school meeting.”
In this school, the student committees are obliged to join every volunteer activity. Since not everyone wants to do it, so the school only made students who are enthusiastic enough to be committee members. My brother, who has been on the student council since last year, often left home to volunteer.
“Then, Mai-chan will also participate in this year’s reading session?”
I’ve never dreamed that my brother was a psychopath, so I joined the student council while saying, “I want to do it together with Onii-chan!” And that’s how I got the position as vice president. Even though I plan to use the time after school to prepare next surprises, but seems in September, I will be busy with reading session preparation.
“But I don’t want to stay after school for reading sessions…”
“Yukari can help with illustrations, but to read out loud, that’s impossible for me…” (Yukari used 3rd person, I think it’s cute so I will keep it as it is)
“Then, can I call you if I have to draw something, Yukari-chan?”
Yukari laughed at my question while saying, “of course.” A good friend is such a blessing. Thank you, Yukari-chan. While feeling grateful, my brother eventually finished his explanation and returned to his class row.
Even though the introduction of the intern teachers has started in turn, everyone around me started to spend their time freely. The student who had been staring at my brother until a while ago has resumed copying his homework. After all, my brother’s charisma is terrifying. He has excellent grades and can interact with anyone without any distinction. I think there are many things that I yearn for my brother.
In the manga, when he is in the first year of high school, he caused a tragedy, kills people, and died. But if he lives without causing any tragedy, he actually may become a great person. While imagining my brother’s future vaguely, the opening ceremony has ended.
In the end, my prediction was right. The reading schedule paper distributed at the student council meeting stated that they would meet three times a week after school for reading session practice.
While listening to the explanation of my brother standing in front of me, I try to not let out any disappointed voice. On the side of the classroom, next to Mibuchi-sensei, an adviser of the student council, there was a teacher named Nojima. She was introduced at the opening ceremony. Mibuchi-sensei is an old teacher who is called grandpa by everyone, and Nojima-sensei who came as an intern is a youthful woman.
When I was looking at the two-contrasting people, I was struck by a mechanical pencil from the side. Looking back, Iwai, who is the student council’s treasurer from the next class, looked suspiciously at me.
“What happened to you today? Are you a doppelganger or something?”
“Aren’t you always crazy about your brother? You look so listless today.”
As I heard Iwai’s words, I unconsciously nod. Certainly, I was so crazy for my brother until before summer vacation. I was following “Onii-chan” both on-school and off-school. But the days of longing for my brother are now over.
if I follow him around like before, I’ll end up at the funeral in such a terrible state as if my body was put in a blender. From now on, it’s time to keep a proper distance and provide surprises instead of amiability.
“It’s all because of summer.”
“You there, I’m explaining now, so please be quiet.”
My brother immediately warned me. I feel angry with Iwai. What if this puts stress on my brother and me getting into the mixer earlier than planned? When I protested to Iwai with my eyes, he looks sorry. When I regained my composure and listened to my brother’s explanation, Nojima-sensei, who stood on the wall on the side of the class, raised her hand while saying, “a moment please”.
“I’ve been thinking, why don’t you do something a little different this year? It’s boring if it’s always the same every year. I think it’s better to try something new someday.”
“I can’t think of it for a moment, but you see, isn’t this something that everyone can decide by exchanging opinions? There is still plenty of time, right?” (Oh, I hate this kind of person personally lol)
“I see.” My brother gave a short reply to Nojima-sensei’s words and turn his face to the students.
“Every year we only read aloud, so this time we are going to try something new. Anyone has ideas?”
After thinking about the troubling question from my brother, everyone starts to raise their hands. After hearing opinions like “drama-like reading” and “adding sound effects”, Nojima-sensei’s face becomes cloudy.
“Isn’t it too ordinary?”
“Then, what should we do…?”
“More like making everyone surprised? Is there something exciting?”
Then, opinions begin to appear again. But Nojima-sensei doesn’t look satisfied with that.
“Let’s get more motivated! If we all think about it together, we should come up with some good ideas!”
Nojima-sensei’s words made everyone, including my brother, feel frustrated. I also feel a little annoyed by her. My brother turned around to me with a face as if thinking ‘just complaining without giving any suggestions, what does she want from us?’ (I gotta say this Mai really knows her bro from inside out lol)
“Mai, do you have any suggestions?”
Suddenly, the topic turned, and I stand up with too much momentum in shock. My brother wasn’t surprised and was looking at me with an expectation.
For the last two weeks of the end of the summer vacation, I have provided many surprises such as diving into the pond, dominoes, and mazes. So, I may seem like a ray of hope. Or maybe because I’ve done strange things, so at these times, my creativity can be useful.
“Ma-maybe, trick art?”
When I said so in distress, Nojima-sensei’s face brightened while saying, “that sounds good”. When I looked at Mibuchi-sensei anxiously, he just smiles softly. My brother nodded and said, “then, let’s do that.”
“Then, let’s start the preparation from now on. That’s it for toda–”
“Wait a minute!”
Nojima-sensei interrupts my brother’s words and with a smile, “let’s make a good reading that everyone has never seen.”
Is it really necessary to interrupt the speech? All the committees of the student council seem to be wondering and somehow there is an awkward silence. In the end, everyone is disbanded with an indescribable feeling.
After the setting sun has set and the orange light has gradually weakened, I’m going home with my brother holding my upper arm. We are going home together because the serial killer in the neighbourhood hasn’t been caught, but my brother grabs my arm while walking, is to make sure I don’t jump into the pond. In short, it’s an escort.
After the family meeting, my mother seems often asked my brother to watch over me. But my brother has no sign of watching me. He basically left me alone and didn’t even tell mom if I’m messing around or doing carpentry with a hammer in the room. He’s not being careful.
But that doesn’t mean my brother doesn’t watch me at all. When our parents are around, he will reluctantly monitor me. So, he watches only when there are our parents around and won’t watch when our parents are not around.
If you think normally, it should be done oppositely. But for my brother, it’s maybe because he thinks our parents are nosy. I’m sure today if I jump into the pond and got my clothes wet, our parents will doubt his surveillance ability.
Looking back on what happened at the reading meeting today, I called out to my brother.
“It was hard today, Onii-chan.”
“…You mean, Nojima-sensei?”
“Yes. I can’t get along with that teacher.”
“Well, isn’t everyone like that? No student goes well with that kind of teacher, right?”
My brother seems to be annoyed too. If he had awaked as a psychopath… who witnessed the cat being run over after winter. Nojima-sensei might be the first person to be found dead on the next day. As I walked through the park as usual on the road surrounding the pond, I noticed something and pulled my brother’s hand back.
“Onii-chan, I think we shouldn’t take shortcuts in the dark.”
“Because it’s already dark?”
When I passed here during the summer vacation, there were people in the park and the sky was bright, so it was fine. But now it’s pitch black, and the outdoor lights installed at regular intervals just illuminate us unreliably. The shadows of the trees are black, and the outlines of the leaves are vague.
“But what if we suddenly get stabbed in the dark? Because the criminal hasn’t been caught yet.”
“Didn’t sometimes people suddenly get stabbed because they changed route?”
My brother suddenly laughs while he teases me. Perhaps, the reason why his sense of crisis is so weak, is because my brother is the real culprit?
However, as far as I know from the news, it was said as an impulsive crime… And there are quite a few witnesses, so I think it’s a different person…
“Then, if I get killed, I’ll blame you, Onii-chan.”
My brother’s laughter still sounds like he’s really having fun. I hope what he found fun from the bottom of his heart changed, other than murder, if possible. For example, alternating killing intent into cutting tuna. It’s delicious too.
As usual, my brother holds my arm and escorted me home.
*Mokugyo or wooden fish bell— is a wooden percussion instrument used by monks in the shape of fish. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts.
T/N: I’m really sorry for the late post. I said last week I will post on Sunday at 12pm, yet I didn’t keep my promise. I will try to do it faster next week. Rest assured, I will not drop this novel.
Sorry again and hope you enjoy. See you next week!