Volume 9 the dissociat.., p.17

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi, page 17

 

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi
 


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  I stayed silent.

  Well then, what do I want to say?

  “Just look at wild animals. There are definitely kinds among the rest that seem to love their children, protect them, and raise them. But that doesn’t come from love.”

  Sasaki only moved the bridge of her lips.

  It was a smile with the pretense of being evil.

  It seemed like she wanted me to ask her a question, so I did so.

  “Well then, what does it come from?”

  Sasaki said thus:

  “Instinct,” and from here she made me listen to a one-sided exposition on whether love and emotion were different things, whether they were united, or whether if they were united could they be separated, and when at some point she shifted to a rhetorical analysis on the problem of the difference between whether or not human nature was good or evil, the shadow of a third party fell upon my desk.

  It was Okamoto, a person in the same section as us who had come bringing worksheets about our future plans…

  …

  …

  The bell rang lightly, the hearing of which was the end of my refrain.

  I woke up just when I was able to recall the facial features of Okamoto. I immediately confirmed my current coordinates. This is the classroom of 2-5 in North High. The break time has unconsciously arrived. Haruhi appeared to still be in dreamland. Her soft, rhythmic breathing ringing near my ears.

  Two persons sleeping without getting called up, how rare, in fact nearly a miracle. If it is because we had already been blacklisted by the clear-headed teacher as being hopeless cases…… Hmm…… Haruhi may feel happy, but for someone like me, whose academic results are not exactly desirable, this is not something to be relaxed about.

  After all I came here with the goal of graduating, at least that is what my parents planned.

  Because I stacked my textbooks to be used as a pillow just now, I rubbed my face with my hand, checking if there are any marks left on my face. In this period of time, whatever I had dreamed of just now seemed to have been totally erased from my memory. Huh? Why do I keep feeling I had missed a very important phrase? Although I remember Sasaki appearing, I am unable to recall what exactly is in the conversation.

  I flicked on my temples with my finger, it hurt.

  This is the reality. Whatever happened just now was a dream. While it is easy to say that “This is something to be expected”, but I have to confirm whether the world I am existing in now is the real one occasionally, waking up the negatively stubborn subconscious of mine that kept drifting into past memories.

  Sasaki, Kuyoh and Tachibana Kyoko, although considered real enough, but the side I am standing on is not there, but here. Here being the one of our Brigade leader dozing off behind me now.

  This is a fact to never be, or ever be forgotten.

  If this reality is ever facing destruction, I would change it back to this old self no matter what. This is what I am determined to do.

  Not because I did it because someone told me to, nor was it for anyone, after all I do not wish to be among the ranks of the superheroes or humanitarians, who are of a totally different moral standing than myself. In fact, this is totally for myself.

  I had made this decision long ago, right during Christmas last year.

  During lunch break, Haruhi disappeared from the classroom. I thus joined my tables with Taniguchi and Kunikida, blissfully enjoying my lunch.

  The reason for always mixing with these few friends is not because I find adding more names to my friends logbook difficult. To put it simply, it is because these two are friends that I get along pretty well with. I have not thought of bringing myself further away from them even until now. I hope to pursue this matter with the school, who failed to sort the classes properly. It is also because of this that I decided to remain friends with these two still.

  “Kyon, there is a question I do not know whether I should ask.”

  Kunikida asked while looking at me innocently, carefully removing the skin from his chum salmon (1). Hearing how natural he spoke about it, I immediately replied.

  “What about it?”

  “Did you see Sasaki recently?”

  I nearly swallowed the prune I was chewing on together with its skin.

  “……Why?”

  Did Sudou’s middle school gathering network reach Kunikida by now?

  “Not long ago, I guess it is about the beginning of April.” Kunikida put down his chopsticks. “I participated in the national mock examinations organized by the cram school and met her at the exam hall. But I did not really chat with her, and I don’t know whether she noticed me in the first place.”

  Why did you suddenly remember this? The new school term had started for so long.

  “Because the results of the examinations came out yesterday, you know, those which recorded the rankings. Just when I was looking for my name, I discovered hers first. She was indeed in her own form. Her total scores were much higher than mine.”

  Kunikida started moving his chopsticks again.

  “And so I thought, I have to get a better score than her next time. This is just a temporary target anyway, a pseudo-opponent. I think Sasaki-san’s rankings would not adjust too much, so as long as I get a rank higher than hers, it will be a confirmation of my own abilities. I think Kyon would know which school Sasaki-san aimed to go to, and so I asked.”

  “No idea.”

  This conversation must move on as soon as possible, or else……

  “Oh, I am unable to take it as I did not just hear anything from just now.”

  Taniguchi flashed an evil grin.

  “You talking about Sasaki? The one Kyon was incredibly intimate with during the middle school days, right?”

  You see, this bummer with an incredibly keen sense had already swallowed the bait together with the hook.

  I immediately exercised my right to denial, transforming into a loyal disciple of the passiveness sect, concentrating on finishing my lunchbox. Taniguchi is like a cat prancing at its prey, full of curiosity.

  “How exactly was she as a person?”

  “A very cute girl, and a very clever one at that. You can say that she is strange too if you want to put it that way. Hmm…… I always felt that feeling of strangeness was orchestrated. Yeah, indeed a strange person.”

  Sasaki said you were strange too, how matching.

  “Really? But the symbolism should be different. Sasaki is conscious of her being strange, but when I am pointed out to be strange, I still feel surprised myself. But she understands herself very well. I feel that she is putting herself into a frame that is built on the basis of her understanding of herself, all the time ensuring that she doesn’t exceed the frame.”

  Indeed, from the way she speaks, it does feel so.

  “So I wanted to know if she is like this now. After all Sasaki-san attended a private high school with a high promotion rate isn’t it? Most students there should be guys. I am a little worried, for if she keeps restricting herself within that frame, won’t she feel fatigued?”

  Facing Kunikida, who was not exactly carrying a look of concern, Taniguchi stuffed a piece of cauliflower into his mouth before continuing.

  “This would have exceeded my operating frequency. I’ve had enough of strange women. Suzumiya is like this too. Wait. No, this is totally unrelated to Suzumiya. Tell me, why do I always have no fate with cute girls? But now that I am promoted to second year, perhaps it is better to target the underclassmen. But there are no connections. I must think of a way to solve this problem before the summer break comes along.”

  Facing Taniguchi, who started talking like a rapid-firing machine gun for no reason, the most I can offer him is “Just do whatever you want”. Upon remembering that I had just met Sasaki yesterday for a gathering with three other abnormal crows, I lost my appetite. This connection between Kunikida and Sasaki is no doubt a coincidence, but hearing the mention of her name at such a convenient time makes one have the “This may b
e some kind of premonition” kind of unscientific thoughts. Just like a reminder to “Not forget this point” while I am summarizing a story, it has a very unnatural and otherworldly feel to it.

  Is it a warning? Looking at yesterday’s situation, let’s not talk about Sasaki first, Fujiwara and Tachibana Kyoko did not show any signs of threat or pressure. Kuyoh too. Although she always gives off a very strange vibe, we have Nagato, and now even Kimidori-san was sent to the shop. That is why I can relax somewhat and treat the entire issue as if it is no big matter.

  Thinking about it clearly, the SOS Brigade would be united no matter what. But, it does not apply to their side. Looking at the state of things, they do not have an esper as strong as Koizumi while having a more self-centered time traveler than Asahina-san (big), as well as an alien that seems to know none of the etiquette on Earth…… the connection between the trio is just so weak. And they wanted to raise Sasaki to the status of god, but Sasaki herself refused to agree.

  If they wanted to defeat the unbeatable Haruhi on our side, the cast still seems a bit lacking. They should have found more people. The current state is literally neutral. What exactly are they thinking? If they expected a person of the caliber of Tachibana Kyoko to be able to move me, they have really underestimated me.

  Just like the headache you get in the morning from sleeping enough but too much, I endured with the uncomfortable feeling as I continued finishing my lunch box.

  Taniguchi’s conversation had already turned to the number of first-year girls that are of AAA grade and above, but that had already exceeded my scope of interest. She would not be one of those who would want to enter the SOS Brigade anyway.

  After all, Suzumiya Haruhi and the SOS Brigade’s heroic deeds had long reached the ears of the neighboring commoners. This is what I heard from Sasaki as well.

  After dismissal that day, Haruhi and I stood up right after Obake-sensei stepped off the teachers’ podium and left the classroom immediately.

  I originally thought that we would be heading to the clubroom as usual, but……

  “Kyon, you go ahead. I have some place I have to visit.”

  Haruhi threw her schoolbag at me, walking at a pace faster than a Frisbee being thrown out and disappeared quickly.

  Could it be that she had sharper eyes than Taniguchi and discovered an AAA grade first year before him and is now running off to kidnap that person? Even if it is so, it cannot be helped. We can only follow her wishes. I had long cultivated such an attitude.

  Thus, I decided to proceed to the clubroom at a leisurely pace.

  Those first years who joined the sports clubs should have begun their practices by now. One can also see the ex-third years in their level shirt. You can even meet them along the walkways, quite a refreshing feeling. Although “refreshing” is such a cliché word to use, but there are no other expressions to describe this situation.

  If anyone wants to join the Literature Club, Nagato can also finally display her airs as a senior, that isn’t too bad. But again, she is after all an alien humanoid interface that has to read over three hundred Earth books per year. Even if she had juniors, it is difficult to imagine that they feel happy talking to Nagato with her transparent protective layer. But compared to looking for a book you want to read alone, it is still better to have a buddy to exchange books with. One can then exchange their newly-bought books with the other and would be much more convenient. After all I do not have the ability to critique or discuss the contents of the book after finishing it, so even though I borrowed books from her before, I had never lent her any. I might as well find some day to give her a library card as a gift or something.

  The me who had arrived in front of the clubroom would never forget to knock on the door first to confirm that there is nobody inside. This time round, there is no response. I immediately opened the door and found it empty. I am actually the first, how rare.

  I threw my schoolbag on the table and sat on the foldable chair. When I felt a sense of boredom, I started wondering why am I feeling this way before suddenly realising.

  Oh, it is because the one who is always here no matter what and making one think she stays here permanently, Nagato, is nowhere in sight.

  But she could have been late because her cleaning duty delayed her. Or maybe she went to help the Computer Research Society.

  While waiting for the other four, I picked up the hardcover book left on the table, seemingly belonging to Nagato, and took a glance at one of the pages. Looks like it is a story about an installation eternally seeking a place it belongs to.

  * * *

  α-6

  After remaining frozen for a few seconds, Haruhi immediately issued orders to chase everyone except Asahina-san and Nagato out of the clubroom. The reason is really simple……

  “Mikuru, just change first. Of course the waitress one. The cheongsam, I hate to admit, I do not think it suits you. What a waste. Never mind, I will prepare it for you in the future, just bear with it for a while.”

  “Eh? Change right now?”

  Asahina-san gingerly held onto the two shoulders of her sailor uniform, looking at the first year boys and girls walking out of the room obediently.

  “Kyaa~”

  And she raised her head up like a small parrot. Haruhi immediately pointed her finger at her.

  “Mikuru, what are you of the SOS Brigade? I think you should have known it by now. Let me confirm it, tell me who are you again.”

  “Kyaa~ That, I am……? Eh? What am I……?”

  Compared to the unconfident Asahina-san who kept her head raised to face Haruhi, this leader of ours, with confidence exceeding that of the founder of a new religion and is so proud that it is criminal, pointed her finger at the little animal-lookalike third year while continuing in a high pitch.

  “The mascot, mascot! Mikuru must have a radically different role. Of course it isn’t just limited to this, but the bottom line is still that. If basics like this are not defined it will affect the structures above. So this is how it will go for this impromptu admission exercise. Being a symbol that is easily understood, you have to remain a waitress here. Or else the new members may be confused. First impressions are the most important. Uh huh, I can hire a bodyguard for you. Since Mikuru is gifted with such talents, you should have more confidence and present yourself as a waitress well. Understand?”

  Haruhi revealed a scheming grin that is easily understood.

  “Do not let them leave later. I will be giving the opening speech on behalf of the SOS Brigade. If anyone dares to attempt escaping, do not feel sorry for them. Just inject general anaesthetic and tie them up.”

  Saying that, she closed the door.

  From the inside of the partition-converted wall, one could hear the sound of shirts rubbing against the skin and various “Kyaa~ Suzumiya-san…… Very itchy…… wahaha……” calls. Other than listening to these extremely arousing calls that are mixed with tears and laughter, Koizumi and I are unable to find other things to do and could only turn around and stare at the first years standing at the walkway.

  They should have used this chance to escape, but these ten odd first years’ eyes are shining with curiosity and anticipation, waiting here, following Haruhi’s instructions. I counted eleven people, seven males and four females. Looking at how new the shirts with green stripes that they are donning, it proved that they had been high school students for hardly a month.

  Should I say something to them first? Just take it as a senior giving them some words of advice or something.

  I took a glance at Koizumi. This purely symbolic “Assistant leader” handsome lad, continued giving his usual relaxed smile. From his bright eyes and relaxed expression, it seems none of this people are part of Koizumi’s group. That is to say, this is a scene that can be seen at any club activity in any school: applicants taking a tour of the clubroom. However, the SOS Brigade is not an organization that is recognized by the school authorities, and would never engage in any normal club ac
tivities. Does this gang of people know that?

  “They should have came only after they knew.”

  Koizumi told me softly by my ear.

  “From my scope of knowledge, every teenager here has no other intentions. Very clearly, all of them are genuinely looking forward to being a member of the SOS Brigade. At least there are no espers, aliens or time travelers in this group.”

  Since you are so sure about it, I guess it must have its proof. Now that Tachibana Kyoko, the time traveler dude and Suou Kuyoh and whatever else has appeared, even if that gang decided to sneak a few of their comrades into North High’s SOS Brigade, it is nothing surprising.

  “I had already checked the background of all these newcomers.”

  Koizumi mentioned it calmly.

  “It is even more impossible for them to be from Tachibana Kyoko’s side. After all the ‘Organization’ had already been monitoring them closely. Also, if someone with similar fixtures to Kuyoh-san appears, I am sure Nagato-san would not remain passive. If a time traveler snuck in, that would be even better, for we can get hold of that guy and question their intentions. So it is quite a waste that none of those gathered here could possibly be a time traveler.”

  Koizumi maintained his jovial look and smile, sweeping a glance across the ten odd newcomers.

  “No problematic character currently exists, if we were to talk about any remaining problems……”

  Going even lower in volume, I guess I am the only one who can hear it now.

  “…… it would only be with the students Haruhi accepted as members. For she definitely would not accept everyone as a member, so the problem lies with who will she choose and how would she go about it. It would be great if even one person is left. Although to those first years who really hoped to join us in our fun, them being mere mortals, I guess that is quite pitiful.”

  If there are anybody who is trying to send themselves to the lion’s mouth now, I would of course stop them due to humanitarian reasons. But if it is too late, don’t blame me.

 
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