Volume 9 the dissociat.., p.18

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi, page 18

 

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi
 


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  I took a glance to my sides, noticing that these nearly-a-dozen first years are really nothing special in terms of physical appearance. The reason for them looking a bit childish is probably because they are still middle school students just last month. There are people trying to hide their laughter, as well as pairs of girls talking and giggling among themselves. Don’t know why, I felt that the stares from the girls seemed to be grading Koizumi and myself. Is this my inferiority complex causing a hallucination here?

  Just when I am silently staring……

  “Okay, sorry to keep everyone waiting!”

  “All of you can come in now. Also, Kyon, because there are not enough chairs, go borrow some from other places. There should be some at the Computer Research Society or other clubrooms.”

  Seems she wanted to order me around like an odd-jobs worker.

  “What do you mean? Don’t just stand there, go now! The first years on that side, please come in! It is alright! Quick, come in now!”

  Haruhi started making some agile and abstract signals.

  “I will go help too. If there is a need to carry over ten chairs, I am afraid he cannot finish it in a single trip.”

  Koizumi moved his back away from the wall he is lying on, I can only helplessly nod at Haruhi while sweeping across the classroom quickly with my eyeballs.

  Asahina-san in her waitress costume is standing beside the table, maybe it is due to the sudden change in the ratio of boys and girls in the clubroom, she became really shy and her face turned red like a lady from a wealthy family seeing the world for the first time, huddling her shoulders close together. On the other hand, Nagato did not change her posture at all.

  Koizumi and I knocked on the numerous doors all over the clubroom block, finally gathering enough to have a chair for each person. After returning, we saw the first years had lined up in a row like in troop inspections.

  Haruhi was at the leader’s seat with her chest puffed up, Nagato in her usual permanent spot while Asahina-san, stoned in a corner, unsure of how to proceed. Upon seeing my face, she revealed an expression of some relief. The clubroom that usually has a low population density now holds over three times the usual amount of people, so it felt rather unnatural looking at that. Guess even people other than Asahina-san will feel threatened.

  Koizumi and I placed the foldable chairs along the perimeter of the table. Just when I wanted to address the first years for a bit……

  “All of you please take a seat.”

  The Brigade leader snatched away the opportunity to do so.

  The ten odd first years slowly settled down after the usual formalities of offering seats to each other. Koizumi moved his chair to the side of the wall and sat on it, carrying an expression of the chief presiding examiner’s assistant. Just when I wanted to take a seat as well, I discovered that there are no chairs available for myself.

  “Huh?”

  The foldable chairs originally available in the clubroom are enough for all members and a visitor. With the additional ten chairs borrowed, there should be just enough for the first year applicants as well as ourselves. Why are there not enough? I did a head count again.

  The total number of first years present are…… Twelve? Did I count wrongly? There are eleven when I counted at the walkway just now, seven males and…… five females. I observed intently, but still failed to identify who did I miss out just now. It felt that everyone was here and it would be impossible for me to know who exactly did I leave out anyway. One thing that can be confirmed would be that I have a poor photographic memory.

  It can’t be helped, I can only stand here. At this moment, Asahina-san started panicking again.

  “Ah, ah…… there are not enough tea cups, That…… I still want to make tea…… how……”

  While it is not impossible to go steal some Styrofoam cups from the cafeteria, but making tea for those first year applicants, is it reasonable? Just when I wanted to ponder about the question……

  “There are some paper cups in the shelves. Just use those.”

  Haruhi made a conclusion. Asahina-san hurriedly took out the air sealed pack of paper cups, before anxiously continuing.

  “Kyaa~! Sorry, there is not enough water, have to get some……”

  “Kyon. Water. Use the highest temperature one.”

  Receiving the edict from Lord Haruhi, I can only force some expression of unhappiness, both hands holding onto the kettle and running off.

  When I ran back, panting, the only welcoming factor is the expression of Asahina-san, apologetic yet so cute that it makes one happy at the same time. “Thank you, Kyon.”. This is enough.

  Not knowing when it began, the first years that could now be described as “dozen” in quantity kept their attention focused on Asahina-san in her waitress costume, putting the kettle onto the cooker.

  Haruhi proudly continued.

  “Our brigade has an exceptional courier and waitress, you can look all over the country, but the only club that have cute waitresses making tea for free is us.”

  “Ah, Eh, Yes……” Asahina-san shyly replied.

  “Oh……” The first years responded.

  Are you all idiots? This is not something to be proud about. This is not where curious people should come.

  “And” Haruhi acted all high and mighty and said with a bright smile “Mikuru’s tea-brewing skills are forever innovating, the tea in the last meeting tasted somewhat weird, it is really interesting, and I like the name a lot too.”

  “Ah hah, That…… Yes, that is my new creation. Very good.” Asahina-san started to lose herself like a loyal dog being praised by its owner.

  “Oh……” The first years responded again.

  I think you all had better stop “Oh”-ing. This is the time to turn back and run away. Because that whatever tea had a medicinal taste to it. How do I put it…… although it is improved by Asahina-san’s image, it is still something that is really difficult to have a high score. Other than Haruhi who has a habit of finishing the tea in one gulp, it is not to be recommended to anybody else. It can even be used as a dare.

  When Asahina-san was happily preparing tea, Nagato continued sitting in her corner to read her book, ignoring everything happening around her. Koizumi had totally turned into an inspector. I can only stand beside the door like the Door God (3) while listening to Haruhi’s speech.

  “Alright everybody. You all indeed possess the will to join the SOS Brigade. Although the student council’s continual disturbance prevented us from advertising on a major scale, I had known right along that willed first years would definitely appear. Indeed, the most important factor is to come here voluntarily. Seriously speaking, I had surveyed the first year classrooms for a few times, but everytime I went, I did not see any difference between all the first years. But from now on, you people are now better than those first years that are not present here. Regarding this point you can have full confidence in me. But, just this is not enough. The reason for the existence of my Brigade is totally different from those cultural clubs you see everywhere else, and thus there must be a clear line drawn in the members recruited. I guess you people must have understood the history of the SOS Brigade well before coming here right?”

  I guess it must be quite a headache to be experiencing such a questioning method. After all a question like this isn’t very clear in the first place.

  “Do you all have anything to ask?” Haruhi concluded.

  I guess it could be described as unexpected, for among the first years’, a burly-sized guy with short hair raised his hand.

  “I have a question.”

  “Tell me about it.”

  “I am actually not too about sure what the club does. I only found it interesting, and so I came. Because since middle school I had heard a strange club existed here. Once I came to North High, upon discovering that it really does exist, I curiously popped by. Although my intentions are a bit strange, but is it okay even if it is so?”

  Ha
ruhi immediately stood up, giving a magnanimous smile at the guy while walking closer to him.

  “Alright, you can go now.”

  “Huh?”

  She grabbed the collar of the guy’s shirt, dragging him away with the power of a mini hoist crane, opening the door and walking into the corridor before finally letting him go.

  “What a waste, you failed right at the first stage of the Brigade entrance examinations. It must have been hard on you, please polish up your skills before coming by again.”

  She locked the poor guy out of the room before turning back.

  “You all should never underestimate me. Me, as the leader of the SOS Brigade, carries the responsibility of saving the world by overloading it with fun. It is not an exaggeration even if I said that I had never thought of anything else other than that. So even when it comes to recruiting new members, I have no plans to make any concessions. Such problems left unsolved will gradually become bigger and cause decay.”

  The ones frozen are not limited to Asahina-san, but includes all first years and myself as well. Since when did the Brigade entrance examinations begin? These first years are really unlucky, they have not even tasted the tea made by Asahina-san yet, even though in paper cups, but they will be deported already.

  “I will make it clear first, I am very strict when it comes to humor. First, vulgar topics and any acts of imitations are strictly rejected. Those who do extreme stuff to make people laugh are not to pass. They are to win by conversations only. I think the original theory for people laughing is……”

  Why must we have a debate about laughter right now?

  “Haruhi.”

  Because members below the assistant leader are not useful at all, I shall speak instead.

  “What exactly is happening now? Isn’t the person from just now too innocent? What exactly are these so-called Brigade entrance examinations? Is the person deported once they say something you do not like to hear?”

  “I am not so high and mighty. I wanted to hear them saying that are more productive and with more gusto. Answering questions is something that is really simple, all you have to do is to use your brain and match the level. The factor that will gauge the standard would be by asking questions.”

  “So what you are trying to say is, the person from just now”, I pointed in the direction of the door and continued “Questions like those are of too low a standard?”

  “To put it honestly, that is true.”

  Haruhi returned to the leader’s seat as if nothing has happened, faking a smile of a gentle female senior and sweeped through the first years that is now lacking one person, and said.

  “So, any other questions?”

  Needless to say, nobody opened their mouths again.

  Maybe because they had cowered under the threat, when Asahina-san handed the tea to the various first years, the first years sat down quietly, remaining totally silent.

  The only person speaking is Haruhi herself, she is just like a storyteller narrating the chronicles of Shinshaku Sanada Jyuu Yuushi (4), detailing the events that happened since the inception of the SOS Brigade. Because the contents are partly exaggerated, one does not have to trust it totally.

  Because a person left, I dragged the vacated chair over and sat down beside Koizumi. The passive assistant leader seemed to be smiling at the grand total of eleven (is it really eleven?) first years, appraising them. I might as well do the same. After all Haruhi seemed to find no need for any self introduction and did not ask for any of their names, neither their birthday nor class. Just when I wanted to give them a nickname each according to their physical appearances, my line of sight fell very naturally on a particular person.

  Let me clarify first. I meant no harm or designs. She is a girl.

  Among all of the first years listening to Haruhi’s one-man show, the girl seemed to be the only one who showed any sign of interest.

  Hearing the repeated homeruns at the baseball match, she let out a low cheer; hearing the lone island killer mystery, she covered her mouth in shock, before regaining her smile after knowing the truth; hearing the exaggerated showdown against the Computer Research Society, she nodded her head repeatedly; hearing about Sakanaka-san’s pet’s incident, she again let out a small smile.

  What a pure and innocent first year.

  Calculating from the heights of their head, she seemed to be about the same height as Nagato. As for weight, she should be lighter than her. The hair seemed like it had been dried with a hairdryer after a perm, curling up like a smiley face at the ends. This can be taken as a unique feature. I don’t know if it is because the uniform is not too fitting, the uniform seemed rather loose when taking a closer look.

  The more I look at her, the more I feel subconsciously that I had seen this girl somewhere before. But, I am confident of never seeing her before at the same time. Not only those a year younger than me, but it doesn’t even seem to be the case even when all the girls I had met since the past are included. In my mind, no matter how I tried to lengthen, shorten or straighten the hair, I still have no recollection of any kind. Could it be that she is the sister of one of my friends and thus looking a bit alike her brother? But I do not seem to know such a brother either. This mystery felt as bad as choking on spicy tofu.

  I guess my gaze must not have been too polite, but the girl did not seem to notice, intently concentrating on listening to that one-man show. Her expressions kept changing, and looking at them is really interesting. That is a listener type of girl who would trust any lies, allowing the speaker to feel excited and satisfied.

  “……This should be all. Our SOS Brigade thwarted the evil plan of the student council president, allowing the Literature Club to continue to exist. But they must be like those villains in the superhero shows, never learning their lessons, instead extend their dirty claws onto us, but those who will lose eventually are still them. SOS Brigade and I would never fall halfway, it has always been this way till now. And, indeed, this will not change in the future either!”

  And that seemed to be the concluding sentence. Haruhi raised one of her hands and stopped for quite a while.

  Just when I thought of carrying the cup of tea that has turned cold by now to another corner while some sightseeing, Haruhi started giving me weird eye signals, even winking at me once in a while later on. With her jaws opening and closing like that, what exactly is she trying to hint at?

  Just when I am painstakingly thinking of a way to reply to Haruhi’s signals, a tiny clapping sound entered my ears. Those clapping sounds from those palms that could be described as “small” are not very loud, and the owner of the palms is the first year girl I noticed just now.

  Under that girl’s lead, the rest of the first years suddenly realized and immediately started clapping as well, Asahina-san who was looking left and right also frantically started clapping.

  Haruhi nodded her head, seemingly satisfied, at the same time giving me a look of guilt. This can only be blamed on you for not planning it properly in the first place, things like this must be told before the event.

  Haruhi whizzed her hand up to stop the clapping.

  “You all should have remembered the summary of the history of the SOS Brigade. I planned to get right into the second stage of the Brigade entrance examinations, but thinking that you people need some time to prepare as well, so the activities for today ends here. Those with guts, please come again tomorrow!”

  At this moment, I noticed the armband on Haruhi’s hand no longer read “leader” but “examiner”.

  “Alright, dismissed!”

  After the first years left in quick paces, Haruhi turned on the computer while humming away, telling the outside world she is in a good mood while clicking around with the mouse.

  Because Koizumi and I first split up to return the foldable chairs, when I came back and tried to talk to Haruhi, the computer had already booted up.

  “What exactly are you planning to do?”

  I asked the brain ben
eath the hairband of Haruhi, rhythmically moving to her movements while opening the usual foldable chair with my symbol on it.

  Haruhi who skimmed me a glance gave me an expression of happiness, how irritating.

  “Now that those first years who wanted to join the Brigade had gathered so much courage to come here, but none of your actions will entice them to join us. I think they may not come again.”

  “Maybe.”

  Haruhi continued touch typing quickly while saying the following.

  “If the end result is that, I do not really mind. If they gave up just because of this, I do not want them to join us either. I only hoped to find some people with zeal, but just zeal is not enough, that first year have to pass all my Brigade entrance examinations as well. The obstacle course is not only long, but the obstacles are of a high level as well. After all the SOS Brigade of ours is not desperate enough to recruit those who came here to watch the show.”

  Actually the reason for existence of this organization in the school is near to zero, and did not lack any members all along. Even if we look from the perspective of the student council, they do not want to see first years being sacrificed like an offering to the gods. And I am determined to prevent any situation when we increase the population density of this room exponentially. After all Asahina-san’s tea is not infinite. Preparing enough cups and water is already quite a time-wasting matter.

  “Do you really plan to recruit new members?”

  I looked at Haruhi, who is taking a whiff of Asahina-san’s newly made tea.

  “Nagato, Asahina-san, and Koizumi too, were all forced into the Brigade by you. So I am wondering if you spotted any first years that just entered this school that would ignite your fetish for kidnapping?”

  Break time walks should still be continuing at this moment of time, after all she seldom stays in class.

  “Totally none.”

  Haruhi said with a concluding tone.

  “At least I haven’t spotted anyone who could be a mascot. But I suppose there should at least be some people with other special characteristics, and are those that I have never imagined. The kind that would give you a surprise. Not those you can see everywhere, but those with a super unique character traits! Also, if all of them are those commoners, won’t it be too uninteresting? If all of them are just moving towards a particular direction, wont it be too repetitive? Librarians wearing spectacles are introvert and quiet, short haired and active girl joining a sports club and things like that, it is just too boring.”

 
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