“Flowers drenched in the rain are truly charming and fascinating. It really gives off a vibrant array of emotions.”
Hikaru spoke from Koremitsu’s side, his voice gentle.
If that sighing voice was to have an aroma, its elegant fragrance would spread through the humid air of that rainy day.
“The pale blue flowers carry such sweet dew, and the Commelina Grass works so hard to prevent them from falling; the Iris continues to look regal as its delicate body stands proudly; the Hydrangea dressed in water crystals looks so pure and dainty as it gives off a rainbow-colored light—these flowers look exceedingly alluring throughout the rainy season.”
The rainy season had come early; dark clouds loomed above even in the late of May.
Koremitsu walked to school on the pavement that morning.
He carried a dull, dark blue umbrella, and strode forward with an arched back. Hikaru floated at his side without an umbrella.
The school uniform was composed of a white blazer and slacks. This opulent and slick design contrasted starkly with Koremitsu’s gruff personality. It gave the appearance of a fine haute couture when worn on Hikaru.
“Koremitsu, don’t you find flowers and girls to be more mysterious and alluring on rainy days? Whether it’s their tender lips under the umbrella or their delicate neck, white limbs and exquisite hips, those are all so enchanting. The blouses of the uniform drenched by the rain are transparent, showing the lines of their underwear, making hearts race. The fragrance of shampoo from their drenched hair is also worth marveling at, and causes one to inadvertently close his eyes to enjoy, you know?”
“…Not at all.”
Koremitsu retorted with a bitter tone.
“Why would you smell a girl’s hair without a good reason? Are you a pervert?”
Being thought an oddball by his fellow students for talking to himself was an ever-present worry for Koremitsu, so he had refrained from answering Hikaru; however, he could not stop himself from retorting to Hikaru’s prattling of the relations between flowers and girls on rainy days.
“You pervert, harem prince, flower idiot, hook-up devil, self-indulging guy, perverted delusional dreamer, big liar, con artist.”
Even as Koremitsu scolded Hikaru, he attempted to keep his voice low enough to avoid being heard by others on their commute to school.
Hikaru complained with a pained expression,
“That hurts, Koremitsu! Why are you so unhappy?”
You’re asking me why I’m so unhappy?
Koremitsu glared at Hikaru; his eyes were sharp enough to terrify other students, even without glaring.
“Do you need me to tell you why, you lying ghost!?”
Right, Hikaru Mikado was a ghost.
This was why he could go about with no umbrella on rainy days and not be affected.
His shirt was invariably dry and clean, and his blazer constantly a sparkling white; his light brown hair swayed smoothly across his petite, feminine face.
The death of Hikaru, the boy heralded by the school’s students as a Prince, occurred a month ago.
Koremitsu had attended his funeral.
That was a mistake.
It was at that funeral where he found himself haunted by Hikaru’s lingering presence, his ghost.
“I promised the girl I’m engaged to that I’ll give her birthday presents. If I can fulfill this wish, I can ascend to Heaven without regrets. Please help me!”
This request troubled Koremitsu as it implied that he would be accompanied by Hikaru constantly; he would be followed to the bath and the latrine, and so, he reluctantly agreed. Although the mission was troublesome and immensely irritating, he completed it as a proxy.
However, Hikaru still lingered.
He had even continued to say frivolously,
“Actually, there are still another 4 or 5 girls that I’m very concerned about. No, maybe 40, 50 of them?”
Koremitsu had never agreed to aid him with this.
Isn’t 40 or 50 of them too many!? Do you really like to make so many promises with women!? To people other than Aoi!? You harem prince! Casanova! Go die a hundred times over!!!
The thought of it was infuriating.
“Okay now, you should have calmed down by now, right? I didn’t try to trick you deliberately anyway, I want to hurry up and ascend to Heaven too. It’s depressing that I can’t see myself in the mirror. No matter how well-dressed I am, or how handsomely I style my hair, I still can’t see it. I think that my skin is in tip-top condition today too, so springy. My hair feels smooth and elegant and my cuticle layer must be glowing… ahh, I want to see.”
Are you only worried about things like that?
“Koremitsu, you didn’t wish for me to disappear; weren’t you crying your eyes out?”
Yeah! Return my tears! And I wasn’t crying my eyes out!!
“Hey, please agree to my request? Please, Koremitsu! Help me a little more! Lend me your strength!”
40, 50 people is not a little!
No, if he were to count the women filling Hikaru’s funeral parlor,
“Actually, there are another 400, 500 of them.” might be Hikaru’s next sentence.
Hikaru’s countenance was clearly both innocent and effeminate, but he was an absolute Casanova. Koremitsu wanted no further involvement with him.
“I refuse. I don’t want to approach women for the sake of cleaning up your mess.”
Koremitsu grumbled with a frown, and Hikaru widened his eyes in shock.
“Oh? Don’t you already understand the charms of a woman? You said that Miss Aoi is very cute.”
Koremitsu’s face grew hotter at his words.
It was true that he found Aoi’s various expressions adorable. He had accompanied her to the theme park in Hikaru’s stead, and when he embraced her effeminate, slender body, his heart inadvertently raced.
After finally accepting Koremitsu as a friend of Hikaru’s, she opened her heart to him and would even smile at him shyly.
Whenever they met at the school gate, she would blush and greet him courteously with a well-meaning expression.
“Good morning, Mr Akagi.”
As it was, she left for the art room after school each day and worked on her paintings of Hikaru. She and the other club members had a better relationship now than before.
It was true that Aoi was cute.
The problem, though, was his classmate—
At the thought of that feisty girl with fierce eyes, he curled his lips unhappily.
“Ah, Miss Shikibu!”
After catching sight of her, Hikaru called out to a girl holding a red and purple checkered umbrella.
The veins on Koremitsu’s forehead bulged.
“You see, Koremitsu? It’s Miss Shikibu. Go greet her!”
Hikaru called out to her, energetically urging Koremitsu to do the same. He completely ignored Koremitsu’s frown, either because he did not see it or because that was the expression Koremitsu always wore.
“Uwahh, Miss Shikibu’s legs are pretty after all! Those are really pretty legs, slender and straight~. She looks full of life when she walks. It really brings delight to my heart.”
Koremitsu’s stomach knotted at Hikaru’s profuse applause and the muscles around his mouth stiffened.
“Koremitsu? Why’re you eyeing Miss Shikibu?”
Hikaru, after noticing something was amiss, looked astounded.
At the same time, Honoka, who was about to step through the gateway onto school grounds, noticed Koremitsu.
Koremitsu tensed himself instinctively.
They stared at one another.
Honoka’s eyebrows were raised slightly in a proud manner, her eyes narrowed with an overall unhappy demeanor. The ends of her mouth curled downwards
Koremitsu’s lips shrunk down in reply.
But even so,
He greeted her.
Humph. Honoka snorted, turned away, and left.
Oi! You’re pretending not to see a classmate greeting you here!?
Once again his veins bulged, and he trotted off after her.
When someone greets you, you have to greet them back! Shouldn’t you be able to understand such basic courtesy!? What exactly did I do wrong!? Why’s she so angry with me!?
He gritted his teeth and made his way beside her.
Honoka raised her eyebrows further, hastening her steps. She replied to Koremitsu’s vehement
chase by hurrying away. When he caught up to her again, she sped off.
The two raced each other, each trying to cut in front of the other.
Damn, how can I be losing to a woman!?
He walked forward, forgetting his objective in that process.
“Koremitsu, why are you panting and sweating all over so early in the morning… there’ll be a lot of people staring at you, you know?”
Hikaru gently reminded him.
His inherited savage visage and nefarious aura earned Koremitsu terrifying nicknames during his years in Middle School; these nicknames were carried over to Heian Academy, where he was called ‘Hellhound’ and ‘King of Delinquents’, and was the subject of gossip.
Were anyone to see him as he were, the would probably say something along the lines of,
“The first-year Akagi’s chasing after a girl with a carnivorous look on his face, like a wild beast!”
“Don’t follow me, you delinquent!”
Honoka stopped in front of the stairs, pointing her umbrella to Koremitsu and shaking the residual water at him.
“WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!? YOU THINK I’M WILLING!? IT’S BECAUSE I’M IN THE SAME CLASS AS YOU, SITTING RIGHT BESIDE YOU! AND I’M NOT A DELINQUENT!”
“You look the part with that face of yours!”
Honoka finished her sentence in a vicious manner, and shook her light beige hair – the color reminded Koremitsu of a dead mouse – before walking over to her shoe locker.
What sort of attitude’s that!? There are no good woman after all!
When she had earnestly discussed Aoi with him, Koremitsu felt, for the first time, that there were some good women like her, and originally, he had intended to permanently seal off his woman-loathing grandfather’s catchphrase, “That’s why I say women—!”
But because of the grief Honoka gave him the week before, that notion was rejected.
“YOU SEE, HIKARU!? WOMEN ARE ALL LIKE THAT! I DON’T WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH SUCH UNREASONABLE ANIMALS EVEN IF I DIE!”
Koremitsu was overly exasperated that he lashed out with no regard for the stares directed at him.
“Ah… un, but you do have to bear a little responsibility for why Miss Shikibu is being so unfriendly with you. Erm, I think I must have said too much here, right?”
He spoke hesitantly.
“What? Why’re you so indecisive when you’re a guy?”
“Yes, I better not say it or it would be offensive to Miss Shikibu. It’s fine, you’ll understand later, before your 18th birthday… probably.”
He gave a cryptic smile.
Honoka was still close to her shoe locker, and was greeting her friends so cheerily that it made Koremitsu suspect her of having multiple personality disorder.
“Good morning, Michiru.”
“Ah, good morning, Hono~”
“I brought the DVD you said you wanted to watch last time!”
“Wah, thank you, Hono.”
The responsible looking girl with short braids and large framed glasses was their class representative. Everyone called her ‘prez,’ except for Honoka, who would call her by her name.
Oi, she’s so cold towards me and completely different to the others!
Koremitsu’s grievance resulted in a glare and when the braided class representative noticed this, she jumped in fear.
“Ah… go-go-goo-goo-goo-goo-goo-good morning, Mr Akagi.”
She stammered out a greeting.
It was impressive that she could greet him, the hated and feared delinquent, properly; she was a model class representative, and held the title properly by not looking in the other direction and trembling in fear of Koremitsu.
“Michiru, why are you greeting someone like Koremitsu?”
Honoka said unhappily.
This woman really annoys me! Koremitsu’s veins jutted out once more.
“Eh? Lord Hikaru was murdered?”
The sudden question shocked Koremitsu.
Hikaru was beside him, still and somber, with narrowed eyes.
Several girls were chatting in the corridor, sounding really agitated.
“This message says that it wasn’t an accident, but a murder!”
“No way! A chain mail?”
“It’s strange for him to fall into the river on a rainy day though. Why would any sane person go to the riverside when there was such a huge downpour?”
“Was Lord Hikaru really killed by someone?”
Just as Koremitsu began to approach them…
The melody of a famous band’s top hit song chirped briskly.
The sound came from Honoka’s phone.
She pulled her cellphone out from her skirt pocket with a frown and looked at the screen.
After pressing a few buttons,
“What is this…”
Dismay clung to her voice.
“What’s the matter, Hono?”
Michiru glanced at Honoka’s cellphone, and her eyes widened in surprise.
“Ho-ho-ho-Hono! Erm-thi-this is talking about Lord Hikaru’s—”
“Let me see!”
Koremitsu walked over to Michiru’s side and peered over at Honoka’s phone.
The small screen held shocking words.
“Lord Hikaru’s death was not an accident, it was a murder.
The murderer is in Heian Academy.”
Koremitsu gulped dryly as the sound of ringtones filled the air.