After eating breakfast, I changed from my pajamas to my uniform, and left the house shortly. It seems to take about 80 pages for Araragi-kun to leave his house, but this is it for me. That is the distinct difference between a family with a room you would not want to leave, and one without.
And so, with today comes a new trimester.
It makes me sigh with relief.
At heart, it feels like I am being saved.
The new trimester has always been my lifesaver.
Days off are strolling days — though I refer to it that way, I can only wander about for so long. I may as well be a juvenile delinquent. My position ever since summer break started as a home tutor for Araragi-kun as he prepared for university entrance exams is for the sake of raising his academic capabilities, but from another perspective, it may just be an excuse not to go back to that house.
That is why school — makes me sigh with relief.
It made me feel at ease.
Well, whether it’s strolling, or being a home tutor.
Or going to school.
The fact that in the end I would have to go back to that house isn’t really something to be melancholic about — that’s right.
To me, it is nothing more than “going back”, never “going home”.
In the end, Tyltyl and Mytyl realised that the Blue Bird of Happiness was in their own home, but where should the Blue Bird be sought for those without a home?
Or do we seek for something else?
Perhaps what we should seek for is not the Blue Bird,
but — the White Cat.
Besides, to speak somewhat negatively, even if the Blue Bird of Happiness were to be in one’s own home, that does not mean that a Beast of Misfortune does not lurk there in the same manner.
I thought these things as I walked on, and my goodness, is that a twin-tailed girl who appeared in my way?
“Oh, my. Hanekawa-san?”
With that, the girl — Hachikuji Mayoi turned around and clattered over to me, sweetly. Everything she does is just too adorable. How conscious is she of the fact that it is this loveliness of hers that drives Araragi-kun crazy?
“So you’re going back to school starting today, Hanekawa-san.”
“Yep, that’s right.”
“Devoting oneself to one’s studies is quite an extraordinary endeavour, isn’t it? Indeed, even I, as a primary-schooler, remember the days when I surpassed many trials and tribulations. The crushing amount of homework I had during summer break might well be called the records of my war.”
The things she say just don’t fit with the conversation when she’s talking to someone other than Araragi-kun — as I thought this, I responded.
“What are you doing here, Mayoi-chan?”
“I’m looking for Araragi-san.”
I should be the one saying “oh, my”.
I would understand it if it was Araragi-kun loitering around and looking for Mayoi-chan, but it really was unusual for Mayoi-chan to be looking for Araragi-kun.
Actually, speaking of which, didn’t something like this happen before? Then, it was because Shinobu-chan was missing, wasn’t it? — Could it be that something like that has happened again?
As though seeing through my expression and noticing my needless fears at once, Mayoi-chan said, “oh, it’s not like that.”
“It’s not like something big happened. I just forgot something at Araragi-san’s home and want to get it back.”
Mayoi-chan showed me her back.
At first I had thought that it was just a lovely back shot with nothing on it, but when I thought about it, it was strange for nothing to be on it in the first place. One of Mayoi-chan’s charm points lie in how she always wears a backpack, anytime and anywhere.
Said backpack was gone.
“Wait, what? What did you just say, Mayoi-chan? You forgot something at Araragi-kun’s home?”
“Yes, I was taken away by him yesterday.”
Mayoi-chan said in a troubled voice, with her back facing me.
“That was when I carelessly forgot my backpack.”
“I was dragged away by him.”
“…Um, that sounds even more criminal.”
If I ask again, the kidnapping might be escalated to assault, so I didn’t dare press the matter. At any rate, Mayoi-chan left her backpack at Araragi-kun’s home.
Though it was rather bold of her to leave that behind.
“But, in that case, couldn’t you just go to Araragi-kun’s home?”
Her coordinates are completely wrong.
Why is she here?
“I went to his house first, of course. But his bike wasn’t there, so it seemed he had already left.”
“Huh…? Would Araragi-kun leave for school that early…?”
I don’t like spending even one more second in that house so I leave for school as quickly as possible, but in Araragi-kun’s case, even if he did want to do that, since his sisters don’t really let him out, to the point where you can call it a sort of lenient house arrest, it would have to be quite an important reason for him to leave his house that early in the morning —
“Or, it could be because he hadn’t come back yet from last night because he had to settle whatever his important reason was.”
So he didn’t leave early.
He just didn’t come back yet.
“Oh, I didn’t think of that. That’s just like you, Hanekawa-san. You’re like a great detective. That’s certainly possible. There might have been some dire situation after I somehow managed to escape Araragi-san’s home.”
Let’s ignore the disturbing part about how she “somehow managed to escape”, which seems pretty dire a situation in itself. I get the feeling that if I press the matter, various regrettable facts will surface.
“Well, in any case, seeing as he probably wouldn’t head straight to school right now, I’ve been industriously searching for Araragi-san in an arbitrary way.”
“You’re not that good at looking for people, are you, Mayoi-chan?”
She is being too random.
How does she plan on finding Araragi-kun by searching like that? She wasn’t just feeling her way by a rope. She didn’t even have a rope to follow.
“Oh, no. I’ve managed to meet Hanekawa-san, so my investigative abilities are not without worth.”
“You’re very positive…”
“Well, not that I know whether meeting me is a stroke of luck for you, Hanekawa-san.”
“Hm? Why not? You’re a lucky charm in this neighbourhood, Mayoi-chan. They say that something good will definitely happen that day for anyone who sees you.”
“Please don’t make up any weird legends like that…”
The source is of course Araragi-kun.
He is unrivaled when it came to spreading this sort of false rumor.
He really does have the makings of a teller of ghost stories.
“I’ll tell him you’re looking for him, then, if I see him at school.”
“Thank you very much.”
Politely bowing her head as she said this, Mayoi-chan clattered back in the direction she was walking, sweetly.
Of course, she would not have a long talk with me like she could with Araragi-kun. I am envious of how Araragi-kun can talk and see eye-to-eye with such a cute girl, just as I am, after all, envious of how Mayoi-chan can talk endlessly with Araragi-kun.
To Araragi-kun, it may be something which comes to mind as natural.
But to me, that was far more of a miracle.
“Now then! Let’s meet again sometime soon, Hanekawa-san!”
Turning back once more after taking some distance, Mayoi-chan waved her hand.
I waved back at her.
“Yeah! See you later!”
“The episode between Araragi-san and I will be in the next novel!”
“It’s not foreshadowing if you spell it out.”
It’s not even foreshadowing anymore. It’s a promo.
At the last, like how Araragi-kun does it to Mayoi-chan, I made a quip.