This one’s a bit graphic. The prologue is a bit long, but the chapters aren’t as much. This is currently a teaser; it may be upgraded to full project status if I feel like it.
In a certain high school, in a certain city, there was what you would call your standard bullied kid.
But even if you call him that, it’s not like he would find graffiti all over his desk or have his stationeries stolen or anything like that. He wasn’t physically assaulted, or harassed in some cliché fashion. It’s just that he was isolated and on the bad end of some harsh remarks.
Without any comrades, or any to call friends. And within that situation, with such minor acts of harassment done to him every day, there was no one to get involved for his sake.
But in the face of this daily cruelty, that student continued to come to school each and every day. What’s more, he arrived there earlier than everyone else.
When asked for the reason, that boy gave a response befitting a standard, diligent student.
— The perfect attendance award looks kinda appealing, doesn’t it?
That was all. For a reason as simple as that, from the start of high school to the two years plus a bit he had been enrolled, he continued to come every day.
It was as if he wasn’t on the receiving end of any cruelty.
“Ah… today, we’ll be introducing a transfer student.”
And in the class of that boy, whose everyday life was as it was, a single transfer student appeared.
The middle-aged teacher–who gave off a listless impression and looked as if a beard would suit him–began writing the transfer’s name on the blackboard, as he invited her into the classroom.
The board displayed the characters for the name 『Shinozaki Shiori』.
Just as the name would imply, the student that entered the room was wearing a female uniform. She had straight hair that extended to her lower back, cat-like eyes, and a smile brimming with curiosity. It was a female student one would commonly refer to as a Bishojo.
As evidence, the class’s male population were entranced by her friendly smile, and the females honestly thought to themselves that the girl before them was cute.
A thin smile floated on the bullied kid’s face as he thought this.
And the female student who entered, Shinozaki Shiori, suddenly burst into laughter as she lowered her head. She began her self-introduction.
“I just transferred here from Kanagawa, and I’m Shinozaki Shiori! I hope we get along!”
(TL: Kanagawa is a prefecture around the lower right of Kantou)
It was a short intro, but her smile and her clear voice were enough to make the class fascinated with her.
And after a brief instance of silence, the class began to give their applause to welcome her in.
“Ah, yeah, yeah, calm down… you can ask your questions later. Um, Shinozaki’s seat is…. Dammit… It’s next to Naginata.”
“Um, ah yes. That open one over there, right!”
Naginata was the last name of that bullied child. Shinozaki Shiori put her hand horizontally across her forehead as if to look at something from afar, as her seat, which had been installed the day before, and the bullied kid’s seat came into view.
The entire class had some dissatisfaction that that bullied kid was going to be the one sitting next to such a cute girl, and they began to direct glares at him. But having thought it was a hassle, they had pushed the job of carrying the desk there on that kid in the first place, so they couldn’t say anything about it.
And Shinozaki briskly walked through those stares, and took her seat next to the bullied kid who was in the very back, one seat away from the window. She sat in the back window seat.
(TL: The main character’s seat.)
“Um, I’m called Shinozaki Shiori. Nice to meet you!”
Shinozaki said that as she directed an amiable smile at the boy sitting adjacent to her. The class’s gaze was now directed at him.
But without paying their eyes any regard, he returned a response with a faint smile on his face.
“Yeah, my name is Naginata Kitsune. Besides aiming for perfect attendance, I’m just a normal diligent student.”
The class looked at him as if he were something disgusting.
◇ ◇ ◇
About two weeks passed.
The transfer student Shinozaki Shiori had already built a place for herself in the class and had become quite a popular entity.
When break time came around, people would gather around her desk, and when the end of the day came, they would always casually invite her to hang out. Something along those lines.
Due to her appearance, she even received numerous confessions of love from the boys, but there were no signs that she was currently going out with anyone.
“Good morning, Shiori-chan. You sure are energetic today. Annoyingly so.”
“Aha! You sure are bitter!”
This exchange was what took place daily now. Naginata was usually just called Kitsune. Perhaps his aloofness, and his nature unaffected by bullying, had gotten him related to a monster of old.
But for the transfer student, who was dense to such matters, it was taken as a simple nickname, and she got around to calling him that as well.
(TL: Naginata’s first name (桔音) does not particularly have any meaning in itself, but it is read Kitsune. Anyways, all you have to know is that they’re menacingly calling him the other Kitsune.)
“Did you do yesterday’s homework? The math teacher’s harsh if ‘ya forget it, right!”
“I did. All the answers were 2x.”
“Hey, there’s no way that’s… You seriously wrote 2x down for all of them!?”
It was a simple exchange without pleasantries, but to Kitsune, the woman who treated him nicely unlike the rest of the class was just a little bit special.
Even so, it’s not like he was in love or anything. She was just someone he could look on as a friend.
And for Shiori, Kitsune was also a bit special. From the others’ attitudes towards him, she could tell that he was the target of some harassment. In the school she transferred from, there was bullying as well, and people often consulted her on it.
But unlike the bullied kids she knew, Kitsune kept on smiling as if nothing had ever happened to him.
And for that slight difference, he was just a bit special to her.
“Ah, now that I think about it, Kitsune-san, don’t you live next to the house I’m gonna move to?”
“I believe the house next to mine was moved into by someone or another the other day.”
“I definitely saw you come out from the house next to mine!”
“I see. Then I guess my house really is next to yours.”
Shiori had a smile as radiant as a sunflower as she continued her idle banter with Kitsune. The girl truly seemed to be having fun, and the boy continued to have a faint smile on his face. The situation was quite favorable.
“And so, from today on, can’t we, like, return together? Maybe commute here too!”
“Sure. There’s nothing better than coming to school with a Bishojo. Men of the world, take that ‘ya bastards.”
“B-bishojo? My, you’re making me blush.”
Shiori scratched her crimson face with one hand. Her figure was nailed into the hearts of the boys watching. Kitsune became the target of looks of envy and contempt, and even more slander began to be spewed in the shadows behind his back.
Of course, the bad rumors of him also reached Shiori’s ears, and she was told to stay away from him a few times.
But Shiori ignored those words and continued to tread up to Kitsune’s side. Her actions only bought more irritation for the surroundings. But the spear of scorn never found itself pointing at the girl. It always found itself piercing into Kitsune.
And it did not take long for the two of them to be isolated from the class.
◇ ◇ ◇
Three months after Shiori had transferred, their relations had strengthened from seat neighbors to best friends. They came to and from school together, and they were together for lunch and other breaks.
On his birthday, Shiori presented him a Kitsune face mask, and on hers, he gave a bookmark. It was common for the two to play together. (TL: Shiori can mean bookmark)
Rumors that the two were dating circulated around the school. To both Kitsune and Shiori, the days were filled with happiness. It was the pinnacle of school life.
But that happiness was short-lived.
On that day, Kitsune had a fever. In order to preserve his attendance, he stubbornly forced himself to head to school with Shiori as always.
His best friend could easily tell that something was wrong with him. The reason she didn’t stop him was because apart from getting the perfect attendance award, there wasn’t anything that truly interested the boy.
“Are you alright, Kitsune-san?”
“I’m fine, Shiori-chan. I’m energetic enough, and it’s not like my fever’s higher than 38. I don’t feel cold or nauseous or anything, and it’s not like I can skip school.”
Turning his eyes from the worrying Shiori, Kitsune opened his shoe locker as he said this.
“No, it’s nothing.”
He took out his indoor shoes and placed the letter that was inside the locker into his pocket. He briskly entered the classroom and took his seat. Shiori followed his lead and sat beside him.
“… Don’t try doing anything impossible, okay?”
“I’ve never tried an impossible thing in my life.”
Class started at once. The middle-aged teacher started teaching as normal, and the students quietly opened their notebooks. There were plenty who talked amongst themselves in secret, but time passed relatively quietly.
And in that time, Kitsune produced the letter from his pocket and opened it. The contents told him to come to the gym storage room after school. What it showed was that those who had refrained from raising their arms at him were finally going to resort to violence. Kitsune crumpled the note into a ball and returned it to his pocket.
(… It seems my luck’s really running low today. No, perhaps I’ve been cursed or something.)
He cracked jokes at himself within his heart, as he returned to taking notes at the lesson.
And since the time of misfortunes are ones that come swiftly, school had ended before he noticed it. He rose to leave with Shiori as per usual, but she wasn’t by his side. He tried to guess where she had gone, but the fact was that she was not there.
He had a bad premonition. And he had an idea of what it was about.
“… They better not be…”
He muttered to himself as he swiftly moved his feet to the designated location. The meeting point of that morning’s letter: the Gym Storage.
“Sorry to intrude.”
The storage room was close to the entrance, so he was able to reach it without taking too much time.
When he entered, he saw that Shiori was definitely there.
But her arms and legs were bound by ropes, there was duct tape over her mouth, and three of the class’s boys were touching her body as they pleased.
“That’s quite a look you have going on there, Shiori-chan.”
Her uniform had been ripped to pieces, and the upper half now barely covered more than her underwear. From the cuts on her skirt, pink colored panties were faintly visible.
In a situation like that, the three boys were happily fondling her breast and ass. Their hands moved all over her body, and every time they touched her, Shiori tried to writhe and resist.
“Hehehe, oy, Kitsune~. Aren’t you getting way too close to Shinozaki lately? It pisses me off. And so I’ll have to train you to never get close to her again.”
“Hey, hey, person whose name I don’t know, Boy A-kun. Your male jealousy is a repulsive sight to behold.”
“What? This isn’t jealousy. You don’t suit her at all, so I’m just going to take her for myself.”
Honestly, Shiori wanted Kitsune to run away.
His fever was high, and from his responses, it was clear that he had nausea and cold fits. She couldn’t imagine just how hard it was for him to come here. It was a time when he should have been resting in bed all day.
And regardless of what happened to her, she didn’t want to see him hurt.
“I see. So this is that desire to monopolize and dominate thingy. How nice, you’ve caught my attention. But for me, having you look at my best friend Shiori-chan with such vile eyes isn’t something I’ll let pass so easily.”
“Hmm? You’re going to resist us… oy, you guys go do him in.”
“I’ve been wanting to smash his face in for a while.”
The leader-ish boy gave the orders, and the other two boys approached Kitsune. Shiori raised her voice to stop them, but the tape prevented any words from forming.
“Oy, oy, don’t be so angry. Can’t we all calm down and talk this out?”
He addressed the approaching boys as a faint smile floated on his face.
And feeling a sense of repulsion from the smile, the boys stopped in their tracks. What they felt was fear. What’s more, that fear didn’t come from Kitsune, who was standing before them. It seemed to well up from the depths of their hearts.
“And what was it again? You wanted Shiori-chan or something? Ahaha, and? There are, like, three of you here, so once you kill me, are you going to start killing amongst yourselves for her? Or are you all going to love her together? Are you going to say something like that?”
Kitsune took a step forward.
“Ahaha, it’s laughable. No no, this is strange… just too funny, that I might start vomiting. All of you listen here, won’t you?”
Saying that, he took another step. And taking a glance at Shiori, who had tears in her eyes, he ominously raised the corners of his lips.
“—The second you made a woman cry, you lost the right to love another person.”
One more step. He was right in front of one of the boys who had been consumed by fear. As he was the shortest among those present, Kitsune looked up to gaze into the boy’s eyes. They were close enough that their noses could have touched, and Kitsune continued laughing as the boy saw his own eyes reflected in his.
But that boy couldn’t take his eyes off Kitsune. No, he wanted to look away, but because of the ominous pressure Kitsune released, his body didn’t permit him to do so.
Even though Kitsune was full of openings to strike, the leader-ish boy and the other one weren’t able to do a thing. What linked all three boys were the beads of sweat rolling down their faces.
“How about you? If you kill me, and get Shiori-chan for the three of you, do you think that leader-kun over there is going to give you enough Shiori-chan time to satisfy you? He’s the type of guy who’s taking me out of the picture to get his hands on her, you know? For a man of such small caliber, will he allow anyone else to be with the woman he worked so hard to get his hands on?”
“What’s wrong? You look a little pale, but are you alright? I’m a bit worried. Do you want to go to the nurse’s office? If you want to go now, then I’ll offer kind words to you all day as I spend it carefully nursing you back to health.”
The boy who was being glared at let out a broken voice. From Kitsune’s eyes, he could tell that all the words he said were true.
“Not that I’d particularly enjoy nursing a guy.”
The boy’s expression suddenly changed as he took a step back from Kitsune. It was as if, for a moment, the paralysis binding him had been released, and he fell to his knees. Even though he hadn’t done anything to expend his energy, he breathed heavily as if he had forgotten to breath for a long time. A cold sweat was breaking out all over his body.
Scary. Scary. What the hell is this? Is this thing supposed to be human?
There’s no mistake that that’s a mistake.
Without going mad, what is with this madness?
Without any stagnation, he forced me to stagnate.
In this situation, how can this one laugh? We have three people here, and he’s alone! If we take action, if we tried in the slightest, we’d come out on top without a doubt.
Even so, the second I raise my fist, the second I glare at him, the second I approach him, it feels as if I’m going to die.
“So? How about it?”
Kitsune’s head made a strange turn as it moved to face the other boy. The boy’s face turned pale in an instant.
And as Kitsune slowly approached him, with his body rocking back and forth, the boy tried to run.
But this was a storage room, and all places he could run to would only lead to a wall. The only exit was the door, and in that direction was Kitsune. He ran into a dead-end before he could even try to escape.
And so, Kitsune reached him. He placed one of his feet between the boy’s two shaking legs, causing him, not to squat, but to collapse. And Kitsune brought his face to meet the boy’s.
This time… He was looking down on him.
“Hey, hey, don’t be so scared. See, there are no weapons in my hands, right? My physical abilities are far below you guys, and as long as you have Shiori-chan hostage, I can’t make any moves.”
“N…o, don’t come…. Closer!”
“Anyways, why are you guys lending your help to that guy? Is that leader-kun scary if you go against him? Did he pay you to do it? Or is it friendship? Mutual love towards Shiori-chan?”
“… Ku…! O-of course… it’s ‘cuz we’re friends…!”
On the boy’s words, Kitsune’s smile grew even wider, and he unsteadily shifted his eyes all over the boy’s body.
In the pocket of the boy’s uniform, he spotted a white envelope. Kitsune casually took it out and checked the contents. In it were three 10,000¥ bills.
He laughed as he tossed them over his shoulder.
“Money, I see. So your friendship is buyable in cash.”
Saying that, Kitsune produced his own wallet from his pocket. From it, he pulled out five 10,000¥s. It was the allowance for the next three months his mother had given to him.
“Look, I’ll give this money to you.”
“… S-sto… stop…”
Kitsune wrapped the boy’s hand around the bills.
With a wide smile…
“… I’d like it if you would be my friend!”
He said that.
The boy couldn’t handle it anymore. He tossed the money to the ground, pushed Kitsune aside, and tripped numerous times as he ran out of the storehouse.
Kitsune looked over the scene as he carefully collected the money on the floor, adding the boy’s 30,000 to his own increasing his allowance by 60%.
“Ah, he ran away. Was he that against becoming my friend? Or could it be that I didn’t have enough money? Well, well, I guess the cost of friendship is higher than it used to be. I guess it is something precious!”
And saying that, Kitsune turned to the Leader boy. The boy who had fallen to his knees didn’t have the motivation to move anymore, as he simply hung his head in despair.
“… Y… y-you bastard…! Don’t you care what happens to her!?”
Leader boy embraced Shiori as not to let Kitsune approach any further, as he pulled the knife hanging from his waist and held it against her neck. His hands were shaking, and his teeth clattered together. He was quite cornered mentally.
And seeing that, Kitsune suddenly stopped his feet.
“Ah… I see, as I thought, it’s no good. As I thought, you’re no good at all.”
“T-the hell! Shut up!”
“You’re going to stick that knife into Shiori-chan? Even after you went on about love or like or something of the sort? Ahahaha! Yep, it’s so funny that my head’s starting to hurt.”
Kitsune took yet another step forward. The leader’s breathing was thrown into disarray as he tried to search for why Kitsune would proceed despite the risk of Shiori being stabbed.
“Hey, you see, I don’t really know… what sort of resolve or feelings you had when you took these actions… It really is quite unpleasant, and I hate troubling things. Well, I’m diligent, wholesome, academically excellent, and a model student when it comes to public morals, so I naturally have to stand against you rebellious teenage punks, but that knife… try moving it a few more centimeters…”
“A-ah… AAH, AAAAAAAH!!”
“… And you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
That sort of sound rang out. As if someone had collapsed on their bed after a long day, as if someone was just drumming on a sofa cushion. That sort of soft sound.
And the storehouse, and its ground, began to be stained in a red color. The sound of something gushing echoed through the room, and three bodies were stained red.
“Ah… ha… hahaha…. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! It’s the end… It’s my win! Take that, retard!!!!! Ah HAHAHA!!”
The Leader boy broke into maddened laughter. As if his mind had been pushed to its limit, it was a hollow laugh of desperation.
Before his eyes, before Shiori’s wide eyes, was Kitsune, with a knife stuck into the area below the right of his chest. The bleeding was severe, and red liquid gushed out without end. And half of Kitsune’s face was covered with his own blood.
“… Ah This kinda hurts. Yeah, it hurts, ow… how is this much blood coming out?”
“!? W-why… why are you so calm!!?”
“… Well, does it really matter? So are you satisfied, Leader-kun? Your desires have been answered, and your knife has found its way through my body.”
And Kitsune continued to laugh. He smiled. He sneered. The blood showed no signs of stopping, and with a faint smile, and a blood-stained face, he looked up at the leader boy’s eyes.
“Ah… what the hell… you… disgusting… you, are you really human…!?”
“Me? Let’s see, I’m a diligent, wholesome, human, normal in every way besides my aim to get the perfect attendance award, you know? From my point of view, you guys are much more the monsters here.”
Kitsune tilted his head to one side as he calmly said it.
“You never persecuted me, you never hit me, you never bullied me, you never threw harsh words to my face, and you never helped me. You went to lengths to deny my very existence, and treated me as if I wasn’t there. And when I turn out inconvenient to you, you try to erase me like so. This world really isn’t kind to me, is it? But it’s fine, you know? To me, this is my daily life, and I’ve learned how to enjoy it.”
Kitsune used his bloodstained hand to grasp the knife and pull it out of his body, and tried to stop the massive amounts of blood pouring out of the wound. With the other hand, he grabbed the leader boy’s head.
“… Gu… !?”
“So why don’t you try enjoying my life too? It’ll definitely be fun, right? Having a knife pierce through your face. You have no allies, and there’s no one to save you. Someday, everyone will forget you, and your existence will quietly vanish from this world. That’s what you were trying to do to me. Doesn’t that sound intriguing?”
“Uah… stop… sto… I was wrong… I’ll apologi… I’m sorry… please save me!!”
To Kitsune, who was slowly bringing the knife closer, the leader apologized as tears spewed out of his eyes. He desperately petitioned the heavens to prevent his own demise.
But the corners of Kitsune’s mouth simply rose high, and he began to laugh.
“’And to the people who begged for their lives, what did you do?’ It’s my life’s dream to become a villain who can pull off a line like that!”
The knife slid into the leader boy’s eye socket.
◇ ◇ ◇
A few minutes later, the leader boy took the boy who could no longer raise his head and ran. With the knife still in his eye, and with blood running down his face, he ran to find a teacher.
And for those who were left in the storage room, Kitsune was undoing Shiori’s binding. His breathing was all over the place, and his smile had gotten fainter than ever.
“Hah…! Hah…! Ha-haha… Are you injured? Shiori-chan…”
“You’re in a much worse state that me, Kitsune-san!”
“If you’re that energetic… you’re probably fine. Owowow, I think this isn’t going to work out…”
He collapsed. Shiori rushed to prop his body up, ignoring the blood staining her clothes.His wound was so vital, that she had no idea what course of action to take, and there seemed to be no way to stop the gushing liquid. Even if she tried to bind it, it wouldn’t stop. Tears naturally fell down her face.
Seeing her expression, Kitsune revived his smile.
“Oy, don’t cry… I came here to save you, right? This is where you should be… smiling.”
“I can’t smile when you’re on the verge of death, Kitsune-san…!”
As Shiori said that, she suddenly seemed to remember something as she took out her cellphone and called an ambulance. Following their first aid instructions, she began talking to him in order to keep his conscious afloat.
“Kitsune-san…! You can’t die!”
“This doesn’t sound like Shiori-chan… I like it better when you’re energetic and laughing…”
“Kitsune-san! Please get a grip, I still want to be with you!”
To put it bluntly, Kitsune had already suffered fatal wounds.
It’s unclear whether or not it was a coincidence, but the knife had penetrated his liver. What’s more, the bleeding was severe. He had a fever during the whole confrontation, and the damage done to the single point was greater than if he had been hurt all over his body. It’s amazing that he was still conscious. Normally, he would have died instantly.
His chances of survival were pretty much moot. And it seems the man understood it himself.
“Shiori-chan. I’m… thankful to you. For a girl like you to see me off in the end, there’s nothing happier… than that.”
“Don’t say it’s the end! Let’s play more after this! Let’s go out somewhere, laugh a lot together… and….!”
“… That’s right… then once my wounds heal, shall we go to an amusement park…. That sounds fun…”
And Kitsune smiled. And in response, Shiori let out tears as she gave a smile as radiant as a sunflower.
From the outside, she could hear the sound of an ambulance’s siren.
“That’s right… we’ll definitely go together. So if you don’t heal up quickly, you’re in for some punishment.”
“Hahaha… that’s the one… that smile… When you make a face like that… I love…”
The storage room’s door burst open, and the emergency corps rushed in. The three male students and Kitsune were immediately carted off, and Shiori followed.
She grasped Kitsune’s hand as he writhed around in pain, as she prayed for his safety.
(Ah~… just a little more, I’d like to live just a bit… a lap pillow from Shiori-chan would be the happiest, most historical, moment in all of my life…)
Looking over Shiori, Kitsune whispered that in his heart.
— But his wish to live was not granted. He gave his last breath soon after arriving at the hospital.
The boy’s life came to an end, and the girl carried a promise in her heart that would never be fulfilled for all of her life.