That same day, over lunch break as I returned from the cafeteria, I found a folded notebook paper placed on my desk. These sorts of secretive measures were reserved for women, and I immediately identified the paper that had been arbitrarily ripped out of a book with the edge left a mess as a message from Ooshima.
I’ve got a little present to reward you for fighting the good fight! You should hurry and check you know where! Chop-chop, before someone finds it!’
She was making fun of me. But I couldn’t leave it alone.
You know where… she meant the landing. She was informing me she had left something there. Quite likely, a lethal blast from the past.
I made for it at once. I climbed two steps at a time. There was nothing on the landing. When I went even further to the penthouse portion, a large paper bag that hadn’t been there before had been left there.
Timidly, I peeked inside.
I found something far worse than what I’d been expecting.
It would have easily dropped me to the depths of the earth. She didn’t even have to prepare a dead cat or a swarm of bugs. All she had to do was ask around her friends to pin down the location of the must-have item that would not only get a laugh, but also that Satou Ichirou had to suppress.
I had always hidden that at school. What had- by some trick of fate- disappeared before graduation was undoubtedly retrieved and preserved by someone will ill intent. In the transition between schools, there was one time I was called out. I had ignored it, but if I participated, I was certain it would have been implemented for some grand send-off harassment.
I had to dispose of it. Before anyone saw. I couldn’t bring it to the classroom. Because I didn’t think Ooshima would let sleeping dogs lie. My only option was to ditch school. I’d take it home, cut it up, and burn it.
I draped the paper bag over my shoulder. I had to escape without any teachers seeing.
As expected… the escape was successful.
I went out of my way to collect my shoes and break out through the boys’ lavatory. It made it all the easier to leave the premise without being seen. That point of infiltration from that night proved useful. All that was left was to be careful of disciplinary action later.
While I was pulling my bike away from the schoolhouse, it entered my eye by chance.
“T-the heck is that…!”
Something outrageous had been brazenly erected over the off-limits roof.
“Are those… desks?”
A giant piece of arts put together from student desks.
Only a single small shadow was vigorously at work. There was no mistaking that blue robe.
The roof. Temple. Construction. A number of curious words had entered my ears that morning.
Ryouko had her eyes on the roof from the beginning.
Presumably, no one noticed. Not the students nor the teachers. Only I was able to spot it by sheer coincidence. I had a bad feeling. Was it because I had thrust Ryouko away?
I should have noticed.
Her eccentric tendencies. Once her switch was flipped, she’d be buried in her own world with no turning back. She was the sort of human who could sink with just a wish. And her work was precise down to the last detail.
I simply had to recall what happened when I first saw her outfit by the light of the moon.
What became of me when I had my fill of delusions.
Temple. What linked another world to the phenomenal realm. The grandest of worlds to come out of Ryouko’s hands. I had to go. I couldn’t overlook it. I had to ascertain it with my own eyes.
Leaving my bike toppled on its side, I returned to school.
The incident would surely be over soon.