Afterword and pdf hopefully before New Years.
I’ll be compiling everything into a pdf after I’m done with the afterword, so please point out any errors that you see (grammar, tense, spelling, or just generally phrasing) for any of the chapters either in the comments here or in their respective chapters. I’ll also be talking more about volume 4 when the pdf is done.
Final Chapter: The Cultural Festival Afterparty is a New Beginning
After the Mysterious Rainbow Incident (self-titled) chain of strange occurrences, I got laughed at by Nibutani.
It was the Sunday after the end of the cultural festival.
The principal had organised for a cultural festival afterparty (although it seemed that it was intended to be the usual surprise by our principal given that it was not on the programme, as it had already become common knowledge it was not particularly surprising), and so after having tidied up the school during the day the entire student body had come to the school’s sports ground afterwards to celebrate the end with a bonfire.
On the account that the event was being held on Sunday, participation for this event was optional. However, it seemed that most of the student body was participating, as the sports ground was overflowing with people.
Although this was only the first cultural festival I’ve had since entering high school – I enjoyed myself quite a bit.
The first years who were strongly moved as it was their first time experiencing something like this, the second years who surely had not yet had their fill of their second cultural festival, the third years who were regretting that this was their last cultural festival; everyone enjoyed the afterparty.
A musical medley that made people want to dance played throughout the sports ground.
And in the centre of the sports ground, a tall flame soared high into the sky.
In that blazing hot atmosphere, there were people around the fire dancing whilst wearing costumes that were used during the cultural festival, and people who chatted while looking at that scene from a little distance away.
Aside from the areas around the swaying flame, there were also worn-out people looking down at that scene from inside the school building.
Even the people who had been busy with the management of the afterparty.
And on the newly set-up main stage trying to perform something, the principal (!?).
Various people enjoyed the end of the school’s biggest event in their own way.
Naturally, I was one of those people too.
Although I had been chatting away with Isshiki a short distance away from the fire just moments ago – no, it would be more accurate to say that I was accompanying Isshiki with his hobby of “observing girls dancing around the fire’ (not my hobby!) – it appeared that he had work to do as a member of the disciplinary committee –
“Now then, it’s about time for me to take off and check if there are any scoundrels that have cut themselves too loose. However, to be able to see the entire student cohort, no, the entire female population of students gathered here together is enough for me to have my fill of the afterparty. Togashi, I leave the rest to you. Well then, later.”
With those words, Isshiki headed off to work (as well as his hobby).
And so, I was currently by myself.
I enjoyed myself by watching Rikka, who was wearing her costume from yesterday’s play, and Kazari-chan, who was wearing Rikka’s worn-out costume from the play, looking close to each other and dancing together in the distance.
…I wasn’t feeling particularly lonely or anything.
It was at such a time.
“The moment I thought that you stopped doing things like that in public, you’re alone by yourself ogling her to get sexually aroused, you creep!”
Along with those words, striking me from behind with a punch on the shoulder, delightfully – in an extremely good mood that I’ve never seen her in before, I got entangled with Nibutani.
Her face was so visibly flushed that it made me think that she was drunk, but it appeared that the red glow was simply from the glare from the fire and not as a result of alcohol.
I was suspicious as to whether she was drunk for an instant as she was in too much of a good mood.
Then again, it was the end of the festival, so I guess anyone would be in a good mood.
However, I have to wonder, why was she all alone?
If it were like usual, Nibutani would be together with the two other dance club members. Furthermore, if it’s the popular Nibutani, in a festive environment like this she would be in great demand by many people.
“I do not do stuff like that, I am a very wholesome person.”
There were many things that I was curious about, but for the time being I denied that I was undergoing some kind of sexual play.
Denied both that I was currently doing, and that I was the sort of person to do, stuff like that.
“Hmm, but you were grinning. With a face that seemed to say, ‘I wonder if this means Kazari-chan is also my girlfriend?’.”
“Oi, stop it! Don’t joke about my earnestness! Never once had something like that ever crossed my mind!”
Don’t joke about that!
What if someone happened to hear that? Rumours hurt!
“Ahaha, well, I guess that’s true. Geruzoni has a cute, cute girlfriend after all. By the way, yesterday’s play: it was super hilarious! Why, I already want to say it so badly that I can’t help myself! That ‘you burned?’, when Geruzoni says it’s super cool!”
As Nibutani said all that, she held her stomach, and although there were quite a number of people around us, she laughed out loud without caring about the surrounding gazes.
A jovial, delighted, satisfied, loud laugh.
“Um… That’s a bit too much laughter… It’s just a line from the play…”
“A, ahahahaha! ‘For the Prince’s fiery kiss?’ Ahahahaha, you should go die! Go die! Stop, ahahaha!”
…Was it really that funny… If so, then I guess it’s fine…
Embarrassing as it is, as she was laughing way too much about it, it made me feel like that I had made her laugh, which made me feel less bad about it.
Even now, whilst panting, Nibutani continued to laugh with difficulty.
“Ha, ha…! Why, just thinking about it makes me explode with laughter! You were so self-confident! It was definitely way more interesting to watch than an unskillful skit!”
“Wow. I’m so happy to hear that. Thanks for the complement.”
After I had said thanks in a sarcastic tone, Nibutani at last raised her tear-filled face.
Hmm, if it got you laughing to this extent, I’ll remind you of this one day to get you laughing like this again.
“Ha, I laughed and laughed. Well, see you around.”
“You came just to laugh at me!? You’re too spiteful!”
“Ah, sorry, sorry. I laughed so much that I forgot. See, I come over to thank you for your hard work during the cultural festival.”
Returning, Nibutani turned back to look at me with a face that said that she had forgotten the reason why she had come here in the first place.
After that, she moved back towards me a little and once again repeated the words that she had said just moments ago.
“The cultural festival, thank you for your hard work. Congratulation, it was a huge success.”
Unlike before, when she was laughing hard, there was no malice – Nibutani’s words were accompanied by a child-like smile.
This too was also an expression that I’ve never seen Nibutani have before.
“Yeah, you too, thanks for your hard work. …Well, but as for us boys, we merely watched the performance, or at best only played a small supportive role, so I’m not sure we’re deserving of thanks…”
“That’s not true at all. After all, it’s only because everyone helped everyone enjoy the show that our performance was a success.”
“…Yeah, if Nibutani says so, then I guess it’s true. I had a good time, and it appeared that everyone did too.”
“That’s right, that’s right, soy sauce.”
“That pun is still popular!?”
“Hm? Would it be better if I said, ‘That’s right, that’s right, it’s sauce!’?”
“Why would you bring up something as old as that!?”
On a related note, Rikka too had said something like that just the other day. Was this a thing that had become a fad among the girls!?
Nevertheless, to hear something like that from Nibutani… It was the sort of gag that made me doubt my ears, but it may have been the place known as the cultural festival afterparty influenced her to do so.
…Let’s say that it was due to something like that.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to grasp the character of the current Nibutani.
“Or rather, Nibutani: are you, by any chance, going around and telling everyone those words?”
“Yeah, that’s right. You’re the last one, Geruzoni. I wanted to thank everyone for their hard work. Although I guess it is a bit of a strange thing for me to say, given the success of the play was the result of everyone’s hard work.”
The flame was still burning strong.
That’s why, Nibutani’s face still looked as if it had been dyed bright red. However, her expression after saying that line just now was different from how it was from before: it was an embarrassed expression.
Surely, our entire class had saw her with this expression. And surely, everyone else felt the same way as that I did.
That out of our entire class, Nibutani was the one who had worked the hardest.
That’s why, I too voiced my thoughts out to Nibutani.
“I see. But, Nibutani was the one who had worked the hardest, so we should be the ones who are thanking you.”
As if catching her by surprise, Nibutani’s eyes widened in response to my words. She then tried to hide her embarrassment by twirling her long hair around her finger.
“Ahaha, if you say so. I’m happy to hear that you feel that way. Thank you.”
While still fumbling her hair with her finger, Nibutani smiled happily.
As she smiled, her cheeks were dyed not by a red caused by the illumination of the fire, but by a pastel red.
Afterwards, she closed her eyes, and went “right, right” with a nod – although I wasn’t sure what it was that she was convinced of, Nibutani met my line of sight,
“Well, there willll be a class closing party for the play after this finishes, so please come and join us.”
and said that.
Then, without waiting to hear my reply, she once again turned around and walked away whilst waving to me with the back of her hand.
‘I don’t need to hear your reply’ – was it?
Well, I mean, it goes without saying, but if there is to be a closing party, then naturally my reply would be that I’m going.
For her to know that – it was like the two of us could understand each other a little even without words, which made me feel a little happy.
After following Nibutani’s retreating figure with my eyes until it was gone, I returned my attention back towards where Rikka was. When I did so, however, a close-up of someone’s face entered into my field of vision, appearing right before my eyes.
“Yuu-chan, you’re quite popular with the ladies, aren’t you? Since we didn’t have any other choice, we thought that we would go with DevTru Rikka-chan, but it seems that DevTru Rikka-chan was also quite popular, and so we didn’t know who would be good to go out with.”
Full of flair, and with the distinctiveness of the colours of the rainbow – it was Amaniji-senpai.
Although her face was covered by a pitch-black shadow given that her back was facing the fire, as she was way too close to me I could clearly see every nook and cranny of her well-featured face.
I was helpless against the gaze of her large pupils, which rooted me in place. Although I couldn’t get myself to move despite physically being able to do so, I somehow managed to take a single step back.
“Huh? …No, um… what about Kumin-senpai?”
“Kumin said, ‘Eh, Hideri-chan’s definitely the type of person who is too bothersome to be in a romantic relationship with, so nah~,’ and turned me down.”
Ha, laughed Amaniji-senpai as tears accumulated in her eye.
She was on the verge of tears.
The things that Kumin-senpai said – while I also thought that what she had said was undeniably accurate and correct, all the same I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Amaniji-senpai.
Then again, it was likely because that they were friends that Kumin-senpai was able to say what she really thought.
Or rather: did she really ask her out, this upperclassman? …As expected, the strangeness of her actions really does surpass even my wildest dreams.
“Moreover, we also got told, ‘Besides, I only see Hideri-chan as just a friend.’”
“Those words, that’s the most common way of being rejected!”
“‘I love Hideri-chan, but…’ followed after as well.”
“I just want to say, if you love her don’t reject her!”
“As well as, ‘Since Hideri-chan is kind…’”
“’Because you’re kind, what!?’ is how I feel about that!”
“In addition, all this was via text.”
“Even though it wasn’t face-to-face, being being told this all via back-to-back short texts is still depressing!”
Before I knew it, it became the standard rejection story.
It was a mystery as to how much of that exchange was true.
On top of that, I had no idea what the point of that story was… She as quite the schemer, after all. Then again, perhaps it was all just a joke.
“Well, in any case it was just a joke.”
“…Can Amaniji-senpai not cure herself of the ‘I cannot live if I don’t tell a joke’ disease?”
“Hmm, if you say that you want to see that kind of us, then we’ll rehabilitate ourselves.”
…Let me have a think about it.
I do want to see a rehabilitated Amaniji-senpai, but at the same time I feel that I wouldn’t be able to bear the sight of an Amaniji-senpai who doesn’t jest. People shouldn’t be changing like that so easily.
“I guess it’s best if Amaniji-senpai stays like Amaniji-senpai after all.”
“Ahaha, you’re embarrassing us. It is that, it is not? ‘We are crazy in the head’ is a compliment, right? Yay!”
“Although I didn’t phrase it as terribly as that, please don’t be putting yourself down, and please don’t be embarrassed by your own words!”
“As expected, Amaniji-senpai’s quite the weirdo.”
“Don’t say that either, Amaniji-senpai!”
And don’t get even more embarrassed!
As expected, Amaniji-senpai’s quite the weirdo.
…I wonder if I’ve made you satisfied with this exchange…
As if she had read my mind, Amaniji-senpai let out a content grin.
And then – she stood next to me, silently.
The two of us watched everyone who was dancing around the fire – the two of us watched Rikka.
“As the cultural festival has also ended, this is it for the club activities of the Eccentric Drama Club.”
Said Amaniji-senpai quietly.
Those words, they seemed somewhat lonely, and somewhat – somewhat sad.
This event marked the end of the club, so of course she was feeling sad.
“…Yes, that’s right.”
“But, since Bunnygirl-senpai too was pleased, we too are okay with this being the end. Either way, with the cultural festival now over, there’s just about no events for us to perform anything at – it’s just about perfect for things to have ended here, right?”
I wasn’t able to say the words “I agree”.
To say those words would be to accept it – that is, to accept that our time together as a club was over.
Although it had only been a week’s worth of activities, it was still difficult to accept that this was the end of it all.
But even though I didn’t want to admit it out loud, reality continued to flow – even if I didn’t want to admit it, it would still end.
I didn’t want to admit it, since I wished that somehow or other, things could continue like this for just a little longer.
Whilst I kept thinking of thoughts like that, the cultural festival too had come to its end.
Still – the end must come someday.
That’s why, not wanting to admit that fact with words – was just merely me being selfish.
As if seeing through my mind, Amaniji-senpai looked in my direction with a smile.
Cheer up – her smile seemed to be telling me.
“Ahaha, Yuu-chan’s also the type to get caught up by sentimentality? Well, whenever anything comes to its end, it feels lonely, doesn’t it?”
“But, while it feels lonely – only because there is an end, can there be a next, right?””
“Yes, that’s right, isn’t it?”
It was clumsy, but at last I was able to say the words “yes, that’s right”.
…I guess that something like that is true.
It was the truth of the world; it was how the world functioned.
Once a thing had ended and had been judged as having reached its end – a next is sought for.
But, there also are things that are able to have no endpoint.
Since I swore to myself to never let my relationship with Rikka come to an end, I resolved myself to do whatever it takes to keep our relationship from ending. Until death do us part – I won’t let it end.
That was the lengths I was willing to go to ensure that it never ends. That it was a tale with no end.
Then, for these club activities, perhaps –
“Yuu-chan, the day after tomorrow’s the sports festival, right?”
“…Huh? Ah, yes, that sounds about right. Tomorrow’s the preparations and rehearsal day for the sports festival, with the sports festival itself being in two day’s time.”
“As for us, we want to participate in the inter-club relay.”
“Well, look: if we participate in the inter-club relay, it’ll be recorded in the yearbook, right?”
In an over-the-top manner that matched the ‘ta-da!’ sound effect perfectly, Amaniji-senpai thrusted her hand right in front of my eyes.
She was grasping a piece of paper in her left hand – a club enrolment form.
On it, the words ‘Far Eastern Magical Napping Society (tentative)’ had been newly written.
“Since the Eccentric Drama Club disbanded yesterday, the new ‘Far Eastern Magical Napping Society (tentative)’ was made! By the way, Kumin was the one who thought of the club name! And with that said, you should join too, Yuu-chan!”
As that piece of paper fluttered around before my eyes, Amaniji-senpai let out a lighthearted smile as she spoke.
Then, as if to peek at my reaction: with half her face covered by the form, she peeped at me, gazing at me motionlessly.
I was so blown away by how rapid that development was that I let out a strange sound in a loud voice.
Well, I was glad that everyone was watching the flames – if it were like usual, letting out such a hysterically loud sound would have resulted in everybody looking at me with strange eyes… Combined with the fact that I had let out a similar loud sound yesterday, I worry that I’ll be perceived as that sort of character…
“Yep, that’s the reaction we wanted from you. It’s a little normal, but we expected that from Yuu-chan!”
“Eh…? Then, you’re not joking about this, are you?”
“Yeah. …To tell you the truth: with DevTru Rikka-chan, there was that thing about us listening to any of her three requests, right? For everyone to do something together again – that was what she requested of us.”
“That’s why, we were thinking about how we could deal with that request. And so, we came up with this: to participate in the sports festival’s inter-club relay. And everyone can dress eccentrically. Although we have not thought of any particular club activities for us to do yet, for the time being we’ve applied for setting up a club as the principal wanted to be photographed for the yearbook; when we asked the principal about it, the principal replied with, ‘Yes! I too want to be photographed! Of course I’ll be the adviser!’ and agreed to be our adviser.”
“Wow… That’s the principal for you…”
“Just now, we asked Kumin and Sofia-chan regarding this and got their agreement instantly, and so we were told ‘approved’ as we had just the right number of people for forming a club! All that’s left is Yuu-chan and DevTru Rikka-chan! Yay yay! Now now, Yuu-chan, what’s your reply?”
I already had my answer.
It was why I had hoped that things could continue on for just a little longer.
Still, I felt that it would be embarrassing to reply right away.
It was like she had, somehow or other, seen right through my feelings.
No, it was more like that she had already seen though how I truly felt about it.
“I-it’s not like I have any particular interest in the inter-club relay or anything, but well, if Rikka’s joining.”
…With my face concealed and mumbling, I gave those tsundere-like lines.
It was the only thing that came to my mind when I was thinking of ways to distract from my embarrassment. If I may say so myself, it was quite the sorry display.
“But, are you fine with this? Especially with the state of the Eccentric Drama Club. But, if you’re fine with it, then, well…”
“Yeah, we’re fine with it. Besides, Bunnygirl-senpai too: regarding club activities, she had said to put an end to them. That’s why, we had to give the club a proper and neat end. That’s why it’s fine, and why there’s no need for worry!”
“Heh heh, although we try our best to not let things end, it’s fine if it ends neatly, right?”
Amaniji-senpai continued to be cheerful as she spoke.
“But, once a thing ends, it can be begun anew!”
Those words – I personally thought that they were very great words.
To never stop putting in effort – to not let the tale end.
In addition to that, to begin putting effort in – once a tale ends, it also means that there is a new tale to begin.
I’m sure that this was what Rikka wished for as well.
For the tale to not end, and for the tale to begin anew.
“Ah, Rikka’s finally by herself! Let’s go, Yuu-chan!”
– That’s why.
Like Amaniji-senpai said.
Following the happy ending the story continues – it begins anew.
I wonder if there will be a new beginning once again after this.
Although where and what have yet to be decided upon.
With this new club.
Our tale is still far from over.
Without a doubt, I’m certain that tale of ours will be fun.
 Untranslatable pun and cultural referrence. Here, the phrase そういうこと (sou iu koto), which in this case roughly translates to ‘exactly’, sounds like 醤油こと(shouyuukoto), which means soy sauce. This is a gag by the actor and entertainer Murakami Shoji.
 Another untranslatable pun/cultural reference. Here, it’s playing on the fact that そうだよ (souda yo), which roughly translates to ‘that’s right’, sounds like ソースだよ (sousuda yo), which roughly translates to “it’s sauce”. This pun was used in an ad for Yakisoba in 1984.
 A Japanese term for a character archetype whose normally cold at first to others before showing a kinder side.