Maria-sama ga Miteru:Volume21 Chapter5
 The Heaviness of Reverie
 Part 1.
"Shimako-san is being ... weird?"
Yumi narrowed her eyes at Tsutako's comment.
"Shh, you're too loud."
Tsutako-san warned, and looked around. But classrooms become noisy after the afternoon cleaning is done, so nobody noticed their hushed conversation.
Yumi copied Tsutako-san, and lowered her voice. Yumi had met Shimako-san both yesterday and today at the Rose Mansion, but nothing seemed different about her.
"This is news from Wisteria Class, in other words, it's information I gathered from Shimako-san's classmate Katsura-san."
"She acts fine normally. She's fine in class, during homeroom, and in conversations. But during breaks, or when she thinks no-one else is there, she spaces out. It's the kind of spacing out that makes people wary of getting near her. As if she's lost in her thoughts. Maybe she's having some problems, Katsura-san was thinking."
This isn't the Cherry Blossom season though, Yumi thought as she looked outside.
"But Shimako-san's one of those spacing-out types, isn't she?"
"She is, isn't she."
Tsutako-san first laughed loudly, then dealt her next card.
"Oh, then what's this? Yesterday when going home, Shimako-san got in a car being driven by a shady-looking guy; it drove off in a different direction than her home."
"One more thing. Noriko-chan, who had been waiting there by herself, was later escorted by a mysterious university student toward the university building."
Well wasn't this becoming a noisy affair.
"Is that also from Katsura-san?"
Yumi-san asked for confirmation, but Tsutako-san shook her head.
"Actually, it was Naitou Shouko-chan."
"What is this 'haha' business? Shouko was just going home, when she happened to see Noriko ... what do you think of this?"
"Why are you asking me?"
"Yumi-san just seems like the right person here."
I meet her everyday at the Rose Mansion, and she's a good friend of mine, huh. But so was Yoshino-san.
"Well, Yoshino-san has been busy with her own things lately, and she's had her thoughts on one person so."
Or that's how it seemed.
Of course Yoshino-san was far from depressed. She had a lot going on with her soeur relationship, but she had also suddenly begun putting a lot of time into her clubs. Everyone knew that Rei-sama was soon going to retire her post, so Yoshino-san kept up the hard work for her sake.
"In other words, Tsutako-san is worried about Shimako-san, but has no real evidence huh."
"Have you tried asking her yourself?"
That was the fastest method. Tsutako-san grasped onto Yumi's shoulder, and said.
"I won't go and ask her. If I were in her class, then I could simply go up to her and talk, but if I were to just randomly come up to her it would be unseemly. That kind of showy thing would get me caught by the newspaper."
The girl that Tsutako-san had been hiding from all along was their class's Yamaguchi Mami-san, and her Magic Eye. Mami-san was the high school newspaper, Lilian Kawaraban's, chief editor.
"The moment you take a step outside of the gate, your affairs become private. If I follow her, or prod her about such affairs, wouldn't she feel weird?"
"But you're still worried?"
"Yep. So instead, there's Yumi-san. You can ask her, right?"
"Um yeah, well..."
Without giving a definite answer, Yumi gave a "I'll do what I can" type answer, and left for the Rose Mansion.
 Part 2.
Is Shimako really worrying about something?
Yumi thought to herself, as she climbed the creaking stairs. She had heard about it from Katsura-san and Tsutako-san's findings, but when she had first seen it herself, she had been shocked.
It really wasn't her imagination, was it.
Did Noriko, Shimako's soeur, sense this too?
Whether Noriko had sensed it or not, she had better do what she can for Shimako-san at this point.
But what could she do?
She pondered back and forth, but at any rate, she needed to meet with the real Shimako-san. Yumi built up her resolve, opened the biscuit-like door, and cheerily said "Good day".
The White Rose Sisters were inside the second floor clubhouse.
"If you happen to meet Rosa Chinensis later, then please tell her that I'll be a little late."
Noriko-chan told Yumi as she sipped her tea.
Yumi nodded, and went over to Shimako-san. When Yumi had entered the room, Shimako-san had smiled and said "Good day" in greeting, but now she was sitting on a chair near the window, and looking out at scenery.
"Where's Yoshino-san? Club stuff?"
Shimako-san turned around and asked, perhaps noticing Yumi's glance.
"Yep. She seems to have gotten very into it lately."
"I see. Well good luck to her then."
Shimako-san smiled gently, but, and perhaps this was Yumi's imagination, she didn't seem happy. But whether the unhappiness came from fatigue, or troubles, or feeling lonely, Yumi could not tell.
So Yumi tried asking.
"Shimako-san. Did something happen?"
Tsutako-san had told her not to do it this way, Yumi reflected, but there were direct methods for doing such things.
Shimako-san quickly darted her eyes.
While Yumi did seem as if she were just wondering, she just couldn't think of anything else to say to Shimako-san. Shimako-san replied:
Shimako-san didn't know how to react.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't really say it the way I wanted to before but, I was wondering if Shimako-san had been brooding about something. Just something. If she was brooding, then I wondered if I could do anything about it. Uh, well, it's not as big of a thing as it sounds, but I was just wondering, you know, if I could, just like maybe, come to be some use for Shimako or something."
Yumi wondered just what she was really saying, but went on talking.
Shimako-san's lips suddenly quivered out a sigh.
"Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, ha-ha-ha, a-ha-ha-ha...."
Yumi wondered what in the world was going on. The only thing she could concretely grasp about the situation was that Shimako-san was laughing.
"Nothing, hahaha, Yumi-san you!"
"Onee-sama, what happened?"
Noriko-chan too stopped sipping her tea, and came over.
"Whatever happened Noriko, just listen! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!"
Both Yumi and Noriko-chan just stood there, dumbstruck, unable to do anything.
"Ahh, what's wrong, I can't stop!"
Shimako-san held her stomach, and laughed for three minutes, as tears began streaming down her face.
".... Shimako broke."
Sachiko-sama said as she entered the room.
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