Maria-sama ga Miteru:Volume28 Chapter11
 Frame of Mind 6
"Is it alright to come in?"
Shyly opening the biscuit door was Hosokawa Kanako-chan.
"Ah. The troublesome first-year is back again."
Yoshino-san whispered, and Yumi silenced her with an elbow.
"I have a request for Takeshima Tsutako-sama … "
Kanako-chan looked around the room on the second floor of the Rose Mansion and smiled, relieved, when she saw the person she was looking for. She was wearing the basketball club's uniform, with her long hair tied in a single ponytail. Like Katsura-san before her, her appearance gave the impression that she had come in the middle of a club practice session. Her bare legs went on for so long that it made finding a place to look a bit difficult, even though they were both girls.
"You're really popular today, huh."
Tsutako-san responded to this light banter with, "That's no joke," and stood up and walked over to Kanako-chan. It looked as though she knew what Kanako-chan had come here for.
"I've heard all about it from the basketball club president. Sorry, was it supposed to be today?"
"Ahh, no. Not exactly."
Kanako-chan raised both her hands up to shoulder-height and shook them back and forth.
"There was no specific date set but, luckily, today satisfies all our conditions."
"Is the basketball club making a booklet too?"
Yumi asked, and the response she got was, "No."
"An autograph collection, on colored paper, with a photo mounted in the center."
Not exactly the same, but something pretty close anyway. It looked like all the clubs were making something for their graduating seniors.
The three conditions of the basketball club, namely (1) that no third-years be present, (2) that all the first- and second-years were present, and (3) that the supervising teacher be present, were all fulfilled, so Kanako-chan had hurriedly set off in search of Tsutako-san. It was just bad luck that saw Tsutako-san in the Rose Mansion today, a place she rarely set foot in.
"How did you find out? That Tsutako-san was here, I mean."
Although Kanako-chan had found Tsutako-san in the end, so perhaps you could say it was good luck.
"The tennis club's – "
"Yes, her. I ran into her when I was leaving the clubhouse."
The presidents of the basketball and tennis clubs were both in the same class and quite good friends, so they'd often swap information about their respective clubs. Consequently, they both knew that the other was also planning on asking Tsutako-san to take photographs for their club. Katsura-san probably guessed what was going on when she saw a first-year student in the basketball club's uniform wandering around the cultural clubhouse, and called out to her. "Are you, perchance, looking for Takeshima Tsutako-san?" That kind of thing.
Yumi was nodding along to this, when she thought back and said, "Huh?"
"Hey. Why do you think Katsura-san came here in the first place?"
"Well, that's because she wanted Tsutako-san to take photos for the tennis club, right?"
As she summarized the conversation that took place before she arrived, Yoshino-san looked at Yumi, as though to say, "Why are you asking this now?"
"I know that. That's not what I was asking."
"What Yumi-san wanted to say was, how did Katsura-san know that Tsutako-san was in the Rose Mansion?"
Yumi nodded in agreement at Shimako-san's words. The usual places to look for Tsutako-san would be the clubhouse and her classroom, so how did Katsura-san come up with the Rose Mansion?
"She could have asked Shouko-chan?"
"Nope. Shouko-chan wasn't told that we were going to the Rose Mansion."
"So she asked someone in the second-year pine class then."
"I wonder – "
Certainly, there had been a couple of students still remaining in the classroom when they left. They hadn't explicitly told anyone where they were going, but if any of their classmates had overheard their conversation then they would probably relay this to anyone that came looking for Tsutako-san. Yumi was just about to ask Tsutako-san her thoughts on this when she saw the faraway look on her face.
"The clubhouse … Was Shouko-chan there?"
Tsutako-san asked Kanako-chan, not noticing Yumi's gaze.
"Naitou Shouko-san from first-year chrysanthemum group? Nope?"
Kanako-chan then followed up with more information.
"She wasn't at the clubhouse, she was walking through the courtyard in front of the Rose Mansion."
Tsutako-san opened the window and looked outside. But, sadly, Shouko-chan was nowhere to be seen. Naturally, it wasn't possible to see the entire courtyard from that window, so she might still be close by.
"I wonder what she's doing."
Standing outside the clubroom door, wandering around the courtyard. It was definitely suspicious. Since she was in the clubhouse, she could have gone into the clubroom (they'd talked about the third-years doting on her, so they would have let her in). Similarly, if she'd wanted to see Tsutako-san then she could have just entered the Rose Mansion, rather than loitering in the courtyard.
Tsutako-san closed the window and turned around, then gave an embarrassed and self-deprecating laugh when she noticed everyone looking at her.
"At any rate, I'll head off to the gymnasium."
She quickly returned the photographs spread across the table to their original envelopes, then took a camera out of its cloth bag. This one was different to the compact camera that she'd used to take a photo of Yumi on their way to the Rose Mansion. Yumi had very little knowledge of cameras so had absolutely no idea how they were different or what their features were, but was certain that Tsutako-san did.
"Ahh, that's right."
Tsutako-san remembered to hand the film with 'Takeshima Tsutako' written on it over to Yumi. So that she could protect it from Yoshino-san's devilish hands.
Kanako-chan, who was leaving with Tsutako-san, stopped at the biscuit door, turned around and smiled.
"Isn't it great? I'm so glad."
Yoshino-san muttered, "What is?" as they listened to the creaking sounds of the staircase, but Yumi understood the message.
Kanako-chan was talking about Touko-chan.
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