Maria-sama ga Miteru:Volume29 Chapter3
 Not Here
 Part 1.
The same rumor had apparently been heard in a different location.
"What's Sachiko-san doing?"
The following day, as Yumi was just leaving her classroom and thinking she should spend the lunch break in the Rose Mansion, she was captured by Tsukiyama Minako-sama, who had been lying in wait by the door, and dragged to the newspaper club's clubroom.
"There's no point in asking me."
I don't know. Perhaps the point of Minako-sama's question was to see what kind of a response she would get. Minako-sama changed her questioning method after drawing a blank from Yumi.
"Strangely, she's cramming. Sachiko-san, that is. Did you know, Yumi-san?"
Yumi answered non-committally. Even though she had heard that, it was only a rumor. Minako-sama probably didn't know anything more either.
Minako-sama hadn't said anything yesterday afternoon, so she probably hadn't personally witnessed Sachiko-sama studying often. Still, she moved quickly when her antennae caught wind of something. Her species had a talent for laboriously gathering reports from all over and organizing them for their own benefit.
Yumi obediently parked her rear on the seat that was drawn out and offered to her. Although she really didn't want to be here all that long.
"I don't know anything."
Yumi thought that she would be able to straighten everything out by talking to her onee-sama. Even so, this wasn't something that would take Yumi out of her way to see her onee-sama, rather, it was something that she intended to casually raise the next time they met.
After all, it's not like the rumor was a matter of life and death, it was merely that Sachiko-sama was studying. And if Yumi were to confront Sachiko-sama over such a rumor, she would probably be scolded for wasting time.
"Cramming at this time of year, she could be preparing for the end of year exams. Except third-years don't have end of year exams."
Since she knew nothing, Yumi steeled herself to do nothing but listen. If she foolishly opened her mouth, she wouldn't just be causing trouble for her onee-sama.
Besides, now that Minako-sama had started, it was in her nature to keep going.
"Anyway, Sachiko-san isn't the kind of person who studies for exams."
"Is that so?"
Upon hearing Yumi's vague response, Minako-sama tensed. Oops. Some other phrase had been called for.
"Don't play dumb with me. Who do you think I am?"
What could possibly be the right answer under these circumstances? The former head of the newspaper club? The former editor-in-chief of the Lillian Kawaraban? While Yumi was pondering this, Minako-sama stood up.
"The Yamayurikai Freak. The Rose Chaser. Someone willing to become a stalker to learn more about those girls, someone who gladly gave her youth in the service of the Lillian Kawaraban. Tsukiyama Minako."
Someone who referred to themselves as a stalker.
"For three years now I've watched Sachiko-san. Of course I know that she never studies for exams."
Minako-sama looked at Yumi with a triumphant smirk.
"Don't you think it's odd that Sachiko-san, who doesn't study for exams, would be studying for an exam?"
"But how do you know that she's studying for an exam?"
Minako-sama would be well aware of Sachiko-sama's love of literature. So she shouldn't consider it unusual to see Sachiko-sama with a book on her desk, reading intently.
"She's scribbling answers in some kind of question workbook. But the book itself has some kind of sweater-like cover on it, so you can't tell what it's for."
"The sweater-like cover, is it the same color as powdered green tea?"
"I don't remember the color, but it looked like it was knitted."
"Is that so?"
Suppose it was the book cover that Yumi had given her as a Christmas present last year, then based on size alone you could rule out various types of books. There were several brands of question workbooks that each came in different sizes, but it would be quite a coincidence if one of the major ones just happened to be the same size as the book cover Yumi had knitted.
"What kind of exam is she – "
"I've told you, I don't know. Why don't you try asking her directly?"
Yumi leaned back against the chair in desperation as she spoke.
"Oh, so naive Yumi-san. Didn't I tell you that I was a stalker?"
Tsk-tsk-tsk, Minako-sama swung her finger back and forth like a metronome. Well, she had a point, probably.
"She's going to Lillian's Women's University."
"That's what I've heard."
It was around Christmas when she said it. "I'm going to Lillian's University."
Yumi had never actually seen the notice, but assumed that Sachiko-sama was granted priority entrance not long after that.
It hadn't even been three months since that declaration, so it seemed unlikely that Sachiko-sama would have changed her mind. But supposing she had changed her mind, it would be strange for her not to tell her petit soeur about it. For one thing.
"Are there still entrance exams going on at this time of year?"
"They're pretty much all finished."
"In that case..."
Before Yumi could finish her rebuttal, Minako-sama coolly interrupted her.
"Do you know about second round applications?"
It's a system where universities have a second round of examinations to fill places that were left over after the first round of exams. Therefore, it's not unusual for these exams to be held towards the end of March or the beginning of April.
"By second round application, you mean for Lillian's?"
"As usual, you're quite the airhead. Why would someone who was granted priority entrance to Lillian's Women's University be taking the second round exam? Besides, Lillian's doesn't usually have a second round of offers."
"Oh, I didn't know that."
But her onee-sama said she was going to Lillian's University. So why would she have to study for some other university's exam?
"Maybe there's something she wants to learn to do, so she's considering going to a technical school. That must be it."
Minako-sama said, full of confidence, as she held her finger aloft. However, wasn't she fundamentally missing the point?
"Wouldn't the technical schools have their exams about the same time as the universities … ?"
Was she really someone who had only recently been studying for university exams? However, Tsukiyama Minako-sama was not one to back down quickly.
"There are schools where you don't have to take an entrance exam."
"But if there's no entrance exam, there's no reason to study, right?"
Now who's the airhead?
"Maybe she's going to study abroad?"
"I have no idea."
Yumi's head was spinning in circles. The first she'd heard of any of this was yesterday after school, during the conversation about Sachiko-sama's study addiction.
Well, Sachiko-sama had seemed kind of busy recently. She no longer came to the Rose Mansion, she was only just making it to school on time, and two days ago she had hurried back to her classroom immediately after Yumi had presented Touko with her rosary.
(Oh … ?)
It was strange, after all. The way she acted back then just wasn't normal for her.
Looking at each incident individually, there was nothing there. But when you put them all together in a short period of time, it seemed to point to the existence of some unseen force.
"Anyway, we'll have to end our little chat here."
Yumi was still thinking about it when Minako-sama held something out to her.
"Sorry, but I need you to read this now. If there's no problems, we'll print it today and distribute it tomorrow."
It was the Lillian Kawaraban extra edition. Well, the test print of it anyway. There were some places where corrections had been written in red pen over the top of the printed words.
Even if it was called an extra edition, it was about half the size of the regular one. The headline and photos of Yumi and Touko took up most of the page, the article itself wasn't that long. The review was quickly completed.
"So you didn't drag me here just to talk about the rumor?"
Yumi handed back the test print as she said this. There weren't any particularly worrying passages. Probably no need to check with Touko.
"Well of course. Everything we've talked about up to now has been just a friendly chat, nothing more."
"That you'll turn into a newspaper article."
Minako-sama turned away.
"It's just that I'm worried about Sachiko-san."
Using the test print as a substitute folding-fan and fanning herself. Even though it was cold in the club room.
 Part 2.
On her way back from the clubhouse, Yumi spotted Touko.
Running through the courtyard like a galloping steed.
"Tou – "
Yumi started to call out, but stopped herself.
Right now, Touko wouldn't be able to hear her. There was a light shining in her eyes, but she wasn't seeing her current surroundings.
The words that Noriko-chan spoke were hazy, but Yumi felt as though she could now understand them better.
About the clear distinction between the real and the fictional. About the mess you make when you put a fresh layer of paint next to a still wet layer of paint in a different color.
Touko was, at present, not here.
The girl with her hair rolls swinging as she ran, inside, was someone other than Touko. Someone Yumi didn't know, a character from a play.
Touko flew into the clubhouse building that Yumi herself had left not long ago.
She had probably eaten her lunch in her classroom and would spend the rest of the lunch break rehearsing.
After watching for a little while longer, Yumi walked off towards the Rose Mansion.
Touko would be fine.
There was nothing Yumi could do about the bumps and bruises. She couldn't raise a fuss or distract Touko from her task.
They were probably essential for Touko to become that 'someone.'
 Part 3.
"If I knew you were going to the clubhouse, I would have asked you to stop by the manga club's clubroom."
A regretful Shimako-san was waiting for Yumi when she arrived at the Rose Mansion.
"Oh, right. Today's the deadline for the questionnaire, isn't it?"
"Hey, you, you're always slow."
Having finished eating and returned her lunch-box to its bag, Yoshino-san was leaning back grandiosely, looking up at the ceiling. In contrast, Yumi was just opening her lunch-box. Ooh, chicken for lunch today.
After thanking Noriko-chan for bringing over a cup of roasted green tea, Yumi spoke.
"But I talked to Minato-san about it today, and she said she thought they should be able to complete the form."
Minato-san from the manga club was in the same class as Yumi and Yoshino-san.
Yoshino-san shot Yumi a look that said, 'Why didn't I hear about this since we're in the same class?' before she spoke.
"If they can do it, why haven't they handed it in?"
Now Yoshino-san had curled forwards, and spoke in a low voice. The busy-work was increasing and things weren't progressing as smoothly as planned, and this was how Yoshino-san was trying to deal with it.
Well, Yumi could understand, kind of. The 'Third years send-off' was, in a way, their debut as Roses. The pressure to put on a wonderful display, without any assistance from their onee-samas, was enough to make Yumi want to scream like never before.
"Their club president has been absent and it seemed like the regular members didn't know about the deadline."
Yumi was deftly brandishing her chopsticks. Incidentally, the manga club's president was a third-year – Minato-san's onee-sama.
"Surely she would have known the dates for her exams and results publication beforehand? If she was going to be absent, she should have delegated to someone."
"Oh, it wasn't exams, she's had a cold."
"...Well, not much you can do about that."
Yoshino-san finally backed down. Catching a cold was one of those things you couldn't plan for in advance. Although Yoshino-san did have a short whinge about how, regrettably, her cold seemed to be lingering for quite some time.
In contrast to that.
"Did the club president take the form with her?"
Already Rosa Gigantea, and having organized a successfully 'Third Year's Send-off' last year, Shimako-san was calm as she inquired.
"Nope. Minato-san thought it was probably somewhere in the clubroom, so was going to look for it at lunch. Even so..."
'They might not have enough time,' Yumi thought. She'd been to their clubroom a while ago and there had been paper everywhere, with ink and pens stuffed into what little free space there was. The impression you got of the place was more of a storage room than a clubhouse. Finding a single print-out in there would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
"Sounds like it could be difficult."
The other three seemed to have guessed the general state of affairs.
"It might be quicker to write out another one for them."
Yumi took a blank survey sheet from the shelf and folded it in half.
"Anyway, leave the manga club to me. I'll get it from them today, one way or another."
Having assumed this responsibility, Yumi returned to her lunch.
 Part 4.
Yumi made her way over to the clubhouse after school and successfully collected a completed survey from Minato-san, just like she had promised.
Apparently Minato-san had spent the entirety of her lunch-break unearthing the one-page printout from within the mountain of paper. In other words, she had been in the clubhouse while Yumi was having her little chat with Minako-sama in the newspaper club's clubroom, as well as while Touko was having her one-on-one rehearsal session with the president of the drama club.
"Sorry about that. Making you come all the way out here to get it."
Minato-san giggled nervously as she gently scratched her short hair. Her voice was as cute as ever. Her appearance was boyish but her voice was sweet, and yet she drew horror manga. The discrepancy was huge.
"The lunch-break was almost over when I found it, and there wasn't time to take it to the Rose Mansion so I left it in the clubroom thinking I'd do that after school. I was worried I'd lose it if I took it with me."
The clubroom seemed tidier than the last time Yumi had been here, probably as a direct consequence of Minato-san's lunchtime search. Initially, Yumi had been fascinated by a row of vividly colored illustrations that looked like they were on display.
"What are these?"
Yumi asked, pointing at a pile of monochrome sketches in the corner.
"Ahh. If we had the space, those would be on display as well. They were an experiment to see how differently you could draw mangas with the same layout and the same text."
It looked like there was one page that served as the layout template, and then within that template the club members were free to draw whatever they wanted. The layout and the text were all identical, but the final products were all wonderfully different. A school story, a mystery, a period drama, and a horror piece. Even though the text was the same, they could use it however they wanted. The fact that they were all in black and white seemed to reinforce each piece's individuality.
Yumi admired them one at a time. Yeah, it had a strong impact.
"No, no. Our manga club still has a long way to go."
Minato-san demurred, waving her hands like windscreen wipers.
"The drama club are incredible, the way they're slamming around."
"They'd come flying out into the hallway when they used too much force. I only saw that two or three times though."
"I had no idea."
The slamming seemed to be happening quite frequently. If that's the case, then it's no surprise that Touko would have a few cuts and bruises.
"Are they doing some kind of pro-wrestling play?"
Yumi shook her head. The only thing that was written on the form they submitted and the program was 'The Drama Club's March Performance.' Perhaps because they hadn't decided on what they were to perform, or perhaps because they wanted to keep it a secret until the curtain was raised.
"That girl with the hair rolls, she's your petit soeur, right, Yumi-san? Is she okay?"
It looked like that rumor had already spread far and wide, even without the help of the Lillian Kawaraban.
 Part 5.
As Yumi was leaving the clubhouse, she saw a familiar face.
"If you're after Touko-chan, she's not here."
The drama club's president was wearing her school coat and carrying her bag. She'd probably left something behind in the clubroom and came back for it. Either that or she was planning on secluding herself in the clubroom and working on something.
Yumi hadn't actually come here to see Touko, but there was no need to say that. When they passed each other, Yumi smiled and nodded, while the drama club's president spoke.
"Because she wanted to go to the Rose Mansion today."
Thinking that the club president was calling her to stop, Yumi slowly turned around. The club president was facing her. They had swapped positions but, as before, they were still facing off against each other.
Yumi had no unfinished business here, but it looked like her opponent did. Yumi fished the girl's name from her memory. Internally, Yumi thought of her as the 'drama club's president,' but there was no way she was going to use that when talking to her.
"It must be rough on Touko-chan. Especially at this time of the year, now that she's the petit soeur of one of next year's Roses."
The answer popped out of Yumi's mouth before she was conscious of it. That's right. Tsukasa-san. The girl's name was Takagi Tsukasa-san.
Yumi had probably heard it from Touko, when she was relaying Tsukasa-san's consent to their becoming soeurs.
"I suppose you could call it selfless devotion. How she figured out a way to have time to help with the Yamayurikai work … by rehearsing during lunch break."
Not knowing how to respond, Yumi kept silent. Tsukasa-san said, "Looks like you already knew about that," then smiled and sighed.
"Then how about the cuts and bruises on her arms and legs?"
Yumi nodded. She hadn't seen them for herself, but had heard about it from Noriko-chan.
"Yeah, you say. Can you really claim to be Touko-chan's onee-sama?"
Tsukasa-san seemed shocked as she spat that out.
"Or is it that you think nothing of her because you didn't have to put in any effort to make her your petit soeur? So you don't care about what's happening to her when you can't see her."
It took Yumi a while to comprehend this quick-fire stream of condemnation. She barely managed to deny the final statement that lingered in her ears.
"It's not that I don't care about her."
"In the first place, how do you feel about her?"
No matter how you look at it, those words were meant to be an attack on Yumi. Yet for some reason Tsukasa-san wore an expression suggesting that she was the one being attacked. Of course, this was different from questions such as "What do you mean?" or "What's wrong?" that her classmates would ask innocently.
"Hey, you. About Touko – "
Normally Yumi could be quite thick-headed, but for some reason she realized what was happening. Even though she had snapped back, Tsukasa-san's conduct was still considerably more impolite. Tsukasa-san looked away, her face reddening as though with anger.
"I like her. That's why I asked her. 'Please be my petit soeur.' But don't worry, she turned me down straight away."
It would probably be inappropriate to say 'sorry' at this point. Even so, Yumi couldn't think of anything appropriate to say, and silently watched Tsukasa-san.
"I've been thinking about it for a long time. I knew that Touko-chan liked you, but I've been wondering what you thought of her. It's obvious you don't hate her, since you gave her your rosary. So, then, how much do you like her? About half as much as I do? If only there were some scale on which you could measure love, I'd like to see that."
There was no way to answer the question, 'How much do you like her?' Should she hold her hands wide apart and say, 'This much,' or perhaps use the expression 'Taller than Mt Fuji,' or, even, 'Bigger than a galaxy.'
Feelings of love dwell within a person's heart and they're impossible to extract, so there's no way of measuring them. They're not restricted to the span of someone's arms, or the size of a galaxy.
"Didn't you only become soeurs because she asked to be your petit soeur during the Valentine's Day event?"
Tsukasa-san's gaze skewered Yumi.
Yumi thought about how to answer that question, and firmed her resolve.
Yumi thought, 'This is a stage.' There were only two characters in this play. At some point, she had strayed onto a stage from which she couldn't escape.
I'm not an actress, but I'm not going to use that as an excuse to run away. To be rude to this person who thinks so highly of Touko would also be to betray Touko.
"It's entirely possible that I became aware of my love for Touko some time after you did. It's also possible that if there were some way to measure the scale of our affection, that I would lose out to you. But my feelings towards Touko are most definitely not superficial."
Words can be used to say anything. It doesn't make it true. That's what Tsukasa-san's eyes were saying.
"We became soeurs after she asked to be my petit soeur. There's no denying that. However, prior to that, I had already been turned down by her once."
Tsukasa-san's eyes went wide.
"On the day of the second semester closing ceremony. It was an honorable defeat."
"I would never lie about this."
It was Yumi's war wound. But despite this, now that they were soeurs she became able to face that event. At the time, Yumi had taken so much damage that she didn't know what she should do. In refusing the offer, Touko had probably been hurt more than Yumi. It was Yumi's single most painful memory.
War wounds aren't something that you generally show to other people, much less use as a cover for a lie.
"I don't understand. Why would she turn you down?"
Yumi thought better of responding, since it was a question of Touko's feelings.
"So, you see, I was the one who asked her. And on Valentine's Day, Touko responded to my feelings. That's how I interpreted it."
However, Tsukasa-san wasn't about to accept that explanation.
"Even if you have liked Touko-chan for so long, why didn't you say anything? Instead of silently watching. You didn't consider that I might have been beating her?"
Now that the question had been asked, Yumi paused to consider it. And then she found the answer that most closely reflected what she felt in her heart.
"Because I trust Touko."
Probably. If anything happened, Touko would tell her about it.
She would seek assistance.
That Touko hadn't told Yumi about it didn't mean that it was something she couldn't tell her about, but that it was something that there was no need to tell her about.
"But, from now on, I think I'll be able to trust you as well."
Yumi smiled at Tsukasa-san. Looking closely at her hands, she had fresh scratches on her as well.
"Yumi-san … "
Tsukasa-san stood frozen in shock as she whispered this. Then, gradually, like ice melting, her face began to slacken. The mask fell, just for a moment, and her true face was visible beneath it.
"I was so annoyed whenever I saw you. I knew I might end up feeling miserable if I opened my mouth, but I couldn't stop myself. Finally, I said it."
Looking up at the sky, cursing her mistake.
"But, still. I knew I was going to say something one day. And even if I did end up feeling miserable, I would still have felt better about saying it. I was convinced I was right. So, I thought, why not have a go. But after actually saying it, I feel even worse. I'm such an idiot."
Tsukasa-san smiled after saying this. Instead, she had been shown how deep the bonds were between Yumi and Touko. Then she turned to Yumi.
Her prominent breasts, the strength behind her eyes, her short hair and those proud cheekbones – she had the appearance of a model posing for a photo.
"But I'm not going to lose either."
Her mask firmly back in place, Tsukasa-san spoke in a loud, resonant voice.
"I don't think the match is over just yet."
"Oh, don't make that face. I'm not about to snatch your cute petit soeur. But losing isn't in my nature. So now I'll just have to find something that you'll never be able to do."
Before Yumi even had a chance to ask, 'What?'
"I'll show Touko-chan how to sparkle on stage."
That was definitely something that Yumi wouldn't be able to do. Not just Yumi. It's possible that no-one she had met would be able to match it with Touko in that arena.
For Touko's sake. For the sake of making Touko sparkle, this girl was determined to go on stage. The only person who would be able to do that was, probably, this here Takagi Tsukasa.
Yumi thought, 'Which one of them was supposed to be selflessly devoted?'
Then, in her mind, Yumi said 'I'll leave it to you,' and bowed her head. Because if she said it out loud, the response would probably be, 'I'm not doing this for you.'
"Sorry for detaining you."
Tsukasa-san said, then turned her back once more. Turning towards the clubhouse she took a few steps forwards. She didn't lose her focus, even as she was walking away. She was still an actress.
When Yumi turned around and started walking towards the Rose Mansion, a voice called out to her from behind. Turning around, Tsukasa-san was standing in the clubhouse's entrance, looking at her.
"I've changed my mind about one thing."
"I'm glad there's no scale that can measure affection."
Smiling brightly, Tsukasa-san disappeared into the clubhouse.
 Part 6.
"Geeze, where have you been?"
When Yumi opened the 'biscuit-door' on the second floor of the Rose Mansion, Yoshino-san was waiting there, looking intimidating.
"What do you mean? I went to see the manga club."
Hadn't she told them about that during lunch? Yumi waved the recently retrieved questionnaire form in the air. There was no need to tell Yoshino-san and the others about her run-in with Tsukasa-san, as that didn't relate to them directly. Touko was there, just like Tsukasa-san had said, but Yumi didn't plan to tell her about their conversation either.
Yumi handed the completed questionnaire form to Yoshino-san and was walking over to the drawer to return the blank paper she had taken at lunch when she heard a frosty voice calling from behind.
"You were late, so she went home."
Looking around, all the usual members were present. Shimako-san, Yoshino-san, Noriko-chan and Touko. It was Touko who spoke next.
"Rosa Chinensis, onee-sama."
"She waited for about ten minutes, but then she left."
Noriko-chan said, as she cleaned one of the tea cups. It was probably the one that Yumi's onee-sama had sipped tea from as she waited for Yumi to return.
"How long ago was this?"
"About fifteen minutes ago. She said she couldn't stay too long because she had something to do at home."
Shimako-san said, her eyebrows lowered in commiseration.
"...She's gone home then."
"How unlucky is that," Yumi thought. It was only at times like these, when her onee-sama came all the way to the Rose Mansion just to see her, that she wasn't there.
"I wonder what she's going to do at home. Study?"
Yoshino-san asked, folding her arms.
"Who knows. You didn't ask her?"
"You said you were going to ask her, Yumi-san, so we all refrained from asking even though we wanted to."
"Sorry. I haven't asked her yet."
Yoshino-san's overreaction made it seem as though the sky was falling.
"That's why I said 'sorry.'"
Yoshino-san expressed her disbelief at Yumi's actions, so Yumi pacified her before turning to Shimako-san, who looked capable of holding a sensible conversation, and asking:
"Did she say why she came here?"
"She didn't give a specific reason. Perhaps she just wanted to see your face, Yumi-san?"
"Like she gets unsettled if she doesn't see your face at least once a day, that kind of thing?"
Yoshino-san teased from the sidelines. Yumi would have been overjoyed if that theory was true, but it probably wasn't.
"We saw each other today, but just for a moment. We walked past each other in the hallway."
"So why didn't you ask her about the rumor then?"
Yoshino-san seemed annoyed at the delay, niggling away at her.
"Because we were moving between classes. All of our classmates were around, and I didn't want to ask her about it in front of everyone."
"Ah, back then, huh."
Yoshino-san was in the same class and it didn't take her long to visualize the circumstances, so she let the matter drop.
Seeing that Yoshino-san had fallen silent, the usually quiet Shimako-san spoke.
"Touko-chan, do you have that – "
Touko held out something towards Yumi, as a way of informing her what 'that' was.
"It's a letter from Rosa Chinensis. I've been looking after it for you."
A folded, white piece of paper was being held out to her. It looked like report paper, or similar, and was folded four times. The origami-esque manner in which it was folded gave it a completely different visual impression to the folded notes that were passed around during class.
Sachiko-sama had probably written it here, just before leaving, when Yumi hadn't returned.
"Sachiko-sama left that behind?"
So Yoshino-san hadn't known. Despite looking so self-important when she chided Yumi for her tardiness, it seemed as though Yoshino-san hadn't actually been there when Sachiko-sama came to visit either.
"What could I do? I had to go to a kendo club meeting."
"I'm not criticizing you."
"You didn't have to. Your expression said it all, Yumi-san."
Good point. No matter how dignified or well-spoken Yumi tried to be, that fact still remained. She had a face that reflected whatever she was thinking, with stunning clarity.
Yumi took the letter from Touko and opened it immediately. Yoshino-san came over to have a look, but Yumi decided that she would read it by herself first since she didn't know what the contents of the letter would be.
Rudely turning her back on everyone, Yumi let her gaze fall on the words written there. Then.
She said, without thinking. Drawn in by Yumi's voice, her friends gathered around and read the contents of the letter. They too were at a loss for words.
There were a mere three lines, written in that familiar handwriting.
Yumi, Tomorrow after school, wait behind the gymnasium. Sachiko.
– Was her onee-sama challenging her to a fight?
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