Like Hell I’m Gonna Get Captured! - Chapter 17
’’Morning, Sora. You have school right?’’
’’Yeah. I have to go to the ball game tournament.’’
Alright, good morning everyone.
Today is Sunday. Finally, the day is nigh.
Despite how it sounds, it's not anything grandiose, but the day of the ball game tournament has arrived.
The guys in my class and a portion of the girls have been getting pumped up, but for me, it's an event not worth worrying about.
I mean, as the champion, you can get a ticket to eat the daily special meal for free, but that has nothing to do with me who brings her own lunch.
It's extremely annoying to have to go out of my way to attend school on a Sunday.
’’I wonder if it would be fine if I brought a camera and took pictures of Sora doing her best...’’
Mom puts her hand on her chin and mumbles.
Okaa-sama, this is different from something like a cultural festival so... It's not a tourist attraction open to the public.
’’......Since it's not a cultural festival, please make sure to go watch Riku's match, Okaa-san.’’
Today is Riku's Under-16 Representative debut, and he has an friendly international match.
Well, though I say that, it's just some opening act thing before the A-representatives. I want to go watch.
It's my younger brother's first big stage you know? Why can't I skip school feigning illness!?
’’Nee-chan. I'm, going to do my best, so do your best too, Nee-chan.’’
’’Yeah, go get 'em Riku.’’
Leave it to me! Riku exclaims as he throws out his chest. I give that Riku a backwards glance, and I am a little sullen that I can't go watch him.
I won't have time to get to school if I were to continue this conversation, so I leave the house.
But Riku, is tough! No matter what I've said, that guy is probably not nervous at all. As my younger brother, he is important to me.
’’Morning-!! Let's do our best today!’’
When I arrive at school and enter the classroom, Kiho, who notices me, energetically greets me.
As usual, Kaede-chan has a smiling face.
’’Morning you two. You sure are energetic today, Kiho.’’
I can't stop myself from responding while smiling wryly.
Wow, good for you, you're so pumped up even though it's just a ball game tournament. (Sarcastic)
While thinking such things, I accidentally let out, ’’That's the only thing good about you!’’
Not really. I know a lot of Kiho's good points after all.
Like how she's so energetic, or her energetic smile, or that cheerfulness which makes others feel cheerful.
......H, Huh? Only her energetic parts came out!? It's not exactly uncommon to have cheerfulness as the only redeeming trait right?
......W, Well, being energetic is a good thing!!
’’But, thanks to that redeeming feature, now we can all be energetic.’’
Kaede-chan, nice follow-up! Yes, I also wanted to say that!
Man~, it really is like that. When you get to our level of friendship, there's tacit understanding, is that what it's called? Reliably conveying the things you want to say is easy!
.......Yeah, sorry. I digress.
But, suppose that Kiho's only strong point is her energy. With just that, her strong point will pierce the heavens, and she will become something like the ultimately charming woman. So there's no problem. Surely it'll be like that.
Afterwards, Deer (read: Sensei) enters the classroom, and we begin simple homeroom.
He talks about how today is the ball game tournament, encourages us, and tells us to be careful not to injure ourselves.
We go to the locker room to change afterwards, and the ball game tournament starts.
We've finished changing right now and are meeting at the school yard.
However, this, I've worn this jersey many times already, but every time, this design is just ughh, I unfortunately think.
’’You know guys, this jersey's design is sure lacking. Can't something be done about it...’’
’’Really? Isn't it cool!?’’
’’......I am a little embarrassed.’’
Although I couldn't get Kiho's agreement, Kaede-chan seems embarrassed as I expected.
MhmMhm. I also wholeheartedly agree. It's embarrassing you know. This design that has a picture of a dragon on it.
Yes, you probably don't believe me, but our school's designated jersey has a dragon design on it.
On the back is a dragon drawn along with the characters for Ryuusen. And, the girls' jersey is red, and the guys' jersey is black.
By the way, it seems that our school also uses this design for its windbreakers, and I've seen students grumble, ’’what kind of divine punishment is this,’’ about having to wear them to away games.
Since ’’Dragon Spring School’’ is its name, some may think think it's here to stay, but since this is a school, isn't it inevitable to think, ’’wouldn't a simpler design be better?’’
Whoever thought of this design is surely afflicted by a disease particular to second year middle school students, let's believe that for now. I'll be surprised if that isn't true.
Ah, greetings are over. It ended while I was thinking some inconsequential things.
For the time being, let's head to the gymnasium.
’’Ah, because my match is soon, I will be leaving. Do your best you two.’’
’’Ah, is that so? ......Kiho. When was our match again?’’
’’Nnn~yeah. There's still one hour. Alright, let's go cheer on Kaede!’’
When I enquired Kiho, she quickly gets what I wanted to say and responds.
Well, I won't know anyone this time.
’’Thank you very much. That is reassuring.’’
Says Kaede-chan, seemingly happy.
When we arrive at the gymnasium, it seems the match will start soon, and the interschool announcements are going on.
’’Then, I will be going.’’
’’Yeah, do your best.’’
We send off Kaede-chan who heads towards the court, and we head up to the audience seats.
The match starts. It appears that the serve will come from the opponent, not our class.
Kaede-chan doesn't exercise much, and she said it wasn't her forte. Will she be okay?
I've heard a volleyball fairly hurts you know. Things like jamming your finger is scary. I hope she doesn't overexert herself.
’’Kiho, will Kaede-chan be okay?’’
I end up asking about the little thing that worries me.
I won't forgive anyone who injures my cute Kaede-chan. Well, the opponents are also girls, so it's super evidently clear that I can't bring out my full strength! (Lit: More obvious than looking at fire 火を見るより明らか)
’’Don't worry! Kaede-chan is kinda amazing during volleyball! Well, she's not at all when on offense!’’
Kiho replies. What?
’’What do you mean?’’
I ask and tilt my head.
’’You'll understand when you see it!’’
Well, if she goes that far, I'll obediently be watching.
The whistle signaling the beginning of the match echoes, and the opponent serves.
Is it coincidence? That serve flies as if sucked into the corner of the court. Aahh, so it's already over, I was led to believe after seeing enough of the ball's course.
However, a point was not scored. Kaede-chan, who should have been set up in the middle position, jumps and somehow saves the ball.
It couldn't be helped that my voice leaks out unintentionally, ’’Ohh!’’
Afterwards too, Kaede-chan completely defended all of the opponent's attacks, not allowing the opponent any points.
Well, when it comes to setting or spiking, is she altogether useless? She bitterly smiles while continuously making plays, but nevertheless, when it comes to protecting against points, she has some incredible movements.
’’......Kaede-chan, is amazing.’’
’’IKR? But, you wouldn't be able to tell no matter what you're told about her! She can only defend yet can't offense at all, someone like me isn't amazing. Just like I said!’’ (Maybe a reference to something?)
Kiho says while imitating someone's voice.
Certainly, she's probably lacking when on the offensive side, but there's also a position called the Libero, so if she practices diligently, can't she become a regular and a force to be reckoned with? Thinking that far, Kaede-chan's defense abilities were high.
’’It's kinda like.......while telling people they weren't normal, Kaede-chan was also kind of not normal.’’
’’Yeah . The only normal one is me!’’
Hey, no. That's not right you know. I think you aren't exactly normal either you know, Kiho?
’’I don't think you can exactly be called normal either.’’
’’.......If you're the one telling me that, Sora, it kinda feels like the final nail in the coffin.’’
NoNoNo, isn't that too mean!?
I am normal. Well, I did persevere ever since childhood, so you may not recognize that as normal.
But all that is, is the difference between humans who do, and humans who do not. I am normal!
’’And that is why I'm normal.’’
’’As if! It's impossible for you to be normal Sora!’’
.......It was declared de gozaru.
Unwilling to accept that I'm not normal, are Kiho and Kaede-chan who also aren't normal.
What is this kind of thing called again? .....Ah, that. Birds of a feather flock together, that thing.
To be outright rejected is kinda... a little depressing...
I'm supposed to be a normal human being who just merely endeavored a little bit...
The whistle peals, signaling the end of the match. It seems that in order to reduce the match time, we're only doing one set.
The end result is our, class 3's, victory. Kaede-chan held steadfast defending the center, giving an impression of a defensive victory.
Speaking of Kaede-chan, she's surrounded by her teammates shouting, ’’Amazing! Amazing!’’ Nothing like that is happening. They're being equal and humble.
YepYep. That sort of thing is one of Kaede-chan's virtues. But, I wish she'd have some more confidence in herself.
’’Sora, let's head down and go to Kaede-chan.’’
We have to thank Kaede-chan who worked so hard.
’’Good work out there. You were amazing.’’
’’Good Work !’’
’’Ah, Sora-san, Kiho-chan! Thank you very much.’’
When we go down and speak to Kaede-chan, she looks over her shoulder, and her full-blown smile is turned towards us.
Oh crap. Your Onee-san is becoming dizzy.
You being so cute is a sin. No matter what, I cannot let myself be tempted.
Because I'm not one of those cute types, I'm a little envious of cute girls. I mean, if I had a face of someone who's cute, I'd worship myself everyday, maybe? It'd be unbearable. Meh, if I could have such face, I'd put in as much effort as I could to make it cute! Then, I'd stare at it everyday, as if in a trance! It feels bad to talk about myself like that, but I mean, I can't help myself.
Since I've already gotten used to seeing the face I have right now!
'Kay, I put a lot of energy into that story, and it derailed into a weird direction. Let's come back to reality.
At the moment, we're heading to the gymnasium where our own match is going to be held.
Kaede-chan too, since it seems she has a good amount of time until her next match. She'll be cheering us on. Happiness.
When we arrive at the gymnasium, shrill screams that are earth-shattering cheers in name only comes out from the inside.
I think about what the heck just happened, and I quickly arrive at a conclusion. That is, the guys in our class are supposed to be playing basketball at this time.
’’What an amazing cheer-’’ (Kiho)
’’Shall we also go cheer!?’’
’’Sora-, we're going to cheer them on!’’
Nn? eh, ahh. I was wondering if those cheers are because of those guys. I'm called by Kiho while staring into space thinking. It seems we're going to cheer them on.
It's fine if we don't right? Cheering. No matter how you think about it, those guys will usually win after all. Cheering will have no effect.
That said, when I thought that, my hand was pulled in the opposite direction, and I was being brought inside. Would you be able to resist a cute girl who was tightly grabbing your hand? You wouldn't right? Same here.
And thusly, with no regards to my thoughts, I'm brought inside.
When we arrive inside, what is this, a live-idol concert hall or something? The atmosphere packed into the gymnasium made me want to say.
The ratio of spectators was about 8:1 in favor of females. Those people have fans with pictures and names on them, and as it stands, it really is starting to feel like an Idol Live.
It is quiet in the middle of the play, but when the point is scored, shrill shrieks resonate throughout the gymnasium. There is nothing worse than this for your ears, yeah.
The eyes of the guys in the opposing class are completely dead. Well, what else would you expect? Though the girls that I think are in the same class as them are holding back, they are delightedly going *Kya~Kya~* whenever the guys in our class score a point.
Girls that have no relation to us are all cheering for class 3. Nonetheless, girls in my own class who should have been cheering primarily for us are cheering for the other side.
Then, as if not wanting to make enemies of those girls, half the guys cheering for our class 3 flee as if I were the opponent. With this level of sulking, for just a moment, a feeling like I'm at an away game is created. (I'm pretty sure I didn't get this wrong, but it just doesn't make sense...)
’’What incredible encouragement-! Also look, it's a complete stomp!’’
’’It truly is amazing.’’
’’......The opponents are kinda pitiful.’’
When we go up to the audience seats and look at the scoreboard, there's already a 20 point difference.
Without considering the cheering, the difference in ability is clear, and their enemies are Super Ikemens. As expected, it's a spectacle that inspires sympathy for the opponent.
Thinking about what this scene is called, I arrive at the words: Public Execution, and Kiho begins to talk to me.
’’Hey all three of us, let's shout out ’’Do your best’’ on the count of three!’’
’’Great idea. Let us do it.’’
’’No way, it's embarrassing.’’
Besides, doesn't it seem like we'll win by a considerable margin even if we don't say it?
’’Hey, don't say that! The guys in the same class are working so hard!’’
’’That is correct. Let us say it together.’’
.......Uu, when I'm told by these two, I feel weak.
No good, I'd do anything when I'm begged by these girls. To not listen to cute girls' requests, there's no way I can do it. No, but, this time is embarrassing...
.......In the end, I can't win against you two, I said, and although I was reluctant, I could only comply.
Ahh, yeah. It was impossible this time too in the end. I'm weak to cute girls after all.
’’Alright! On three okay?’’
’’I'm going to say it!’’
’’DO YOUR BEST-!’’
.......Because we said it right before the play started, the surroundings were quiet, and outside my expectations, it resounded.
At that instant, they didn't say anything.
I feel gazes coming from here, there, everywhere, as if the entire gymnasium is observing me.
Is the expression, ’’burning with shame,’’ usable at this time? I've experienced that directly with my body. I didn't want to know!
I seize Kiho, who is making a face beside me that said, I deceived you!, by the shoulders and shake her. I couldn't help it.
I'm not feeling that I'm not on the verge of tears, but I'm not paying any attention to that. More importantly, I have to get out of her why I had to suffer this kind of bad treatment!
’’Oh man -, Sora was a-mazingly cute, gallantly cheering them on alone...’’
’’Truly, amazingly cute.’’
Hey, my face is entirely red here, I'm feeling readily embarrassed here, and what are you guys talking about?
I've had enough. You two, is it okay if I hit you with my fist? Yes. It's fine. Indeed, I, will allow it.
’’......I am really sorry.’’
The two are properly reflecting.
My hand is throbbing a little bit, but I'll let it go at this.
However, when I tried asking why they did such a thing, they fidgeted and said that they were struck with the idea that, wouldn't it be cute? I'd really get mad if there were just a bit more bad intention!
After that transpired, the match ended.
I'm left with a feeling of not having seen much in the end, but whatever.
According to Kiho's details of the match, after I cheered, the guys of the opposing class had expressions as if all hope in this world had been lost, and they were one-sidedly defeated, it seems.
C'mon, why would those guys of the opposing class make faces like that? It's only my cheering, nothing more.
Moreover, I'm in class 3 after all;isn't it natural for me to cheer for my own class?
I'm told by Kiho that if I really believe that, then I don't understand the hearts of men.
Hah, that's impossible.
’’Then, let's go down!’’
’’Let us descend.’’
They say, and I'm again dragged along by those two.
I kind of feel like my role recently has always been something like this, but surely it's just my imagination, right?
’’Oh, so you guys really did come.’’
When we come down, is that Tatebayashi who notices us? In a trivial manner, he raises a hand and calls out to us.
But, what did he mean by ’’really did’’?
’’Because we heard a random, lovely encouragement in the middle of the play.’’
Houzouin says in response to my question. However, judging from the half-smile on his face, he knows it was me, no doubt.
This guy. I wonder if he's not coming to the match after this.
’’But, having the school idol cheering for us feels really good-.’’
’’Felt 100 times more energized.’’
From the top, Imagawa-kun, Nabeshima-kun, Sanada-kun.
However, 'school idol,' isn't that going too far? Well, if it's my idol, I already have two.
......Hm? School Idol? Somehow, I only get a bad premonition from that.
’’Ahh, Katagiri-san, some reason, it seems you've started being called that recently. Surely, Ryuusen Winter Festival is going to be troublesome-.’’ (Can you tell who this is? Look at the horizontal lines.)
Me being an idol, what kind of harassment is this? If I could just just live my life in tranquility and peace, having fun with cute girls, that would be great.
Also, Imagawa-kun, talk. Just what is going to be troublesome?
Since a while ago, I've constantly been feeling nothing but bad omens.
’’Looking forward to it-. Ryuusen Festival's Miss Contest!’’
Ahh, so that's it. Of course that's it. Of course there's that type of event.
’’Well, no matter what, it seems you're already rising as the favorite for the title. Fight on.’’
......Tatebayashi says, making a smile like he's having a lot of fun at another person's business.
I absolutely won't say anything, because I know he's going to say it's definitely my business. I absolutely won't say anything!
’’Well, it hasn't been long since you entered school, but you are even first place in the 'Ryuusen Rankings by People Who Want To Be Stepped On.'’’
......Nn? What is that weird ranking?
There are people who want to be stepped on by me? They will be crushed. Is that fine?... Lately, there exist some nasty rankings. Those rankings', manager?, just what is he doing, using people's names... All-right, Tatebayashi. Teach me all about the origin of this weird ranking.
It is absolutely necessary that I do my job of exterminating the creators of this ranking.
’’What, is this ranking?’’
’’Dunno. Heard from Nabeshima.’’
So the source is Nabeshima-kun huh? All-right, Nabeshima-kun. Tell me. I'm obliged to obliterate them.
’’I'm sorry. Because I still want to attend Ryuusen, I cannot inform you.’’
......He says with a very honest face, and he lowers his head.
No, well, if you go that far, I give up. I don't really get it, but is that source reliable? Isn't it a very dangerous source? I wonder...
’’H,hey more importantly, isn't it-... almost time for your match?’’
Nn? Ah, crap. I have to go.
Yeah so one thing led to another, and we're now in the finals. Our opponents are upperclassmen from Year 3 Class 1.
Nn? What about the various matches like the first one? There are circumstances regarding young ladies. I can't help you.
Well, it ended very simply, Kaede-chan and the three girls from the volleyball club lost in their third match. Well, due to various circumstances, their opponent was a class of third years, so I don't think there was anything they could've done. They did their best though. Then, the guys won basketball without any trouble. They even overwhelmed the third year opponents you know. As expected, all their athletic prowess was concentrated in two people. Baseball and Soccer teams also seemed to get 2nd place. And now is our Female Basketball. Thanks to Kiho's ability, and Maede-san, Nakahigashi-san, Gotou-san, and me working hard, we've won up until here.
Ah, Maede-san, Nakahigashi-san, and Gotou-san, are the three girls from the volleyball club.
And, actually, let's see. Even if we win this round, or lose this round, it's been decided that we're 2nd place, so our class's overall victory has been decided at the point in time.
A sad conclusion, a.k.a. the throwaway match, is waiting for us after. In other words, there's no meaning in going all out.
Well, from the beginning, I was watching in blank amazement, but only when we managed to come this far did I feel like just trying to go all out.
However, when I tried it, it was unexpectedly fun, and at least until the end, I might like to use all my strength. Or something like that, I was thinking.
’’......Kiho, our opponents, aren't they big?’’
’’......Yeah, they're big.’’
Yes, there are two extremely large people within the opposing team.
Those two most likely are 180cm (5’’11). How will the volleyball club members handle them? It'd be terrible to be guarded by those two.
’’Maeda! Nakahigashi! Gotou! Bring out everything you got!’’
I think a guy with a tall figure who seems to be a glasses-intellectual kind of guy yells out to the three girls. The three of them straighten their backs jerkily as they respond.
’’H,He's the volleyball club's captain and ace.’’
By the way, the ace guy is being selected for elite strength training, I was told when I asked.
Also, I was told some information about the sports clubs, also it seems these three are the captain of the lacrosse club, vice captain of the tennis club, and ace of the athletic club.
......Yeah, aren't these people's athletic ability too high? And next to them are us two from the go home club.
Well, even though I say Kiho is in the go home club, she's amazingly good at basketball.
Before I give 120%, the question is, isn't there no way we can win?
The match starts.
The jump ball belongs of course to the 3rd year team. Well, I knew, so it isn't frustrating.
The Lacrosse team captain is in charge of following the ball, and the other two volleyball members are under the basket. They're the type of players who makes the best of their height and score points off the rebound.
Soon, this'll be over. It will be over. At any rate, their tallest player is nearly 10 centimeters taller than ours. By no means can we stop them. They're securely passing the ball, deciding how to reliably score points. I wonder if they're essentially doing a delay offense.
We on the contrary take advantage of the speed of Kiho's ball handling, the so called run-and-gun.
Well, if they guard their zone this time, we certainly won't be able to score inside, so there's no point in going for quick attacks. But it seems giving up isn't in Kiho's dictionary.
The back and forth of offense and defense continues, and the 3rd year team has built up a sizeable lead.
We're also doing our best, but because they keep scoring when on the offense, the point difference isn't closing.
Not just that. Not only that. Honestly, I'm tired. I said that the match time was shortened, but we've played many games to get here. The opponents are still brimming with energy, but I'm tired.
Is this the difference between a human being who jogs as a hobby and human beings who diligently exercise?
The crowd is, perfectly half and half?
The female sports club members are cheering for the upperclassmen, and I feel like the guys are cheering for us 1st years who climbed up.
I'd like some high-pitched encouragement, since I don't need any deep voiced encouragement.
Afterwards as well, the back and forth of run-and-gun and delay offense continues.
Also, the voices of the people cheering gradually decrease, and they're now watching attentively.
Not much time is left in the match. Only the sounds of basketball resonate through the gymnasium.
And, my stamina is already at its limit. No, I can't even raise my arms.
I so glad tomorrow is no longer a school day. My muscle pains are going to be terrible...
I've become a 3-point scoring machine, despite me saying that I can't raise my arms.
Or rather said, besides scoring three pointers, I don't want to move, honestly.
Just a little more, just a little more, and the match will be over. The difference is two points. But, whatever. Once the match is over, I'm going to go home and sleep. Yeah, that sounds nice. Wonderful. Even if I have to give some speech thing, I will go home and sleep.
Nn? Ah, a pass comes from Kiho. My job scoring three points starts. But, this job is a little fun.
Someone yells when I carry out my shot. Then, the peanut gallery erupts in cheers. What's going on? Huh?
Be quiet. No matter how many times that sound is made, I can't revi-*Piii* -Nn? The match is over?
When I look at the basket, I'm just in time to see my shot enter the hoop.
What the f*k. I didn't decide on any signature phrase yet! No, that's inconsequential.
And, is this a Buzzer Beater thing? And, the point difference was two right? And, my shot was a three pointer. .......Huh? We won?
’’You did it-! As expected of Sora! As expected of Mitchi the Second!’’ (Reference to Hisashi Mitsui of Slam Dunk)
Kiho says as she hugs me.
No, just who is Mitchi the Second!? I didn't drop out of a district tournament, and my frontal teeth are fine!
While playing around like that, we mutually praise each other for fighting bravely, and the awards ceremony ends simply.
At the awards ceremony, we received our certificate for winning the event and meal tickets. Honestly, I'm happy that we won the event, but I don't need it.
’’Al-right! In commemoration of our victory, let's go Karaoke-!!’’
Al-right! Let's go home!
I don't know who started talking, I can't do karaoke while this tired.
’’Where are you going?’’
The instant I decide to go home and turn on my heels, I'm caught tightly from behind.
When I turn my head, it's Kiho and Kaede-chan with faces full of smiles who are arresting me.
’’......No, I'm tired, so I thought I'd go home.’’
’’And your victory speech?’’
’’Nah, I'll be absent so no need.’’
’’Got something to do?’’
’’......No urgent business in particular....’’
’’Then you'll be coming too right-’’
No use in arguing, I was dragged by those two. Those demons.
The female artists that I listen to are Evanescence, Onitsuka, and LovePsychedelico, among others, so I'm not fit for karaoke!
Then, because it's annoying, being brought to karaoke against my will, I decide to be a woman who can't read the atmosphere and sing a ballad that makes everyone cry. No, I wouldn't go that far right?
Afterwards, the guys got excited for JAM Project at their own convenience, and karaoke ends while they're watching.
Finally, I've come home. I'm tired.
’’Ah, Nee-chan. Welcome back! How was it?’’
When I enter the living room, I was asked by my brother who is relaxing.
By how was it, he means the result of the ball game tournament right? Hence, I respond by sticking up my thumb with a *Bi* (The sound of the tip of your thumb rubbing against your pointer finger)
To which he responds, ’’Ouhh-!’’ while clapping his hands.
Wait, compared to my results, isn't there something even more important!?
’’Riku, how was yours?’’
’’1 point, 2 assists. MVP!’’
Isn't that playing a large part in the debut match?
Ah, did mom record that on video for me?
’’Kaa-san, did you record Riku's match?’’
’’I did~. Although I don't have much confidence that I recorded it well.’’
’’I'll watch it later!’’
When I ask my mom, as I thought, she recorded it.
Well, she's someone who will record her kids' events like competitions as much as possible.
There's no way she wouldn't have recorded this time.
By the way, when I asked Riku, he said it's fine if I don't watch. He seemed embarrassed.
Not watching my younger brother's moment of triumph, it's impossible that I'd do that!
After hearing about my younger brother's great efforts, I become happy and the fatigue vanishes, even though I was extremely tired until I came home.
Although this is a flag that tomorrow will be excruciating, well, it's a break so whatever.
Ahh, that's right, that's right. I forgot to tell Riku one important thing.
’’Riku, Good work. You really stuck it to them!’’
I'm healed by my younger brother's *Nishishi* smiling face.