Also, please give a warm welcome to Ashley June X, our newest editor on board the Imouto Train!
Editor: Ashley June X. & LHI
Everything was over.
As I got dragged out of the room by my homeroom teacher, a feeling of impending doom loomed over me. It was the same for Yuyu, Ka-ryeon and Yeon-hee.
He must have already heard about how I ran off during the exam. Maybe the homeroom teacher had been searching for my whereabouts.
Given the serious atmosphere I was creating with three other girls in a remote area of the school, it was definitely an issue that the homeroom teacher couldn't just overlook.
Everyone gathered here had skipped out on their mock tests, so there was also the problem of being absent without leave. Moreover, it gets more complicated since two of the girls are from different schools. Considering that it’s a matter between opposite sexes, mentions of public indecency and impure relationship could arise.
It was a situation where we could receive multiple punishments, not to mention that my homeroom teacher was also my legal guardian. There was certain to be some sort of penalty aside from the school’s punishment.
At this state, it became difficult to reach a conclusion in regards to these three girls.
It was going to be completely over with everything up in smoke like this.
Breaking his silence, the homeroom teacher spoke as we followed him down the stairs.
As I looked at him in confusion, he came to a stop, turned around to face me, and said:
“You’ve done nothing wrong. These girls probably seduced you like the slithering serpents that they are.”
For a long time, I failed to understand what I just heard.
Other students started showing up, seemingly indicating that the mock exam had ended. Students who were using the stairs often stopped at the sight of girls in different school uniforms.
“I’m well-aware of how earnest of a student you are. I know that you’re not the type of kid who would run off on your own during a mock exam to do obscene things with girls from other schools in a remote part of the school.” In an atmosphere that was gradually becoming rowdy, the homeroom teacher spoke with a stern voice. “There must’ve been a reason. For example, you could have been blackmailed... or threatened... or deceived."
I kept looking at his face in confusion.
Just what on earth was this guy saying?
“…I can tell from their faces. You damn vixens whose only talent is fooling around with men.”
His glare towards the three girls standing behind me was filled with clear mistrust.
In his eyes, they were nothing more than malefactresses who had seduced his favourite honour student. Even Yeon-hee, who he had known for a long time as her guardian; even Yuyu, who he was a homeroom teacher for; and even Ka-ryeon, who he had met for the first time.
After spitting out his words in disgust, he turned his attention to me again.
“Don’t worry. I'll make sure no harm comes to you. I’ll deal with those girls that cornered you into this mess myself, so you just be careful to not get caught up in something like this in the future. I’ll have a good talk with their school teachers as well. So you don’t have to worry. You just have to keep up the good work studying.”
…Aha, I see.
If I keep my mouth shut here and do as this adult tells me to, I should be able to regain my peaceful everyday life. This person will protect me flawlessly like his frigid countenance.
There may be rumors and gossip, but it’ll quiet down in no time if I stay silent. I’ll be able to restart my life of devoting myself to studying without any damage.
But, if that happens…!
I thought about the three girls standing behind me. If that happens, what will become of them?
If Yuyu gets punished the school will contact her parents, and if they're the strict type, they won't just let it pass. Not only that, it’ll become hard for Yuyu to be at school. Then there will be a high possibility that Yuyu will quit school for real.
Ka-ryeon doesn’t have parents. However, there’s the Manageress who lived her life only looking after her little sister as an older sister. The Manageress will be very sad if she finds out that Ka-ryone has caused trouble with this incident. Then, crushed under the guilt in regards to her older sister that has gotten bigger, Ka-ryeon will spend day after day in agony.
As for Yeon-hee, her reputation as a model student who was even a student council president in middle school will be tarnished. It may even affect her admission into university. She’s been suffering alone because of her birth and her relationship with me. Her heart will wear out even further.
Is it really okay to leave all the responsibility to these three girls so that only I can live?
‘But, what should I do in this situation?’
I broke out in a cold sweat.
The man in front of my eyes, Kim Muhyeok, isn’t the kind of person who’d let this sort of thing just pass. What’s more, there were many students passing by who were watching this situation unfold.
There was no way to cover everything up without holding someone responsible.
Even if I were to insist that I was responsible as well, the outcome wouldn’t change greatly. In the end, we will lose our everyday life until now.
But I didn’t give up, and kept thinking. Biting my lips, focusing my entire mind, like when I’m solving an extremely advanced applied question, I thought frantically.
The answer, where is the answer to solve this situation?
At that moment—
An idea flashed into my mind, just like how a solution to a mathematical problem you couldn’t figure out what formula to apply suddenly pops up.
‘But this is…’
A violent repulsion swept over my whole body.
I may be able to solve the problem if I act according to my thought just now; however, that might not be the textbook answer. I may regret it saying I’ve really made a big mistake.
If I go with this choice, I’ll probably be throwing away everything that I’ve been protecting till now. I will lose many things incomparable to skipping out once on a mock exam.
‘Just what should I do…?’
Feeling desperate, I looked behind me.
Staring at the three girls who had their heads down with an expression as if everything was over, I thought about why these girls acted the way they did until now.
And why I’ve lived only to study until now.
‘The reason why I immersed myself in studying and distanced myself from human relationships like dating…’
I was ridiculed and dumped by a girl I used to like.
I was abandoned by a woman who I’d thought of as my mother even though we weren’t blood-related.
But my mistrust in women and my obsession with grades and academic ability weren’t due to my past.
I just didn’t want to form a close relationship with another person. The other person might have different feelings about me, and I was afraid of being hurt from it.
The other person might not like me as much as I think. That other person might suddenly abandon me one day. I don’t want to be involved with an “other person” like that.
That…was the me created from my trauma.
That’s why I did nothing but study. If I only study, there’d be no need to form a relationship that’s more than necessary. There’d be no need to get hurt from a relationship with another person.
So I’d maintained my relationship with others to such a degree that it would not interfere with my everyday life. Although I was friends with Sega, I had nothing but superficial conversations with him. Although I cherished Yeon-hee as my little sister, I had failed to notice what was troubling her because we never had any heart-to-heart talks.
With nothing but a shell of a relationship left, I continued immersing myself in studying. I took no interest in a things like romance. If I only studied, there was nothing to worry about and nothing to lose.
The reason why these three girls told such lies to me was because I was that sort of a human.
“Ahn Kyeong-hyun, what’s the matter?”
While I was keeping my silence, the homeroom teacher asked with a suspicious look on his face. Instead of replying, I clutched my fist and let out a sigh.
Now I fully understood why these three girls told such lies. I finally had the answer to the burning question that had made me storm out of the classroom during a mock exam.
Then what should I do? Where should I go from here now that I have a complete comprehension of the reason behind their actions?
This may not be the right answer.
But the answer I must choose has already been decided.
“You’ve got it wrong. These girls were seducing me, you say?”
I slowly raised my head and looked straight into the teacher’s eyes.
Feeling an inexplicable impulse surging within me, I smiled.
“I think you’re mistaken. These girls, I was just playing around with them.”
There was no stopping now.
“I just messed around with them for fun, but things got a bit twisted. I was only playing with them… but these girls were too innocent, and they started fighting over me.”
“Messed around with them for fun…? Too innocent…?”
“I’ve made a little mistake. I knew better than mindlessly laying my hands on innocent girls who’d never gone out with a guy before. Who would’ve known they’d come to my school and create a fuss like this? Hahaha.”
What in the world are you doing right now!?
The other me was yelling inside. He was trying to stop me from carrying out my absurd plan.
I was throwing away the image of a model student that I had built up so far, and getting on the wrong side of the homeroom teacher-slash-guardian who had always favoured me. Furthermore, the students who were passing by began to stop, sensing the unusual mood, and started looking our way.
If I do this, my future school life was as good as doomed. Just keeping my mouth shut and staying still would have been the best for my future, but here I was doing the exact opposite.
Stop, shut up, it’s not too late to shut up. The other me was ordering me endlessly inside.
However, I had a reason for what I was doing right now!
“Sorry for the trouble, Mr. Kim. I’ll be more careful next time, so could you let this one just slide?”
Shrugging my shoulder, I asked frivolously.
Earlier, the teacher was trying to turn me into a victim by treating the three girls behind me as the perpetrators. But that must not be the case. It can’t be a situation like that.
I alone have to be the perpetrator!
“Are you… saying this trouble was caused by your misbehaviour with these—not one, but three—girls over here?”
“Ah, come on, Mr. Kim, don’t be like that. You know I’m a guy, and it’s not like I forced them.”
“Are you out of your mind? One of the girls is your younger sister!”
“Ah, you didn’t know? We might not be blood-related. Well, not that it matters even if we were.”
I smiled as wickedly as I could.
I have to play the villain here from start to finish…!
“Think about it, Mr. Kim. Wouldn’t you get a hard-on if you were living alone under the same roof with this fine-looking girl?”
Abruptly, the homeroom teacher grabbed me by the collar. I couldn’t breathe, but I didn’t care at all.
I can’t back down a single step.
“What’s wrong, Mr. Kim? It’s a given for a guy when he sees a hot girl. Maybe you don’t get it because you’re not married yet.”
I needed him to get angry at me. Have him lose his cool so that he doesn’t notice the true intention hidden inside my drivel.
“I thought you were a diligent, studious model student. That’s why I didn’t interfere and let you be. How did this…”
“…You’ve got the wrong person, Mr. Kim. I’m quite the skirt chaser.”
A sharp pang of guilt pierced my heart. This man has given me the greatest help in my life. It wasn’t like he gave me financial aid or took care of me as like a parent. But if it weren’t for this man, my present self wouldn’t have existed. Even at school, he trusted and favored me greatly.
The reason why he discriminates against women with such bias was probably because of Yeon-hee’s mother. His friend married an immoral woman, and because of it, his friend suffered and died. That had distorted his view of women.
But I have no choice but to go against this person. I do feel gratitude toward this man, and I do think that I should repay his kindness someday. The trouble that I’m causing him with this commotion, I’ll give a proper apology and ask for his forgiveness someday. Despite that, I can’t back down. I have a reason why I can’t.
And to tell the truth, I was a little angry with him.
‘Uncle, these three girls aren’t that bad as for you to degrade them!'
These three girls had lied to me. They had deceived me. But what was the reason?
Did Yuyu lie to me so that she could drop my grades and steal the title of first place?
Did Ka-ryeon lie to me so that she could find a person who would feed her for the rest of her life?
Did Yeon-hee lie to me so that she could cross the line with her older brother who may or may not be blood-related?
Did they lie in order to satisfy their perverse desires?
‘That wasn’t it…!’
They simply didn’t want me to hate them. They didn’t want to grow distant from me. They didn’t want to lose me. They were merely holding onto me out of desperation. Even if it meant lying, they didn’t want to lose their relationship with me.
The girls knew well that I was the sort of person who tried not to form a relationship with others that was more than necessary. Because they knew I was the type that distanced myself from others, they had no option but to use extreme methods to hold on to me.
Indeed. In the end, I was the reason why these three girls had told such lies to me.
Yuyu had no choice but to continue lying because she thought I was a person who would coldly sever a relationship. Ka-ryeon had seduced me because she’d judged that entering such a relationship was the only way that my attitude would change. Yeon-hee had acted in such a way because I failed to give her the affirmation that we would still be a family even if we weren’t related by blood.
They treasured my relationship with them so much. Was it okay to criticize them on the sole reason alone that they lied? Rather, aren’t I the one who should be criticized for failing to give them a proper answer to their feelings and making them do such things?
Then what should I do? What should I do in order to become the person who could support these girls who got hurt because of me?
“Mr. Kim, aren’t these girls pretty nice even to your eyes? It’s hard to pick just one girl. Three-timing is the only way to go here.”
With my collar still being grabbed, I turned my head back. I saw the three girls, each of them with a different look on their face.
I turned my gaze to one of the girls. Then I vulgarly raised my voice to my classmate.
“Hey, your boobs are seriously huge. Honestly, I bet all the guys wants to cop a feel when they see your boobs. I was so lucky that I got to spend my time with a girl like you.”
With a surprised look on her face, Yuyu covered her breasts with her arms. But I took no heed and continued, speaking the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“I’ve had a lot of headaches when I was with you, but eating lunch and studying together with you wasn’t so bad. It was quite fun.”
Yuyu was staring at with me her eyes wide open. She had an abundant collection of expressions that I never got tired of.
“You’re the one who made the boring school where I’d only sit and study into an exciting place. I want to keep studying with you.”
I shifted my gaze next to her. I spoke playfully to my junior who was standing there silently.
“Your legs were to die for. Especially when you wore a pair of stockings, it was great, like it was a fetish. I couldn’t keep my eyes from going below your skirt.”
I babbled so that the other people would perceive me as a hopeless pervert.
But at the same time, I didn’t leave out what I wanted to convey.
“Working with you was quite fun. Even if you were slacking off, it was reassuring that I had a coworker that I could work together with.”
Ka-ryeon didn’t have her usual carefree look. She was staring at me with a crimsoned face.
“If you hate burdening your older sister while you worry about how you’re going to live, just rely on me. I’m not a stranger anymore, so I’ll take care of you for a while even if I don’t plan on marrying you.”
I shifted my gaze again. To my little sister who had shrank away, I spoke leeringly:
“You grew up into such a cute little girl. Even if a guy doesn’t have a thing for little girls, he would give in to your seductions. There’s no way I could stay sane when I live under the same roof with such a girl.”
There was no doubt I was saying stuff that anyone would disapprove of. Even I thought so as well.
Still, in between the perverted words, I mixed in my true feelings.
“It doesn’t matter whether or not we are blood-related. Even if the blood tie that was connecting us were false, the ‘time’ we have spent living together so far will never be a lie.”
Yeon-hee looked at me with tears in her eyes. She looked so pitiful that I wanted to hug her right this moment.
“To me you’re an important person that I want to keep being together with whether or not you’re my little sister. No matter what happens, our relationship won’t end.”
I shook of the hand that was grabbing my collar and turned around.
Now, I have to finish this.
“Earlier you told me to choose one of your three girls. That is, to choose only one girl and abandon the other two girls.”
The reason why I did nothing but study and distanced myself complicated relationships.
I was ridiculed and dumped by a girl I used to like. I was abandoned by a woman who I’d thought of considering as my mother even though we weren’t blood-related.
So I tried not to form a relationship with others that was more than necessary. For that reason, I only studied and lived with ease inside the meritocratic world where nobody would try to hurt me. I was that kind of human.
However, by losing my memories of the past three months, I’ve changed. These three girls who struggled to get deep inside my heart changed me.
No matter what, I have to change.
“Sorry, but I can’t do that.”
Among the crowd of onlookers that filled the stairs and hallway, I caught a glimpse of Sega’s face.
‘You won't have regrets if you can act like a man.’ Sega’s voice flashed across my mind. I don’t know if what I’m doing right now is manly or not, but I have no intention of having regrets after it’s over.
“All three of you are my women. I’ll take the responsibility.”
I opened my arms wide and hugged the three girls. The crowd of onlookers around us burst into an uproar, but I paid no attention to them.
All three of them didn’t reject me.
“…Hurry up and run.”
“Hurry! It’ll be hard to handle if another teacher shows up!”
After whispering to them in a suppressed voice, I pushed them away.
Immediately after that, I took a punch to my face and stumbled.
Glaring at me with a contorted face, the homeroom teacher grabbed me by the collar again. But without a moment to wince from the pain, I threw a look at the three girls.
As if they understood my look, they used the opportunity to slip away.
Overwhelmed by the serious atmosphere, the nearby students were frozen in place. The three girls made their way through the crowd and ran down the stairs. After confirming their escape, I let out a sigh of relief.
“Mr. Kim, what’s the meaning of this?”
Sure enough, the other teachers showed up from the crowd of students.
“I’ll handle this! Please don’t concern yourself!”
While the other intimidated teachers were hesitating, the homeroom teacher started dragging me.
“Come with me! I would’ve never thought you were this kind of a kid…!”
In the end, the situation unfolded the way I wanted.
The homeroom teacher perceived me as the perpetrator and Yuyu, Ka-ryeon and Yeon-hee as the victims. Now, having lost his cool, the three girls were nowhere in his mind. The only thing left in his head was his rage towards a delinquent student who had betrayed his expectations.
Then I’d be the only to receive punishment. Yuyu, Ka-ryeon, and Yeon-hee were no longer important to the homeroom teacher. Only I would stand in the courtroom as the culprit.
“This kind of indecent act… I won’t let it slide, so you better prepare yourself…!”
“…I am prepared.”
Yes, the fight has just begun.
From here on, I have to thoroughly disguise myself as the sole perpetrator to the homeroom and possibly even the other teachers. Masquerading as the villain and misleading others so that it doesn’t implicate the other girls won’t be an easy task.
If I think as far as to apologizing for this incident to the homeroom—no, Uncle Muhyeok—and repaying my debts, this will really be a long, long fight.
But I can’t back down. So that I won’t have regrets, I can’t back down a single step.