Saturday, 19 July 2014

[Clotaku Club! v2] 2. The Melancholy of the Original Eun Yerin

Maid in Korea.

Translator: Narane
Editor: MadTix, Foodpenguin
Please enjoy~

The day after the tragic end and the permanent destruction of the Sangkam's Game,

The time was five minutes before lunch.

If you've ever experienced school lunch programs, you might know the importance of this time. It's the most magical, wonderful time of any weekday. It can keep the sleepiest kids awake, silence the chattiest brats, close the books of die-hard nerds—

Such was the miracle of the time known as 'the five minutes before lunch'.

That day was no exception.

"...Is it already time? Then we'll end the lecture here—"


Before the teacher's eyes left his wristwatch, every student had already brought their legs out from underneath their desks. Their lower bodies faced towards the nearest exit, their legs tensing up like arrows being pulled back with taut bow strings.

"— And make sure that you review everything in chapter five. Ehh... Okay. Class rep?"

"Yes sir. Stand! Atten-tion! Bow!"

""Thank you for the day!""


The class rep's end-of-the-day farewell marked the beginning of a wild race between forty hungry beasts. Other classes had also ended in time for lunch, and the hallways quickly filled up with deafening footsteps of migrating students.

"Hey, hey, hurry it up! Class Three will be here anytime soon!"

"Augh! They always end English classes way too early! Run, run!"

With a little imagination, that could have been a reenactment of the mass migration of Germanic peoples into Rome. Or maybe a large pack of wildebeests avoiding the dry season of the Serengeti. This grand scene repeated in the hallways every single day, but I could never get over it.

Almost two thousand boys and girls had to traverse the same halls at the same time. The school building itself seemed to quake in an effort to accommodate these students. At the end of the stampede was only an endless sea of people lining up for the stalls at the cafeteria.

People shoved and fought to get ahead, and there were often people cutting in line shamelessly. I was beginning to wonder if South Korea had been reduced to a starving, third-world country before I realized.

I still remember the day when the last English teacher (Canadian— nice lady, too) saw our lunchtime spectacle and exclaimed, "So incredible! It's like Jurassic Park!"

Why did people risk their lives to get ahead? So they could get to the cafeteria faster and finish their food early. Why did they need to finish early? Because any time before the next class was free. Finishing five minutes early meant that the gym had more unoccupied space. Finishing ten minutes early left ten minutes to play a round. It was a natural conclusion.

For high school students who spend at least half of their day in school, saving five, ten minutes meant a lot. It was no different for a prestigious school like Eunsung High School.

...Which explains why I was a part of the crowd.

"Seriously, that piece of shit English class! He promised that the class would end early today, and look what happened!"

"We would have been out early if that idiot Minchul didn't completely screw up reading and writing at the last moment!"

"Hey, Injin, what's today's menu again? What was it, homemade Tonkatsu? Holy f—, I bet there's a huge line at the cafeteria already! Why did the fourth period English class have to be on time today?! God damn!"

...Many people may have had fantasies about how elegant students are at elite private schools. But kids will always be kids, and the spoken language won't change just because we're in a different school. So, I hope you wouldn't be off-put by any of our remarks—son of a bitch!

...I couldn't help but curse when I made it to the cafeteria. Despite my efforts to sprint here as quickly as I could, the line at the cafeteria was already resembling a scene in front of a soup kitchen during the Great Depression.

Seriously, did they suddenly learn how to teleport around the school? I'll miss my soccer match at this rate!

I had never sprinted so quickly since my last physical performance exam. My legs were powered up with fury and nervousness that I might miss my free time, and I burst forward, looking straight at the end of the line.

That might also explain why I was completely blind to the next thing that happened.



I momentarily thought that I was being attacked by Steven Seagal. Shortly after a piercing shockwave pulsed up the back of my neck, I felt my body descend like a feather.

And then—

That was it.

That was the last thing that I felt while my mind was still sane. I couldn't really tell what was happening next. I felt my feet kick about in the air, heavy pressure up my neck, various images flashing past with blinding speed, piercing whistles looping in my ears like I was riding a roller coaster...


A terrible gurgle left my mouth instead of a proper scream. I couldn't even breathe... properly...

...This is... serious! I'd... die at... this rate! I can't...

Is... is that a... light... on the other side—?

"...This place appears suitable."


"Hwah— *Cough!*— Agh... —*Cough!*"

I was a second away from dying.

I was almost ready to give up all hopes of survival, but then the grip around my neck had loosened up.

"*Cough*... *Cough..." I fell on the ground and wheezed. I felt my consciousness returning as I got my body circulating blood again.

...What was that?! I couldn't really tell what was happening, but I could swear my body was fluttering around the air like a flag...

"...Mister Injin, I recommend that you get up from that dirty floor."


...Like it happened at that moment.

My body shot upwards immediately when my neck was pressured again. Then, a familiar face came into my sight.

"*Cough*... Su-... Sukyong-sunbae...? *Cough!*"

An emotionless, frozen face. Reddish brown hair that almost reached her shoulders. A stout stature that conveyed a feeling of confidence. She was wearing the school's uniform, but only one person in the school fit the first three descriptions, anyway. Even though my head spun violently, I could still easily tell that it was Sukyong-sunbae.


"*Cough!* Sunbae... where... is this place?"

"It is the forest behind the school's memorial."


I froze.

Of course the air suddenly became a lot fresher! But wait, the memorial is on the opposite side of the school from the cafeteria! How'd I get here?!

"It is too early to be surprised." Sukyong-sunbae spoke calmly as always, as if to contrast my utter shock. "...Though I may have used only one hand to carry you, Mister Injin, I could easily cover this distance by simply running... This should not be of surprise."

"And the answer was with me the whole time!"

She talked like she'd done something great, and thanks to that, I realized what had happened to me. Wait, should that be obvious, since we were the only ones there? I couldn't help but scream at these realizations.

Sukyong-sunbae tried to calm me down. "...Please, do not worry. We were not seen on our way here. There should be no one in the school who knows that we are here."

"That's even more worrying!" What was she going to do that needed privacy?! Also, how'd she manage to carry me by my neck and not be seen?!

"...I assure you, people would have thought that I was a harmless mother cat carrying her kitten."

"What does that mean?! Cats?!" I became even more worried.

"...When cats carry their kittens, they grip their scruffs by their teeth. The way I held your nape most likely appeared to be the same."

"Wh-what kind of crap is that—?!" That's the only reason behind my near-death experience?!

The scarier part was that she didn't sound like she was kidding. That was to be expected of the highest-level otaku of the Clotaku Club, though; despite her appearance, her thought process was simply alien.

"...Please keep in mind next time; it is Maid's Trick Number Twenty-Two, 'Acting Like a Cat'."

"Don't pretend like you succeeded! And what the hell is a Maid Trick?! How are there are least twenty-two of them?!"

"...The author's note says that there will be at least a hundred and eight."

"Author's note?! Did you just say that?!"

One hundred and eight?! What's the point of all that?! No wonder the last trick didn't even seem complete!

My head spun. I simultaneously thought of a million ways to try and correct her. My ability to reason went kaput, much like the thought process of a cat that was stuck in a catnip bush.

Sukyong-sunbae began to change the subject with an "Anyway—" before I could think of a response. "...I only wanted to say that my 'AcCat' is absolutely perfect."

"Uh, no, there wasn't a single thing in our conversation that suggested that!" And stop using contractions on things that you just introduced! I almost missed what that meant!

Sukyong-sunbae appeared to be confused by my outburst. "...And yet, I had felt like I had become a mother cat entirely."

"It's absolutely perfect only in your world, huh?"

"...Please, try to recall more clearly. I bet that you've felt like you had become a baby kitten, at least for a split second."

"I felt like I had become the victim of a public hanging!" It was like being a part of an experiment to prove that the scariest drop is eleven meters for average humans.

Regardless, those Maid Tricks are apparently unsuited for stealthy maneuvers.

Sighs escaped my mouth, probably from all the mental exertion caused by this conversation. I never had the chance to talk with her for too long, so it was only then that I realized she was as stubborn as Yeonji. Everything that I said merely glanced off of her impenetrable, emotionless face.

"...Well, fine-... oh, gosh!" I had a disheartening realization that I could have been spending my precious time in the cafeteria. "S-so, what is it? Why did you bring me here?" Right, that was the most important issue; why snatch me in the middle of a lunch break to bring me to a secluded, secret area? Whatever was the reason, I didn't want to waste any more of my only break of the day.

Sukyong-sunbae replied, her posture looking like a moe personification of emotionlessness itself. "...There is one thing that I must show you."

"Sh-show me something?"

My heart briefly sunk. What could be so important that it had to interrupt a man's break? I couldn't think of a single good answer. I examined Sunbae's face in search of a hint, but of course, her solid face told nothing at all.

I felt my stomach get emptier with each moment. I broke the silence. "Th-then... whatever it is, show me, quickly!"

"...I will." She nodded. She suddenly reached out and grabbed my wrist, pulling me as she began striding away.


"H-hey, uh... S-Sunbae?"

"...What do you need?"

"Weren't you going to show me something? I kinda want to quickly see it and then go eat..."

"...We are going there right now, to show you."

"Go... where?"

Perhaps because of the atmosphere, Sukyong-sundae's grip felt a little firmer than before. She answered, "...You cannot see it from here. What you need to see is within the school building. We must get to the fourth floor."

...Inside the school? Fourth floor?

...So, after sprinting down four floors to get to the cafeteria, wasting my life's worth of energy, we had to go back up?! Why, god?!

"...Do you need me to carry you?"

"You think I'm sad because I can't walk up the stairs?!"

"...Do you need me to carry you like a motherly cat?"

"How long are you going to stick with that concept?! Actually, wait, stop, hold it! Let go of me so we can talk! Please? My wrist! It hurts, I'm serious!"

"...Is that so? Then, instead of the wrist..."

"My neeeecccckkk—?!"

... At that point, I mostly gave up trying to have my lunch break.

* * *

And so, Sukyong-sunbae popped out of nowhere while I was on my way to have a relaxing meal at the cafeteria, then I was dragged all the way back to the fourth floor, looking like a sad little kitten. End of summary.

...Oh, god damn.

Why is it always my lunch break? Back then, Yeonji, too, just had to pick this time for reasons I don't understand. There's a saying that not even a dog should be bothered while it's eating, so am I supposed to be lower than a dog? Something's screwed up here.


At that point, the cafeteria probably had a queue that was longer than Hell's. I decided that I'd save more time if I listened to Sukyong-sunbae first, then went to buy something from the store later.

"...So, what are you trying to show me?" I asked, carrying a hint of sorrow in my voice. It had unfortunately become a habit as of late.

Sukyong-sunbae was in a different year, so I didn't have the chance to talk to her very often. Back in the club, she never was all that chatty, either. It was natural for me to be curious about why she went to great lengths to show me something.

...And if she revealed that it was nothing important, I was ready to break down at that very spot. I would have just clung onto her and cried on her chest. With her skirt as my tissue.

"...Here it is." Sukyong-sunbae suddenly stopped moving, interrupting my manly resolve.

...Class One of the first year students. It was around a corner plus a fair distance from my own class, so it wasn't very often that I passed by this area.

"It would be problematic if we are found. Please be careful when you watch."

...Were we doing something illegal?

Her short remark intensified my anxiety. Regardless, I peered into the class from a small opening on the door.

The class was mostly vacant, since we were in the middle of a lunch break. A few chairs were occupied with girls who brought their own lunch.

While Eunsung provided the school with cheap, affordable lunch for its students, the process of acquiring the food was demonstrably terrible. So, for students who disliked being involved in the chaos, or for those with kind, loving parents, they brought in their own lunch. There wasn't a rule that restricted students to eat at the cafeteria, so there were a few students like those girls in every class.

...I'm jealous! I wish my mom took the time to pack a lunch! I'd have so much time if I could finish eating as soon as the lunch break starts!


But of course, luxuries like that would never be allowed in my life. I groaned, having predicted the obvious outcome if I were to ask my mom.

Then, a strange sight came into my view.


One girl was at her desk, having her lunch.

She was sitting away from the rest of the girls chatting amongst themselves. She was awkwardly standing out, and I couldn't stop looking at her.

...Where had I seen her? Her face seemed extremely familiar. Yet, this class was a foreign ground to me; it was unlikely that I'd know anyone. But there was something about her that my memory could recall.

Her body was curled up in her seat like she was trying to make herself look small. She had short, brown hair, with her face adorned with large, round glasses, and underneath were her bright, glistening eyes that made her resemble a tiny, defenseless animal.

It was definitely the same girl from yesterday!

It was that girl who stood around the club like it was her own room, and ran away screaming when I confronted her! I finally found her!

"She-... Ufgh! Oofph!"

But before I could barge in, my mouth was covered up by Sukyong-sunbae's hands. She wrapped her arm around my head, pressing down from behind.

"...Please be calm, Mister Injin. There are other students in that room. It is not wise to create a scene."

"...Oh..." ...right.

There were other people eating lunch in there. I would have been charging through the class, screaming, but that would have attracted a great deal of attention on us. That was a stupid idea, considering the fact that she needed to be silenced before she could reveal the existence of the Clotaku Club. It was necessary to confront her quietly.

The worst thing I could do was go in and scream "How the hell did you find the Clotaku Club?!"

I winked in acknowledgement. Sukyong-sunbae released me, and I continued my reconnaissance. There was no need to get excited, since I found where she was. I could simply take my time to learn what she might do with the knowledge.

...Class One, Year One. The answer was hiding in plain sight all along. It was just yesterday that I got beaten up by Yeonji for not even remembering the color of the girl's name tag. I would have never guessed that she was in the same year as us.

And now that I had found her, I couldn't let her escape again. She was trespassing in our territory, an area restricted from entry by common folk. To ensure the safety of our Clotaku Club, and to preserve my peaceful life as an otaku, I needed to bring her to justice.


She looked a little depressed.

At a glance, she didn't seem any different since yesterday, but I eventually noticed a subtle gloom on her face.

It then came to my attention that she had the window seat at the back of the class. In any anime about high schools, this was the 'protagonist seat', but in reality it was also the area where the garbage bin and other cleaning tools belonged. It was undoubtedly the most disgusting area in the class, yet the girl quietly sat there, having her lunch.

Maybe a couple meters away from her, the other girls were joking around and laughing. Yet the girl sat alone, with a gloomy cloud draped over her head. The other girls left her as she was, having fun by themselves.

Perhaps she was getting bullied.

There definitely was something unnatural about the scene within the class. I looked back at Sukyong-sunbae to confirm—

"...Let us leave now." But she spoke first, her face stony as always, pulling my wrist away once more.

"...Who is that girl?"

Only after I strangely found myself on the rooftop again, I had made up my mind to ask her. Was she the girl that Sukyong-sunbae wanted to show me? Why did she look like she was an outcast of the class?

More questions continued to spring up in my mind, but Sukyong-sunbae changed the topic on me. "...Mister Injin, are you perhaps slightly peckish?"

"Well, I'm... starving by now."

It hadn't been too long since the beginning of the lunch break, but my energy was further emptied by the last few events with Sukyong-sunbae.

Sukyong-sunbae nodded. "...I see. Then, I will share my lunch."

"Whoa, you packed lunch?" I jumped. I was ready to give up any notion that I'd have any food today. Lucky!

"...Yes, I have. I realized that our business would disrupt your lunch schedule, so I prepared it beforehand. Please, accept."


That's to be expected of Sukyong-sunbae! She'd always be incredibly caring at times when Yeonji would do the exact opposite! That's incredibly mature of her! I might fall in love!

"I-if you insist, I'll accept with gratitude. ...So, where is it?"

She picked up a strange box that was left beside the rooftop access. "...Here it is. I had hidden it here since this morning." It was a large, insulated lunch box.

Was that why we went back to the rooftop? And the rooftop is off limits to students anyway, but why hide anything here in particular?

"...While I'm at it, I believe it would be nicer if we could eat together here."

"At the rooftop?!"

I hadn't thought of that answer. I mean, having lunch together at the rooftop was an extremely anime-like situation, but how did she get here without a key?

"...I have a key here."

"Did you just pull that key out of your pocket like it's yours?!" And she did, as naturally as the act of breathing. How did she get that?! That key shouldn't be in the hands of a student!

"...Please, do not fear. No one has found out yet."

"Putting it in a good way won't make it any less of a crime!"

"...Maid Trick, Number Twelve— 'Be confident with your lies, and no one will suspect a thing'."

"Wah-! I can already tell what you might have done to get that key! And that doesn't even sound like a proper name!"

She was always so full of surprises. She seems to have a knack for committing crimes without a hint of remorse, so maybe she could be Yeonji's good friend after all.

"...It will be fine. I will return it where it belongs soon. Anyhow..." She froze up in the midst of her Yeonji-like speech, and stared at the key that was now lodged into the keyhole of the rooftop access. She calmly explained, "...I apologize. I believe I took the wrong key."

"If you're gonna do something evil, at least do it right-!"

Unexpectedly, her last hidden trait was revealed to be clumsiness.

"...It looks like I had accidentally taken the key to the gym storeroom instead. Shall we lunch there?"

"No way-!" It's dark, moldy, and full of dust in there! I'd rather starve!

"...Is that so? Then, we will continue with our original plan."

"H-how?" Was she planning on sneaking back inside the building to steal the right key?

Sukyong-sunbae stood in silence, while I stared at her, half worried and half terrified. Suddenly, her eyes widened as if in surprise. "...Oh? Is that a catgirl maid behind you, Mister Injin?"

"Where?!" My body was already turning before she had finished speaking.

Before I could process the full meaning of her words, I found myself looking away from her. And, before I could fully turn—


A tremendous noise exploded behind my back. The sound violently drummed within my ears. I turned around again in reaction.

Behind me, Sukyong-sunbae stood in the exact same pose and face as before... and the door to the rooftop, which looked like it had been torn apart by a gigantic cannonball.

"Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaarhgh-!" An uncontrollable girlish scream left my mouth.

Sukyong-sunbae stared blankly forward, as if she had just witnessed the chemical reaction between H2O and H2O. "...Please be quiet, Mister Injin. If you scream that loudly, people will become curious."

"But! The door! The roof door! How?! You did it, right? It's your doing again, isn't it?!"

"............I fear I do not have an answer to that."

"That was an amazingly delayed reaction-!"

It had to be her! I mean, who else here could have done such a thing?! What made her think it was a good idea to break apart a door? No, wait, I mean— how?!"

"...Though I admit that I turned away your attention with Maid Trick Number Thirteen, 'Hey, what's that behind you?'..."

"That was a trick too?!"

It was, admittedly, the most effective trick thus far. She actually looked surprised for once, so how could I not get curious?

"...I do not know what happened in the mean time. Perhaps the door broke down on its own due to its age."

"Well, sure, but that doesn't really explain that fresh footprint on the door!"

On closer inspection, the door was at least six centimeters thick, and made of solid metal. It barely remained standing, scrunched up like a paper ball, pitifully hanging by its hinges. The lock had completely broken off, and the general area looked as if someone had thrown a grenade where I stood.

...A human being did all this?!

"...Maid Trick Number Fifteen, 'Roundhou—'... Let us enter, Mister Injin."

"You were about to say 'roundhouse kick', weren't you?!"

"...You cannot judge before I finish my sentence."

...No, I'm sure the original saying goes 'you can't judge it before you understand it'.

She went through the door without me, escaping the topic. I sighed, and passed through the crumpled metal door to follow her out.

* * *

It was my first time since the start of high school— no, actually, my first time ever being on any school's rooftop. It was quite a hollow experience; the only notable things were a bunch of ventilation shafts, a huge water tank, and... and... really nothing else. I almost loudly complained "That's it?!"

And yet Sukyong-sunbae insisted that we eat in this deserted, creepy place. "...Mister Injin, please sit over here." She was already fully prepared to start eating. Though, 'preparing' mostly involved finding a good place to put down a mat and sit down.

"Ah, um... Okay, then, excuse me."

I took my shoes off and sat on the mat. It was the middle of May, and yet the creeping cold from the ground pierced straight through the mat. ...On top of that, there was a strong wind slapping down on us, probably because of the height... It simply wasn't a good place to have a relaxing break.

"...Then, please excuse me too."

But, of course, life is never as nice as fiction. While I sat depressed at the jarring difference between manga and reality, Sukyong-sunbae quietly sat in front of me. Kneeling, for some reason. Her black stocking-clad thighs were pressed and squeezed slightly out from underneath her skirt, and so my eyes began jumping back and forth.


"Hey, uh, Sunbae?"

"...What is it?"

"Aren't we a little too close to each other? It's a little difficult to eat this way..."

It wasn't that we sat too close together on purpose, but rather, the mat was too small for two people. I was sitting as close as I could toward the edge of the mat, and yet our knees still met. Not only did we not have enough space to eat, I felt like I was sitting dangerously close to her... is that really fine?

"...That is not a problem." Sukyong-sunbae placed her lunch box on her lap. "...Please think of my lap as a table. It may be uncomfortable, but please bear with it for now."

"Oh, no, you don't have to..."

It'd look like I was torturing her, using her as a table for that heavy, humongous lunch box.

"...Then, I will compromise and sit outside of the mat..."

"...No, please, let me use your lap."

Was she trying to make me look like a terrible person on purpose?! Sukyong-sunbae would seriously sit on the cold cement floor if I had let her. I sat there dumbfounded, staring blankly at Sukyong-sunbae as she opened the box on her lap.

"...Open." And the box opened. And, inside—


It was the most luxurious box of lunch that I'd ever seen. I thought Sukyong-sunbae might have brought a plain but efficient lunch, but that was definitely not the case. The box was filled with intentionally arranged food, and it looked absolutely delicious. It wasn't just a staple lunch like vienna sausage or inari sushi, but some high-class looking stuff that I'd never had before. I stared at her, now with the look of a hero who found Excalibur in a breakable pot within a villager's home.

"...Here is a tomato salad with mozzarella cheese, and the main dish is wine-boiled shrimp with herb-crusted flounder... And roasted veal chop with applejack sauce. Would you also like some pudding for dessert?"

"Tha-that's fine, but..." I was more curious if it's okay that I ate it at all. She wasn't going to make me pay for it later, right?

"...Of course not. Please, have some."

I finally gave into the pitiful cries of my stomach and reached for a shrimp with my fork.

And— Hmm— Oho, this taste is...


"It's... it's amazing!"

It wasn't just pretty from the outside. I wasn't good at pretending like I'm a cooking show judge to make observations like "the shrimp danced on my tongue" or "I could visualize the hard working fishermen," but nevertheless, it was amazing. Honestly.

"...How is it?"

"It's re-really good..." I couldn't help but stutter. My mouth was too occupied trying to taste the shrimp.

It wasn't just the shrimp that was tasty. Everything from that lunch was absolutely fantastic, like it was freshly prepared a second before. I could easily see how much skill and effort was put into making these, and it was a shame that I was eating them on a windy, dirty rooftop.

When did Sukyong-sunbae cook this well? Amazing.

"That is a relief," said Sukyong-sunbae, while I continued shoving the rest of the food in my mouth. "...I am sure that my little brother will be happy to hear that."

"Sul Yujin?! He made this—?!" I thought you made it!

I almost poked through the box with my fork in surprise.

Sukyong-sunbae nodded. "...He has. I had mentioned that the lunch is for Mister Injin, and he immediately put on an apron and sang a happy song, while—"

"Gwah—?! Stop it right there! You don't have to say any more than that!"

My mind flashed an image of him cooking and singing with that ever-joyous smile on his face. It was quite disturbing that the image suited him too well.

"...I am sure that he will be most pleased if you were to tell him 'You're going to become a fine wife when you grow up, Yujin!'"

"Stop trying to convince me to set an event flag on your little brother—!"

And it just doesn't feel right for a boy to be happy with that compliment. I'll have to remind myself to be cautious around him later...

Sukyong-sunbae interrupted my future planning. "...I am not proud to admit, but... Unlike my brother, I am terrible at cooking."

"You're more full of surprises that I thought!" As a maid, too! You had to ask your little brother to cook for you?!

"Furthermore, I am absolutely terrible at everything related to housekeeping."

"You don't even qualify as a maid at that point!"

"...Few days ago, I had nearly forgotten how to wash my hair. Now, my brother is also taking care of that duty."

"You should at least qualify as a normal human being first—!"

Again, I couldn't tell if any of her words were jokes or truths.

Sukyong-sunbae replied stoically, not mindful of my outburst. "I am specialized in combat, so it is quite natural that my housekeeping skills are lackluster."

"Combat specialization?! What are you, an android?!"

"...Eighty years remaining on my life timer."


What's next, dirty thoughts are bad?! And you're being way too greedy if you think you have eighty years left to live!

"...Mister Injin, your food is getting cold. Please, eat as you talk."

"I can't focus on eating thanks to you!"

"I already had my lunch since the end of the third class, so you do not need to mind me..."

"I'm a lot more distracted by the way you're acting—!"

As it turned out, there was nothing romantic or dreamy about my first rooftop lunch break with a girl.

A moment later,

"...Mister Injin. Before we leave, could you take a look at this?"

Before I could finish eating the pudding, Sukyong-sunbae pulled out a strange, cylindrical object.

"What is this, Sunbae?"

There was a lot of food in the lunch box, and I couldn't possibly have more. It would have been very troublesome if she had more food...

Sukyong-sunbae brought the object closer and replied, "...It is a telescope."


"...It is a magical item that allows you to see from great distances."

"Uh, yeah, I know that."

What I didn't know was why she insisted on showing me a telescope after a meal.

Sukyong-sunbae stood without a reply. She walked over to the fenced area near the edge of the rooftop, looked around, and nodded. "...This is the most optimal location. Mister Injin, if you will."

"Uh, okay."

Curious, I got up and followed her right away. She handed over the telescope as I got near the fence.

"...Could you look over there?"

There? I looked into the telescope. With Sukyong-sunbae's instructions, I lowered the angle until I could see the inside of one class through a window.

The school's main hall was shaped like a '['. Thus, since there were two ends that stuck out from both ends, the classes located in the inner parts had windows that faced the other classes on the opposite end.

But... considering where I stood, what class was I looking at? It looked incredibly familiar, though it was definitely not my own.


Right. It was the first class of the first years, which we've visited before. I recognized a girl in there, who was one of the girls who stayed in class to eat and chat.

Then— that other girl must have been in there.

"Found her."

In the corner of the class, same place as before, I found the sad girl who sat quietly by herself. She looked strangely lonely during lunchtime, and I was curious how she was doing...

Her situation didn't get any better. The class was back to full since our lunch break was almost over, and yet the girl was still alone, sitting without a word. There were more people coming back from their break, and not a single one talked to her. Her isolation became more evident, now that the class around her became noisier and busier.

She was all alone, meekly staring at the desk in front of her. Her eyes left the desk only to nervously peek to her sides. No one gave her the slightest attention, like she didn't exist, or like she was purposefully left out. It was more understandable before when there were only small groups, but to see it happening when everyone's back in class...
It was bullying. There was no doubt about it.

...That's too cruel...!

I didn't know her story, but I could still share her sentiment. Back in my middle school, I had suffered a similar fate. It was natural for me to be furious and pity her situation.

"...Have you seen enough?"

I would have felt sick if I had watched any further. I couldn't bear to continue. I put the telescope down and asked, "Seriously, who is that? That girl, over there?"

Clearly, Sukyong-sunbae wanted me to see her. At first, I thought she may have been reporting to me after finding the profile of the intruder... but that no longer seemed to be the case.

But then— who is that girl?

It was apparent that Sukyong-sunbae personally knew the girl. Sukyong-sunbae could not have tracked the 'intruder' down within a day, considering my faulty description about her. Then, there must be some relationship between Sukyong-sunbae and that girl.

Moreover, the most probable conclusion was that the girl was in the club because Sukyong-sunbae was involved. But—

"...It is my lady."


I couldn't speak any further.

Her lady? Who?

"Wait, th-then, that girl over there..."

"That girl, over there." Sukyong-sunbae repeated, her voice like a hammer slamming down the final nail in the coffin. "...She is my mistress, and also the lady whom you are most familiar with, the treasurer of our Clotaku Club, the granddaughter of the Eunsung Group."


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