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Author Topic: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) <DROPPED> - Thank You For Reading, a Summary  (Read 89111 times)

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [OS - Bamboo Cutter - YuukaNen (June 30, 2018)]
« Reply #140 on: July 07, 2018, 01:03:53 PM »

See you in the next update.  :cow:

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 34.5 + 35 + 36 (July 15, 2018)]
« Reply #141 on: July 15, 2018, 06:54:25 AM »
I thought that the last arc was a mess, but apparently this one is more of a mess. I'm telling myself no more one-shots until I get more of Eccentric written. I hope I can treat each Eccentric arc like one of my one shots since the length is comparable.

Sorry for the huge delay! I have a three part update to hopefully make up for that a little bit.

@Minami-chan: Sorry for the delay! Thank you for always reading.

Checkpoint 34.5

Hirate Yurina didn’t want to return to her room nor did she want to eat. Pacing back and forth just outside of the dorm, she looked up at the sky at the darkness. Her bangs had gotten messy and in the way of her vision when she ran away, but black on black was just black.

With a sad expression, her roommate had smiled awkwardly in a way that didn’t reach her eyes and extended an offer, “Let’s continue being just friends like before.”

Yurina had replied, “I’m sorry. I can’t do that.

She didn’t stay long enough to hear what Neru had to say back.

—Because she liked Neru. Because she didn’t want for Neru to hate her selfishness. Yurina couldn’t give a decent answer to a confession, but she wanted to cling onto a chance.

She knew that she wouldn’t be able to give a proper answer to Neru’s confession, a dirty feeling constantly clawing at her throat at the idea of being able to be happy and enjoy love. She didn’t trust that Neru would even be able to bear being near her if Neru actually got to know the person that was Hirate Yurina.

“I like you.” Yurina kicked at the ground.

She liked the Neru who ate weird things, the Neru who said kind words, the Neru whose arms bent disgustingly, the Neru who would chat with her at night when she had nightmares.

“I like you, Neru.”

The Neru who she walked with under the rain. The Neru who had warm and soft hands. The strong Neru. The awkward Neru. Neru who always seemed to be there even when she wasn’t.

With turmoiled steps, the short haired girl wondered if Neru would come and find her. Yet, Neru didn’t come.

Yurina heard the door of the dorm building open. She quickly turned around to see who came out only to find Oda Nana stretching a bit, seemingly coming out for a breath of fresh air.

Oda Nana came up to Yurina and asked, “Eh, Techi? What are you doing?”

“Hey, Dani.” The short haired girl glanced up at Oda with a greeting.

“Wait, are you crying?”

Yurina shook her head, “I’m not.” She didn’t think that she was crying. Even seeing her friend’s worried expression and her own face reflected in her friend’s eyes, she couldn’t feel anything rolling down her cheeks. She wasn’t crying, but surely, there was an expression close to that.

“Did you and Neru fight?”

“No, it was just me being stupid.”

“You look like you’re going to start avoiding Neru everywhere you go.”

Yurina froze like a deer in headlights, caught in the middle of a crime.

“Everyone needs time by themselves, so don’t worry too much about it.” Oda Nana consoled Yurina. “But, you can’t avoid her altogether or else it’ll be harder to reconcile.”

“Thanks. Just tonight, I don’t want to meet Neru again.”

“Where are you going to sleep tonight?”

“Sleep is…”

The clock ticked hours past midnight. Nagahama Neru sat on her bed and looked toward where Yurina would usually be. Her short haired roommate used to thrash and turn in her sleep a lot in the beginning but had begun to be able to sleep better recently. However, now she wasn’t even here.

Neru looked at her phone. A while back, she had received a LINE message from Oda Nana saying that Yurina was staying over at the three people room. Oda Nana tried to lighten the mood a little by making a pun that Yurina would definitely Neru, so Neru shouldn’t worry.

Having sent a relieved reply quickly after receiving the message, Neru should have had nothing else to do but sleep, yet she couldn’t fall asleep.

Her mind replayed the expressions that appeared on her roommate’s face when she confessed and when she rescinded the confession. Perhaps Yurina thought that she was good at hiding emotions, but Neru couldn’t help but see a myriad of pain and uncertainty on the other girl’s face.

Neru had consistently dug herself into a deeper hole.

Neru muffled her face in her pillow, “Even though I like Yurina-chan.”

If she took back that taking back of the confession, she felt like she would just be creating a bigger mess. She wasn’t supposed to be doing something like this. Really, she didn’t have the right to do something like this.

Her phone rang a special ringtone.

She didn’t need to look to see who had called. Lifting her face up, eyes reddish, Neru picked up the phone and asked coldly, “Why are you calling right now?”

Checkpoint 35

Flipping through the photos on the memory chip of the camera, the girls in Risa’s room couldn’t spot Aoi properly in any of the pictures. There were pictures of everyone and even pictures of scenery and the school, but the person behind the camera had stayed behind the camera the whole time.

Risa sat on the floor with Manaka, Akane, and Fuu-chan looking over her shoulder as she went through Aoi’s camera.

The cool Watanabe let out a noise of frustration and tossed the camera onto her bed after finishing. “What’s wrong with her? That kid...”

“Aoi thinks too much about others.” Akane said, repeating something that she had said earlier to Risa in different words.

“Yea, I know.” Risa huffed, hugging her legs closer to her body and making a sullen expression, “I can’t believe she snapped at me like that though.”

Fuu-chan consoled Risa, retrieving the camera, “Don’t worry too much. Shiichan’s there. I’m sure Aoi will come around soon.”

“Should I be nicer to her from now on?” Risa wondered aloud, asking the question half to herself and half to her group of friends.

The cool Watanabe would often teasingly ignore Aoi or make snide comments, something that she did with all of her friends, but she questioned if she had been pushing the boundaries a bit and just hadn’t noticed Aoi’s sensitivity.

“Friendly teasing never hurt anyone.” Manaka leaned on Risa’s shoulder, speaking flippantly. Yet, in the end, she mumbled with furrowed brows, “But, yea, let’s do that.”

By the next morning, Aoi and Risa exchanged apologies. Although Risa tried to return the camera back to Aoi, Aoi refused the camera and quickly escaped by getting breakfast and sitting with Habu and Koike as well as Sato, her roommate.

Risa sighed, taking a seat next to Manaka who had gotten two breakfasts, one for herself and one for Risa.

Manaka joked, “If you sigh too much, the happiness will escape out of your mouth too.”

“Seems like they’re going to need some happiness supplements then.” Risa leaned on Manaka, pointing in the direction of the typically harmonious couple of Yurina and Neru who had come in through different doors but still managed to shrink away from each other.

Neru came over to Risa and Manaka, greeting them, “Good morning. Can I eat with you two?”

“Sure.” Risa nodded.

Sitting down with her food, Neru noted the camera still in Risa’s hand, “Is that Aoi’s camera?”

“Yea. Looks like she doesn’t want it anymore.” Risa grumbled.

“Oh.” Neru made a noise of surprise, realizing that she must have missed something last night. Half-heartedly, she started mixing ketchup with her yogurt.

Manaka gently took the camera out of Risa’s hands and grinned positively, “We just have to take pictures for her until she wants it back.” Fiddling with the camera, she managed to turn it on and get it ready to snap a picture.

Risa smiled at her girlfriend’s antics and pointed to Neru’s yogurt that was gradually getting painted a strange red, “Like this weird thing Neru’s eating.”

“Hey, it tastes good.” Neru retorted, placing a small spoonful into her mouth. The yogurt didn’t taste as good as usual.

Risa noticed the way that Neru’s face fell, and she glanced to the side, spotting Yurina eating with Oda Nana, Suzumoto, and Kobayashi. She mumbled, “That’s like the first week of school.”

That quartet ate together during lunch often somewhere from the start, but they had become a quintet after Neru joined the class.
Manaka took a photo of the quartet. “Huh, it’s blurry.”

“Let me try taking a picture.” Risa said, receiving the camera from Manaka.

She turned over to face where Aoi was sitting and focused the camera on Aoi. It was a pretty bad angle, but after a bit of figuring out the camera, Risa took a picture.

Neru got passed the camera, and she looked at the pictures, “Aoi’s pretty amazing with the camera. The framing and lighting are all nice.” Neru stopped at a picture, “Wait, what’s with this picture…”

She found a picture of herself and Yurina asleep on a large cushion in the lounge area. The short haired girl was making a peaceful face while clinging to Neru, probably having rolling onto Neru at some point during their nap since Neru didn’t remember getting hugged. On their faces were whiskers drawn in erasable marker, Neru as a tanuki and Yurina as an otter.

Neru tried to figure out when exactly this was from.

“Oh.” Risa stopped in the middle of a bite of food.

Manaka whispered conspiratorily into Risa’s ear, “Wait, we got found out…”

“No, she doesn’t know that it was us yet.” Risa shook her head and whispered back.

Neru sighed, completely hearing the roommates beside her, “Hey…”

“It got wiped off before you woke up.” Manaka waved off their little prank with an excuse.

Seeing Neru’s exasperated expression, Risa said lightheartedly, “Okay, okay, we won’t do it again.”

“Hm.” Neru made a non-reply hum and showed that she heard Risa. In her heart, she wanted to steal away the Yurina with otter marks on her face. That was impossible now.

As Manaka, Risa, and Neru ate breakfast, Akane and Fuyuka joined them. They were a bit surprised that Neru wasn’t with Yurina but quickly figured it out. With the way Neru glanced over at her roommate, they wondered if it was a love issue.

Then, the voice over the intercom came interrupting breakfast time as if knowing that all 21 girls had gathered. “Congratulations on completing the first task.”

“Your second task will be more straightforward. Please show your food preparation abilities tonight. You will be needing them in the future.

“The summer camp held at Sakamichi will have a joint dinner with a barbecue and other foods tonight for all of the participating students. Head to campus lot 46 around 5 PM to start preparing food. You may create your own menus but will receive demerits if it causes food poisoning.

“Ingredients and everything will be provided. Teachers will also be present to help. Do enjoy this experience.” With that, the intercom clicked off.

The girls started chattering, some finding the second task interesting and some worried that they would really actually give food poisoning to a bunch of people they hadn’t talk to before. The girls in clubs participating in the camp like Akane made troubled expressions on what to do.

Neru sighed, “He sounds like he’s having fun with this.”

Checkpoint 36

Everyone gathered at campus lot 46. There were many cooking stations and ingredients already set up, and their home economics teacher greeted them, eyes glinting sharply to not disappoint after their lessons.

Aoi saw a literal pair of human magnets in front of her. Despite sticking closely usually, once a turnaround event occurred, they couldn’t stick together no matter what. Whenever Neru came close to Yurina, Yurina couldn’t help but sneak away even when Neru wasn’t specifically approaching her roommate to talk.

It would have been funny if it wasn’t sad.

Neru continued along with daily life normally except for her gaze consistently drifting to the short haired girl. Yurina was too flustered to realize how awkward she appeared around Neru.

As the cooking stations were made for two to three people each, the class started splitting up into groups, deciding who would make what. They had been informed that they should cook about 300 servings, a number that made the girls blanch.

Aoi was about to go to the pair when Yurina suddenly gained the courage to approach Neru herself.

Aoi heard the click of her camera. For a second, it seemed like the lens focused on her. She turned and saw that it had found its way to Fuyuka’s hands. Fuu-chan and the group were laughing happily.

Watching that, she felt like a bystander.

Suddenly, Sato came up to Aoi and pointed to a cooking station, “Aoi-chan, do you want to cook together? Nijika says she’s taking that station with Fuu-chan, so let’s go to the one next to that one over there.”

Aoi smiled, “Sure! What are we going to make?”

The roommates headed to the cooking station.

Meanwhile, another pair of roommates were talking in a much more stilted manner. Hirate Yurina had pushed down the butterflies in her stomach and approached Neru. As she saw Neru, her throat suddenly felt dry, and looking at the slight tiredness in Neru’s eyes that only someone who watched Neru all day would see, she couldn’t say anything at first.

That was why Neru started, “Would you be okay pairing up with me for this?”

“Yea.” The short haired girl nodded. She felt like her heart had been thrown into a tundra, a cold and unbreachable distance suddenly opening up from the way Neru spoke, words that lacked their usual intimacy.

They walked toward a cooking station. It was basically a kitchen countertop except portable with a stove, a sink, a table-like area, and even an oven. The ingredients were in an area behind the stations.

Silence fell between the two girls. Yurina glanced at Neru’s hand, but she barely reached for Neru’s shirt before stopping.

Neru asked, “Do you think sandwiches would be fine? It looks like Risa’s group is going to make curry rice, and Aoi’s group is making dessert.” Pairs and trios had grouped together to work together.

“Sandwiches are fine.” Yurina replied, putting on an apron.

She watched as Neru tied up her hair in a ponytail, a rare sight. Neru in an apron and with a ponytail was a warm sight.

They decided on making egg sandwiches and chicken katsu sandwiches after both saying what type of sandwich might be good. After googling how to make them and grabbing ingredients, the pair got to work rather separately.

“Neru…” Yurina mumbled, seeing Neru prepare the chicken.

Neru inquired, “What is it?”

“It’s nothing.” Yurina shook her head.

In the middle of the chicken preparation, Neru noticed, “Ah, I forgot the panko crumbs.”

Without even needing to be cued, the short haired girl said, “I’ll get them for you.” She quickly left the cooking station to the ingredients station.

At the ingredients area, Oda Nana and Aoi were picking up items. Aoi was getting extra sugar for the gratin that she was making, something that Tsuchida-sensei’s co-worker dubbed henninjin cake at his first glance at it. Oda Nana got some vegetables like paprika that Suzumoto had sent her out to get.

Yurina glanced about, not sure where the crumbs were.

Aoi noticed, “Ah, Techi, what are you looking for?”

“Panko crumbs.” Yurina stated.

Oda Nana pointed left of where she was, “They’re over there.”

“Thanks.” Yurina spotted what she was looking for after following Oda Nana’s finger gesture.

Oda Nana laughed cheerily, “No problem. Good luck.”

After grabbing the panko crumbs, Yurina returned to Neru. She gave the ingredients to Neru, and they continued working. Around them, they could hear their classmates voices and even some scents floating over.

“Is this how normal friends are?” Yurina asked Neru.

Neru shook her head, “I’m not sure.”

They smelled a faint scent of onions from the curry at Risa’s station stinging softly and sweetly. The onions had been cut a while ago. Quiet, the soft hum of cooking, savory smells, prickling sensations floated in the air around their eyes.

In a little over an hour, they finished making a few dozen sandwiches. Setting the sandwiches up on plates, the roommates took a seat in a pair of stools provided.

Some of their classmates finished while others were still finishing up the food.

“So, we’re just going to sit here and once the dinner event starts, we help serve food for half an hour before being invited to join in for the barbecue and other parts of the activity.” Neru spoke as if asking for confirmation on something she already knew.

Yurina confirmed, “Yes.”

Silence felt painfully awkward. There was only a bit of time left before the event was to start.

Yurina stood up. “I’m going to walk around.”

Neru didn’t follow.

The short haired girl didn’t want to disturb the classmates still making finishing touches, so she went and surveyed the lot. Barbecue stoves were definitely set up as well as a number of tables and chairs off to the side. She noticed a teacher rolling out a mini-fridge with an ice cream sticker on it.

A few normal Sakamichi students seemed to be trickling in already. A girl from the photography club jumped excitedly next to a model-like friend as she noticed that the Keyaki class was there.

A voice called out to the short haired girl, “Hirate-san, I didn’t know that the Keyaki class was participating.”

“Kakizaki-san. And…”

« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 01:45:01 AM by Shinoki »

Offline MaYukiIsLife

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 34.5 + 35 + 36 (July 15, 2018)]
« Reply #142 on: July 15, 2018, 04:09:09 PM »

In all honesty....

Chapter 34.5 - I'm curious to hear who Neru is actually talking to at the end of this. Because they seem to call at the wrong times.

Chapter 35 - :/ TechiNeru splitting the others up because of their problem

Chapter 36 - Memi and..? Katoshi? Ayaka? Kyonko? WHO?!

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 34.5 + 35 + 36 (July 15, 2018)]
« Reply #143 on: July 16, 2018, 11:54:14 AM »
So happy!!!

34.5: I understand the feelings of Techi, but ... the rejected is Neru, I can not help thinking that this is really more painful for Neru and seems to be alone.
35: Yogurt with ketchup .... I do not know how to not get sick if she keep eating that.
I am happy that at least Risa and Aoi have been able to talk and apologize both.
The photo that painted the face of Tanuki and Otter to Techi and Neru should be very funny.
36: Well at least ... they have cooked together ... although this is terribly uncomfortable. I feel sorry for the two. Yurina because she really is very confused, but that is what has made Neru reject. I have conflicting feelings.

PS: by the way! who calls Neru to the cell? It is not the first time he receives mysterious calls.

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 37 + Detour 2 (July 19, 2018)]
« Reply #144 on: July 20, 2018, 01:44:15 AM »
Checkpoint 37

Hirate Yurina turned to see Kakizaki Memi and another girl wearing the normal student uniform. After Memi greeted Yurina, the short haired girl naturally greeted her acquaintance back and realized that she had either forgotten or just didn’t know Memi’s companion’s name, or better said, Memi’s girlfriend’s name.

Hearing Yurina’s pause, the other girl introduced herself, “I’m Takase Mana.”

“Nice to meet you.” Yurina replied, knowing that Mana knew who she was. She glanced at Memi and saw that the girls were holding hands and in Memi’s free hand was her sketchbook.

“Even Hirate-san noticed your sketchbook.” Mana pouted, clinging onto Memi, “You should pay more attention to Mana.”

“Sorry, sorry, Manafi.” Memi apologized to her girlfriend with a smile. Thinking for a moment, she turned to Yurina with a cheeky grin that showed her fangs and said, “By the way, I’ve finished the drawing, if you want to see it.”

That offhanded request from a while back had dropped the short haired girl’s mind, “Oh, yea.”

Before they could continue the conversation, Yurina felt a hand grasp her own and pull her away from Memi.

Neru appeared. “Techi, it’s almost time to start.”

Seeing the appearance of another popular Keyaki class student, Memi waved a see you later gesture to Yurina with her sketchbook hand, “We won’t bother you anymore.”

Mana followed Memi away, somewhat starstruck.

As Yurina went with back to the cooking station with Neru, she felt herself being dragged. Neru’s grip was scarily strong to the point that the short haired girl winced, and Yurina couldn’t decipher Neru’s expression as they walked.

Tearing her hand away from Neru’s as she stumbled at the abnormal walking pace, Yurina paused before they reached their station. That caused Neru to halt as well.

“Te-” Neru was interrupted.

Yurina looked Neru in the eye, “Neru, I want you to call me by my name.”

“Sorry, Yurina-chan.” Neru snapped out of the green emotions that had overtaken her during Yurina’s moment with Memi. She then realized that she had grabbed her roommate’s hand harshly. “Your hand! I didn’t accidentally hurt you, right?”

“No, I’ve had worse.”

“That’s really like something Akane would say.” Neru joked along the lines of the Yuuka-Akane parents pair talk that popped up now and then before speaking seriously. “But, painful things hurt, so…” She gently brushed her fingers along Yurina’s hand.

They returned to the cooking station. Around them, everyone else seemed to have finished their preparations as well. The roommates took their seats on the stools and waited for the event to begin, watching people trickle in.

With more people coming and the afternoon sun coming down, the temperatures felt high. Luckily, it was a relatively cool day, but they still made sure to keep some water nearby to prevent getting dehydrated.

A teacher made an announcement with a speaker that the dinner would officially start in ten minutes. If the students wanted to get food prepared by the Keyaki class, they would have to line up first and only get one serving until everyone got a chance to get food. Five minutes after the start, the barbecue would be allowed to start.

A festive mood filled the lot.

The normal Sakamichi students lined up, and soon enough, the event started. The few dozen sandwiches that Neru and Yurina prepared were gone quickly. Luckily, the students lined up relatively calmly, and nothing happened.

A few took the chance to talk with their idolized Keyaki class, but they were ushered away by their classmates like at a handshake event. Someone even dropped the phrase ‘TechiNeru’ by accident before being mobbed by hands trying to cover her mouth.

Thirty minutes hadn’t yet finished, but the sandwiches had.

Taking a sip of water from the water bottle at their station, Yurina suddenly felt her stomach grumble a little bit. She blushed, hearing the sound loudly, before setting down the bottle.

On cue, a hidden chicken katsu sandwich appeared before her mouth. Neru held it out for Yurina, “Here. You should eat.”

Yurina took the sandwich and bit into it, chewing. The flavors of the spices and meat melted in her mouth even though the food had cooled. Eating, she appeared like an otter.

Now that they were left alone in their own world bubble again, the short haired girl found herself getting nervous.

“Neru, you haven’t eaten either.” Looking at the sandwich that she took a bite out of, Yurina glanced at her roommate.

Neru responded, “We can barbecue food later. I’m not that hungry.”

Yurina put the sandwich in front of Neru’s mouth. Even though Neru didn’t take the sandwich back, the short haired girl kept her arm extended until her roommate took a bite of the food.

—Whatever normal is hurts.

The Keyaki class was finally free to join in on the event as the half hour passed. For some reason, Akane got into a barbecue competition with Nagasawa Nanako, so Yuuka helped distribute the barbecued foods, which prompted Aoi to join to help. Yuuka gave Yurina and Neru a heap of food.

Thus, the roommates sat and ate dinner.

Mana and Memi came over, Memi holding her sketchbook, “Hirate-san, Nagahama-san, good evening.” Mana and Memi introduced themselves to Neru after the greeting.

Watching the normal student pair, Yurina couldn’t help but feel a bit envious, remembering how they ended up having their love confession in front of her.

Memi flipped open the sketchbook and handed it over to Yurina to take a look.

Yurina took a look and her lips quirked upward a little before she returned the sketchbook to Memi. “Thank you. It’s beautiful.”

“No, thank you.” Memi shook her head.

After a short interaction, Mana and Memi left the roommates to finish their dinner.

Eating quietly, Yurina watched at Neru used a napkin to wipe away some sauce that had gotten on her face. The short haired girl made sure that she hadn’t gotten any on her own. By the time they had finished eating, the teachers and some school committee students were distributing frozen treats.

Yurina went through the crowd and grabbed an ice pop that had two sticks and could break in half. She returned to her roommate and broke one in half to half to Neru, “Neru, here.”

Neru took the ice pop, “Thanks.”

They walked toward their classmates with a gap between their shoulders. It looked like their friends were already making a commotion, having congregated by coincidence.

“Yuipon, notice me…” Oda Nana was annoying Yuipon.

“Can you get out of the way of the camera a little bit?” Kobayashi Yui snapped a picture with Aoi’s camera and sighed as it turned out to be mostly Oda Nana’s head plus Aoi and Habu in the tiny corner that wasn’t her roommate.

Everyone laughed a little.

Before Yurina and Neru joined their classmates, Yurina stopped to speak, “We’re acting really normal, but is this really okay?”

If they pretended that nothing ever happened in the past few days, life would appear like normal. They would probably be able to continue as friends that were almost the same. The chasm that had opened up would close into just a crack. Yet that felt wrong.

“I don’t know.” Neru answered.

Yet they did know. Yurina’s feelings, Neru’s feelings, they were a kaleidoscope of their souls that created something just right, something strange like rainbow fish swimming in a pretty river where no fish swam.

Yurina took a deep breath. “Neru, I like you. I love you.” Looking Neru straight in the eyes, she poured out her heart, “If you’re okay with something like me, then, would you be willing to go out with me?”

—The person you’ve fallen in love with is...

Nagahama Neru gazed into Yurina’s eyes. It was as if the words, the confession, that spilled out were a dream. She only had one possible response with the way her heart beated.

“Yes. Please take care of me from now on.”

Like that, she learned that first kisses tasted like the fruit juice of ice pops mixed with embarrassing salty happiness.

Detour 2

A second year student, Saitou Kyoko, jumped at the sudden outburst of sound coming from where the popular Keyaki class was, almost bumping into an underclassman. Luckily not having to regain her balance, when she glanced over at the fans of the Keyaki class, she laughed wryly with her deep voice.

Some girl shouted out, “I told you Hirate-san was on top!” In turn, she was quickly dragged away by her friends who told her to be quiet.

From what Kyoko saw, the Keyaki class’s Hirate Yurina kissed Nagahama Neru, an action that had caught the eyes of not only the Keyaki class but also the normal class girls. Kyoko jokingly thought to herself in an old man voice that those first year Keyaki girls were really innocent.

Then, she remembered that she had nearly bumped into an underclassman, one who was wearing a armband that signified her being part of the student council that was helping out in this event. In the end, spacing out, she walked straight into that younger girl.

“Sorry.” Kyoko apologized.

“No, it’s okay.” The underclassman girl shook her head before facing Kyoko straight on. The underclassman observed, a hand on her chin, “You have a really nice voice.”

“Really? Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Without prompting, the underclassman student council member extended a self introduction, “I’m Kageyama Yuuka.”

“Ah, I’m Saitou Kyoko.” Kyoko responded, unsure what Kageyama wanted.

“Kyoko-san, huh.” Kageyama got to the point, “Can I ask you some questions? A survey about how you’ve been feeling about the summer camp this year?”

Kyoko laughed, finally thinking that she understood why the underclassman was talking to her, “Oh, you got stuck with survey work.”

“Well, it’s pretty interesting. I like knowing things, and it’s an excuse to talk to all sorts of upperclassman.” Kageyama grinned.


“Let’s get started then.” Kageyama dug out a small notebook.

Kyoko shrugged casually, “That’s fine with me.” She was a second year student, and she had the luck to have been interrogated by one of her upperclassman in the student council the year before on the camp event. Of course, that interrogation was really just some friendly asking.

“Okay, so, first is, what club are you in?” Kageyama asked, knowing that Kyoko was a second year from her school uniform.

“Noodle appreciation club.”

Kageyama paused, blinking rapidly in confusion for a good ten seconds. Then, she regained her calm, “What’s your favorite type?”

Kyoko knew that wasn’t a survey question, but she answered anyways, “I like Jiro’s ramen.”

“Oh, I’ll jot that down. How has your experience been here so far?” Kageyama resumed the actual survey taking.

Kyoko answered the questions.

“I think that’s about it. Do you have any questions?”

“Since you’re on the student council, do you remember when we have to turn in the application for the performing festival?”

“The cultural festival is still pretty far away, Saitou-san.” Kageyama laughed. Then she made a thinking face. “The secretary said that the schedule is packed this year, so I think the deadline is sometime before the sports festival. Applications haven’t started yet though.”


“You’re welcome.” After that, the underclassman made a quick bow and waved goodbye to Kyoko, hurrying off elsewhere.

Kyoko let out a huff of amusement and thought that Kageyama had something clever and sparkling on the inside. She heard a teacher announce that they had brought more refreshments since the refreshments had unexpectedly run out. Just as Kyoko was about to head over, she was tackled down by her best friend.

It looked like the night wasn’t over for talkative people.

“Kyoko, Kyoko, Kyoko, even though I’m tone deaf, I got praised!”

I'm leaving the note at the end of the chapter this time. Whew, a proper checkpoint that made things move and a slice of life detour. I've made a realization that Eccentric is technically a rom-com. Except, it's lacking in the comedy part half the time and the romance gets pretty painful. Yea, it's not a rom-com.

With that, TechiNeru is together! There will definitely be different obstacles in their way, but Aoi might finally get some screen time in her own arc. This short span of TechiNeru being awkward and distant but ultimately coming together really highlights their closeness. In the end, it's hard to be apart from people you love. (Clingy otter Techi)

Thank you for reading! I hope you continue to read this story~ I'll try to keep up with updates too.

@Minami-chan: Thank you for reading and commenting always! I really appreciate it. For who called Neru's phone... it's somewhat of a secret that will be answered later in the story. But, I can give a clue that the person is: not a member of the Keyaki class and someone involved in a darker part of the system in the story.
@MaYukiIsLife: *laughs evilly* The hiragana member who was with Memi... was Manafi! By the way, Katoshi actually made a one-two sentence appearance in Yuuka's arc. Kyoko's made her appearance here too with a special someone at the end. I wonder when Ayaka will come in. Although Gana-chans aren't a big focus here. (In other words, Detours are basically completely side stories.)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 05:11:46 AM by Shinoki »

Offline MaYukiIsLife

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 37 + Detour 2 (July 19, 2018)]
« Reply #145 on: July 21, 2018, 01:26:48 AM »
I already talked to you on Twitter about this. BUt thanks for adding a bit of KyonKage lol.

Offline four4four

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 37 + Detour 2 (July 19, 2018)]
« Reply #146 on: July 21, 2018, 07:11:24 AM »
Aoi needs to try harder, so she can take the spotlight back.
It's her arc after all. :lol:

Checkpoint 34.5:
TechiNeru needs to make up soon. :(
Who is this mysterious person on the phone?!?!?! I want to know who! :angry:

Checkpoint 35:
Yay! Risa and Aoi made up.
Step 1 of committing crime: never leave behind evidence. :P

Checkpoint 36:
Are TechiNeru going to make up? :w00t:
Who's with Memi? :?

Checkpoint 37:
Completely forgot about that scene with Mana.
YASHHHH! TechiNeru is a thing now! :wub:

Detour 2:
Why does Kage want to know Kyoko's favourite ramen? XD
Who is this person at the end? :?

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Coffee Courage Plus OS <OzeRisa> (July 22, 2018)]
« Reply #147 on: July 22, 2018, 07:17:15 PM »
@four4four: Thank you for reading! Hopefully, the last few chapters to wrap up the arc will be able to focus on Aoi more. The mysterious person on the phone... I want to give spoilers, but I don't know if there's a way to do that on here. So, it's a secret~ Kage asked Kyonko about the ramen because she was curious. And the person who tackled Kyonko is Mao.
@MaYukiIsLife: No problem.

I wrote this OzeRisa one shot because I was getting a little irritated at how my MonaRisa shipping friends always complained about OzeRisa. While I'm not an OzeRisa main shipper, we can all ship what we ship. (lol, but seriously no more one shots for the time being) I'm not really sure about their dynamic together, so it might be written a bit awkwardly though.

I've set up a poll to see if I should separate the oneshots and Eccentric. Please vote.

Anyways, please enjoy!

Coffee Courage Plus

She was waiting at the airport for her friend, walking around having come too early, when she heard a slight commotion. Her phone buzzed in her hand, notifying her that her friend’s flight had been delayed to tomorrow due to weather safety concerns.

Sighing, the girl, Ozeki Rika, decided to go see what the commotion was about. She had come to the airport after all. As she got closer, she heard chattering about a celebrity coming back to Japan here, and it seemed that the fans were waiting. She spaced out for a moment only to find herself pushed into the wave of people that the security was trying to control.

The celebrity’s entourage arrived, staff blocking the view of the crowd, which riled the crowd up even more.

Ozeki tried to escape the crowd, but she found herself getting pushed around so fiercely that she was nearly pushed over and trampled. She berated herself for her curiosity since she didn’t even know who the celebrity was. The main celebrity that she was interested in had already retired two months back for an unexplained reason.

Feeling herself lose her balance, she braced herself for the worst.

Eyes closed, she held her breath for a good ten seconds. Yet, she wasn’t trampled. A slender hand had grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the crowd. Ozeki didn’t dare open her eyes until she finally exited the crowd and stumbled back to balance.

Ozeki blurted out a word of gratitude. “T-thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Ozeki’s savior smiled.

Ozeki looked at her savior, a tall girl wearing a fashionably coordinated outfit and a cap on her head that hid her face. Something about her savior reminded Ozeki of someone, but Ozeki couldn’t put her finger on exactly who. That smile just filled her with a pleasant sensation of nostalgia.

Seeing her savior about to leave, Ozeki’s fingers brushed against her savior’s fingers, almost grabbing the other girl’s hand but stopping upon realizing that such an action would be rude. Nonetheless, Ozeki didn’t want the girl to leave yet. “Um, let me treat you to something as thanks for saving me.”

The girl made a hum of contemplation before nodding, “I’m free today, so I guess I’ll take you up on that offer.”

“Yay.” Ozeki cheered with a grin.

The girl laughed. “Haha, Oze, you haven’t changed at all.” She lifted her cap a little bit, revealing a familiar face that Ozeki hadn’t seen in a long time.

“Eh?” Ozeki paused.

The girl, a friend from childhood, Watanabe Risa, took Ozeki’s hand into her own hand and teasingly asked, “What will you treat me to then?”

With her head spinning in confusion upon meeting Risa again, Ozeki couldn’t reply at all. Somehow, they made their way to a coffee shop nearby, outside of the airport, that Ozeki really liked.

It was only when they took their seats and were asked by the owners, two otter-like girls named Yurina and Memi, about what they wanted to order that Ozeki snapped out of her dream-like state. Seeing Risa again was a dream for Ozeki.

Ozeki awkwardly ordered her usual coffee and cake, and Risa coolly ordered some cake and coffee, jokingly saying that eating some extra sweets was fine if it was on Ozeki’s money.

“So…” Ozeki tried to start the conversation. “What have you been doing recently, Risa?” They hadn’t talked in five years now, their situations breaking them apart.

“I’ve been travelling overseas. How about you?” Risa responded.

Ozeki laughed, “Nothing fancy like that. I’m attending Keyaki University right now. You know, they have good scholarships.”

Risa nodded, stirring her coffee. “Maybe I should enroll there then. I might be a bit behind since I focused too much on work last year.”

There was a difference between their lives, the Rika who lived a normal middle class life and the Risa whose family was so wealthy that she didn’t truly need to work. Once upon a time, the Ozeki and Watanabe families were at the same level, highly prestigious families who owned large conglomerates.

However, disaster struck the Ozeki family, which caused the Ozeki family to go bankrupt while others took over the conglomerate with mergers or just buying out the shares.

Ozeki and Risa had been friends, their families also friendly, but in the end, the Watanabe family coldly stood back and didn’t help despite Risa sticking up for Ozeki during the period of unrest where their harsher schoolmates looked at the struggling Ozeki family badly.

However, that was the past. In the end, the Ozeki family couldn’t be saved, and they became normal people who climbed their way back up to middle class. The first year was difficult, the next less so. The financial aspect of life before and after was jarring, but they had no choice but to get used to living.

Just like that, Rika and Risa also stopped interacting with each other much, unable to talk to each other as classmates and at social parties.

Ozeki realized that a silence had fell between them. “You were modelling, right?” Ozeki inquired despite already knowing.

“Yea, I was. Did you buy any of the magazines?” Risa teased.

Ozeki blushed a little, but she nodded nonetheless. She used her money from her part time job to buy the magazines where her childhood friend modelled. After all, Risa was pretty.

“Thanks.” Risa smirked.

Ozeki covered her face in embarrassment. “Did I say that out loud?”

“Yea.” At that, Risa couldn’t help but laugh.

Ozeki made a dead fish look at Risa. She just couldn’t keep the face up, mouth scrunching up in her own style before ultimately smiling. Eating some cake and looking at Risa, feeling a butterfly in her stomach at the cute face Risa made at the deliciousness of the cake, Ozeki asked, “Why did you stop modelling?”

Risa sheepishly smiled, “Ah, my parents wanted me to get married.”

Ozeki nearly dropped her fork and choked out, “It’s way too soon for that!”

“Right?” Risa nodded. “You know Shida Manaki? My parents are interested in forming a deal with the Shida family.”

“Eh, Manaki?” Ozeki thought for a moment, remembering a somewhat flashy boy with a kind heart who was in their class in their last year together and third year in middle school. “I guess he and Berika aren’t dating anymore then?”

“As far as I know, they broke up temporarily recently. But, they do that once in a while. Even Pe gets mad when Manaki keeps flirting with Akane. Of course, I heard that Yuuka beat him up with a horse afterward.”

“Ouch…” Ozeki winced at the thought. “I haven’t seen them since… well, that, but I guess they haven’t changed much.”

“They really haven’t. Did you know? They bugged me for a good while about wanting to chat with you again and see your Ozeki style back then.”

“Ahaha…” Ozeki laughed weakly. Even she wanted to meet them again, those friends that she had made in the past, but their social positions had fallen too far apart, and she hadn’t met them in forever.

Risa made a troubled face, knowing what was going on in Ozeki’s mind.

They chatted a bit more, changing the topic. They had finished their cake and coffee, but the shop owners let the pair of friends continue sitting and chatting. It was a fun and light experience like a piece of a puzzle finally being found and put in place.

Only, the puzzle piece couldn’t last. Risa’s phone suddenly rang.

The former model apologized to Ozeki and picked up the phone. The smile on Risa’s face faded away to a look of frustration as she talked with the other person on the phone.

Ozeki asked, “You have to go now?”

“Yea, a marriage interview came up all of a sudden.” Risa replied, face disgruntled and unwilling to go.

“Ah, do your best.” Ozeki made an unwilling face as well that caused Risa’s expression to loosen.

With a joking tone that hinted that, ‘you’re not the one going.’ Risa got up from her seat and said, “Yea, I will.”

As Risa waved goodbye, leaving, Ozeki felt displeasure in her heart. Without thinking, she jumped up and called out to Risa to wait. “Wait, can I have your number?” Upon seeing Risa’s surprised expression, Ozeki stuck on a completely fake explanation, “Because you ate too much cake, so I have to repay you if you get fat.”

“Hey.” Risa feigned an angry expression. “Are you calling me fat?”

“N-n-no. That’s not what I meant.”


“I just wanted your number. I’m sorry…”

Risa let that upset look disappear and giggled, “I knew. If you want my number, don’t make such dumb excuses. Here. Let’s exchange numbers.”

Ozeki brought out her cell phone nervously. The pair exchanged numbers. Sadly, quickly after, Risa had to leave, and they also exchanged words of ‘see you later.’

Ozeki watched as Risa left and sighed, placing her forehead down on the cool table. She heard her heartbeat, and she heard a pair of footsteps coming toward her. As the footsteps stopped, Ozeki raised her head to see the owners of the shop come over with a smile and a cake.

Memi jokingly said as she placed the plate with the cake in front of Ozeki, “Here’s another cake on the house for your sad pick-up line.”

“That’s pretty mean, Memi-san.” Ozeki grumbled.

Yurina, the other owner, smiled wryly and agreed with Ozeki, “Yea...” She had fumbled over her own pick up lines when she tried to get Memi to go out with her back in the days before they were practically married and owning a shop together.

“Thanks.” Ozeki took a bite out of the cake, feeling a kindred spirit in the short haired owner. Rather than Risa getting fat, Ozeki felt that she would be the one getting fat.

“Well, as long as you have courage, it’s fine.” Memi smiled enigmatically.

They kept in contact. Texting each other, giving each other phone calls, even meeting up to go to cafes and see a movie one time, Ozeki felt like her friendship with Risa had returned to when they were younger and classmates. Yet, at the end of each precious moment, she was torn back to reality.

Risa would be taken away by that gilded world while Ozeki would live a normal life as a normal person in a world of normality. The expression that Risa would make at the end of each meeting and the way Risa’s voice would lower in tone as a servant called for her, interrupting their phone calls, only served to highlight everything.

Ozeki Rika’s heart hurt.

It hurt because she wanted to stay by Risa’s side, but she could give nothing.

Even if she calligraphed out the words ‘I love you,’ she couldn’t give those either because they were just pretty words on paper. Words couldn’t bridge a social gap, nor could they heal the wound in Ozeki’s heart from when her family had been so cruelly kicked down.

Neither Rika or Risa able to voice their feelings, time passed.

One day, Ozeki received an unexpected message. In her mailbox, not through the usual text messages, she found a fancy invitation to a party. She wondered if her mail had gotten mixed up.

Risa’s phone call came quickly after, “Oze, there’s a party for our middle school reunion. Do you want to come?”

Ozeki opened up the invitation as she talked with Risa and replied, seeing what was written on the invitation, “I got an invitation in the mail.”

“Oh? Probably Nijika then…” Risa sighed, sounding exasperated over the phone.

“Nijika knows my address?”

Risa replied dead serious despite telling the world’s biggest lie. “Nijika knows everything.”


“No, actually, Neru and Nijika are dating now, and Neru supplies her with a lot of information.” Risa explained. Nagahama Neru was the heir to an information company.

Ozeki laughed, “Poor Nijika.” She felt warm that her old friends still cared, but she was happiest getting Risa’s call and hearing the slight jealousy in Risa’s voice that Risa wasn’t the first to send the news.

“Most of it goes in one ear and out the other.” Risa stated, speaking for herself and her slightly not-book-savvy friend, Nijika. She returned to the previous topic, “Will you come?”

Ozeki paused, unsure, but she heard the pleadingness in Risa’s voice, “Yea… if it’s okay.”

“Thank you.” Risa’s voice picked up. “It’s casual formal, so don’t worry too much about clothes. Even if it’s a bit unfashionable, it’s okay.”

“Hey.” Ozeki pouted. “I should still be better Oda Nana and Yone-san.”

Risa only laughed cheerfully in response.

The second she walked into the party, she felt that she was out of place. Although at first glance, the clothes and the people appeared normal, they were brand names of the simplest things. At first glance, the food seemed like normal food at a middle school reunion, but a single flask of that champagne was worth a toe.

Ozeki walked into the party robotically, trying not to stand out.

Yet, in the end, her old friends noticed her and made her stand out in a chorus of “Ozeki!” “OzeRika!” “Orika came!” and whatnot. The classmates who had looked down on her back then for her family’s situation still send condescending looks over but kept quiet to not insult the upper level heirs that remembered Ozeki fondly.

Chatting with her old friends awkwardly, Ozeki looked around for Risa, but Risa had yet to arrive.

Risa finally arrived after Ozeki was drowned in the public displays of affection between Manaki and Berika as well as Akane and Yuuka, which made the middle class girl wonder if there was something in the water. Somehow, Ozeki relaxed because everyone was still everyone.

“I’m sorry I’m late.” Risa rushed toward Ozeki to apologize.

Ozeki shook her head, “No, it’s okay.” When she looked at Risa, she couldn’t help but hold her breath in amazement that Risa was wonderful no matter what.

Their middle school friends had given the pair room to stare into each other’s eyes romantically in the middle of a party. There were a few encouraging snickers and smacks from the audience.

Once the moment ended, Neru asked Risa, “What kept you? There shouldn’t have been any traffic.”

“My parents set up another marriage interview.” Risa sighed.

Shida Manaki piped up. “Yea, we’re not getting married.”

“Quiet, Manaki.” Both Watanabe Risa and Watanabe Rika, Manaki’s girlfriend, said at the same time.

The flashy youth shrank away sheepishly, “Yes, ma’am.”

“Of course I didn’t accept.” Risa glanced toward Ozeki. “It was with Morimoto.”

Someone murmured, remembering their middle school classmate, “That sexist jerk?” Not only was Morimoto a sexist jerk, but he also looked down on anyone with less wealth than himself despite his family having a history of dirty money.

Risa scowled just thinking about him, folding her arms, “He’s still a sexist jerk.”

They tried changed the topic, but right on cue, the Morimoto they were talking about entered the party. He swaggered over to Risa, leering at their female classmates and pushing Ozeki aside like dirt before wiping off his clothes.

Risa glared at him, but she backed away, not wanting to be close to him.

“You know what they say. I like them feisty, right, Shida?” Morimoto sneered.

Manaki scowled, “You’re disgusting. Just get away from Risa.”

Morimoto ignored Manaki’s complaint and pushed the other boy aside. “As far as I’m concerned, her parents have already given her to me. The Watanabe family wants that contract with the Morimoto family.”

“I refuse.” Risa stated clearly. She gestured secretly to Ozeki not to get involved because she didn’t want Ozeki to get hurt.
Ozeki watched, frozen in place. On one hand, she was afraid of Morimoto who had bullied her in the past. On the other, there hadn’t been a single person in this world that she wanted to murder more in her life.

Morimoto took a step closer to Risa, his hand reaching to touch her.

And Ozeki moved. She didn’t think. She just kicked him with her unfashionable shoes and took Risa’s hand just like Risa had taken her when she was in trouble, dragging the girl she loved away from the danger to safety. Ozeki pulled Risa to their friends and glared harshly at Morimoto.

“You bi-” Morimoto barked.

“You know what? Screw you! Who gave you the right to… to…!?” Ozeki sputtered as she confronted Morimoto, not flinching from his ugly mien.

The friends made like a wall between Morimoto and the Ozeki-Risa couple. It wasn’t that they weren’t a protective group before, but rather Ozeki didn’t feel it before.

Berika told off Morimoto, holding Manaki’s hand, “Like Ozeki said, go away.”

Seeing Morimoto’s dark expression, Neru stepped up to the plate and revealed the screen of her phone, “I’ve pulled up the Morimoto family’s dealings while you were busy digging a hole for yourself, so… let’s just see how you’ll fare tomorrow.”

Morimoto stumbled back, a cold sweat developing. He lunged forward to try to grab the phone only to get tripped to the side by Neru.

With no other choice, he fled with his tail between his legs.

After confirming that he was gone, the tension among the former classmates slowly dissipated. They were able to go back to a cheerful party mood.

Manaki came over to Ozeki with sparkling eyes and praised, “Ozeki’s cool.” The others had been about to step in and scare Morimoto off, but Ozeki beat them to the punch.

Akane also came over with a thumbs up, “I don’t remember you having this much guts before.”

“Well, I just took some love advice from a friend…” Ozeki sheepishly smiled. “I think.” She remembered hearing Memi who ran her usual coffee shop encouraging her to be bolder.

Risa, still holding Ozeki’s hand, raised an eyebrow, “Love?”

“Erk.” Ozeki choked.

Risa hummed in playful curiosity, “Hm?”

“I’ll just say it.” Ozeki Rika confessed, “Risa, I like you.”

“I’ve been waiting for you to say it. I like you too.” Risa replied with a kiss.

“...ah, public displays of affection.”

“Quiet, Manaki.”

This is kind of unrelated, but...

I was going to post it before KeyaKake and knowing the 7th single line up, but I didn't have time. I'm really down (it feels so lonely) about the senbatsu without Zuumin, Manaka, and Aoi. Zuumin and Manaka are my oshimen. And even though I should have expected Manaka to be gone... it's just really lonely.

I look forward to the day that our silly King Mona comes back. Let's bury her in Aoko and sweets and Pokemon and things like that.

Offline Minami-chan

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Checkpoint 37: at last!
Techi has decided to leave aside his fears and try to be happy with Neru.
I guess this is the beginning of a lot of problems, but I love being together.

Coffee Courage Plus: It's not a couple that I like, but I do not dislike it either.
Actually, I started to follow Keyakizaka thanks to: Tokuyama Daigorō or Dare ga Koroshitaka ?,
so I have small sequels of that Risa x Neru.

About the survey, I prefer to separate the topics, but what you decide will be fine.

Offline mooza

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ahhh techineru official!!! im so happy but hmm..doesn't feel like things are all gonna be sunshines and rainbows in the coming future. there's still many things you've yet to reveal to us :P i'll be looking forward

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 38 (Aug. 5, 2018)]
« Reply #150 on: August 06, 2018, 05:10:22 AM »
@Minami-chan: RisaNeru is great too~ Thanks for your opinion on where to put the one-shots.
@mooza: *evil laughter* *more evil laughter* *chokes on evil laughter* For now, TechiNeru gets a little bit of sunshines and rainbow before my *evil laughter* kicks in.

I'm sorry for the wait! This checkpoint is a light hearted episode. Aoi's arc will be wrapping up in a few checkpoints, and it'll be followed by a mini-arc. The next proper arc will be Yuichanzu's arc.

Checkpoint 38

With the dinner event finished and the new couple formed, the Keyaki class had headed back to their dorm with a gain of points on their wrist devices. Before long, a week passed, and within that time period, the club summer camp had ended.

They were assigned a third task to assist the student council for a day, so the girls gathered at the student council’s large room.

At the head of the room, a tall third year student clapped her hands together to get everyone’s attention before starting to speak, “Thank you for coming to help. I’m the student council president, Sasaki Kumi.” Kumi looked at the twenty-one gathered girls, “Everyone in the Keyaki class only entered Sakamichi this year, so I’ll explain a few things.

“Around the end of summer vacation and the resuming of school, we tend to get a bit busy because of all of the events. Right after school starts, Sakamichi has its athletic festival, and pretty soon afterward, the cultural festival comes on.

“It’s not the busy season yet, but if we don’t get our loose ends tied up, we’ll be scrambling around to get those things done when we need to focus, so you all coming is a really big help. Many of our student council members are out vacationing right now too.

“I’ll tell you what specific tasks we need assistance on after splitting everyone into groups for efficiency.

“Oh, by the way, the student council has a special little thing planned for tonight, so everyone here can join in if they want.” With a smile, the president finished up her introduction.

The Keyaki class girls clapped. Aoi’s hands also clapped, but as she glanced beside her to her classmate Watanabe Rika, she couldn’t help but feel like the ditzy Watanabe hadn’t listened to a single word said. When Aoi glanced over to Yurina and Neru, she found them clinging to each other, fingers hooked together.

Quickly, they were all split into groups to help with the work.

Aoi found herself sitting in between Yurina and Neru, facing Risa and Manaka. For some reason, she felt like she was being a third wheel that was forcing a stop to the flirting by her physical existence.

They were given paperwork to sort through and told to do it leisurely.

“Did your previous schools have sport and cultural festivals?” Neru started a conversation.

Everyone nodded.

“That’s nice.” Neru smiled wryly with nostalgia. “Mine was a really small school, so we didn’t really have a cultural festival. What did you do?”

“Ah…” Yurina let out a barely audible noise.

“Last year was… a haunted house. Although I just manned the entrance.” Risa said after thinking for a moment. Then she snorted, seeing Manaka’s face, “Hey, what’s with that disappointed expression?”

Manaka glanced away, “We also did a haunted house, but I was forced to be a ghost.”

“I want to see pictures of that.”

“That’s embarrassing.” Manaka gently swatted at Risa.

Aoi looked at the love birds in front of her with lukewarm eyes. She could just read Risa’s mind, which was going on non-stop about how adorable her girlfriend was. Naturally, Aoi was sure that Manaka's head had similar thoughts.

Neru then inquired, “How about you, Aoi?”

“Eh?” Aoi hadn’t felt the flow of the conversation coming toward herself. “Well, we did a mini arts and crafts auction. Our festival was only a half day thing.”

While chatting and working, they went through the afternoon. Before long, a few stomachs growled. No one knew how long they were supposed to help out, and seeing the student council members diligently chugging on, the Keyaki girls thought that they would keep going for a bit longer.

The door to the student council room suddenly opened. The president came in rolling a cart while another member rolled in another cart, the smell of food coming in.

President Kumi cheerfully said, “I brought ramen for everyone!”

To the surprise of the Keyaki class, the student council members collectively let out a groan, “Urgh…”

Laughing awkwardly, she raised a hand, gesturing for them to stop, and added, “And sandwiches.”

“Ohh.” The student council’s response to sandwiches was a little better.

“Come and get dinner.” The president said, causing the student council members to gather and get their food. Seeing the Keyaki class shyly sit there, Kumi called them over as well. “The Keyaki class too. There’s too much ramen anyways.”

The Keyaki class got their dinners.

As Aoi broke open her disposable chopsticks, a bowl of ramen in front of her, she couldn’t help but wonder aloud why ramen made the student council members cry out in agony.

A student council member passing by, a sweet girl called Sasaki Mirei, explained the ramen situation, “The noodle appreciation club gave us a lot of coupons for ramen. They’re so much we need help eating the ramen. Even though I’m bread…”

Aoi nodded, dumbfounded by the sorrow she felt in her new acquaintance’s voice.

“Aoi.” A voice from across the table called out to Aoi.

Aoi noticed that Risa had obtained her ramen and sat down with Manaka, “What is it, Risa?”

With a practiced ease, the cool Watanabe placed a vegetable in Aoi’s mouth, “Here.”

Aoi chewed and swallowed the vegetable. For some reason, Risa took that as a cue to feed all the things that she didn’t want to eat to Aoi.

Aoi couldn’t believe that she had to say the words that she said, “Hey, eat your vegetables properly.”

“Aoi-chan.” A chopstick from behind plopped some vegetables into Aoi’s bowl accompanied by a soft voice of a person walking by.

“Berika, not you too!” Aoi pouted, not wanting to eat the vegetables just like her friends. She turned to her short haired classmate to try to make an example, “Look, Techi’s properly eating her vege-”

While Yurina was indeed eating her vegetables, Neru was feeding Yurina. The couple that was acting like newlyweds froze in the middle of their flirting at the sudden attention. Neru blushed, and Yurina hid her face in Neru’s shoulder.

Aoi ate her vegetables and ramen, ignoring her crazy friends.

After dinner, the sun began to set, and before long, the sky was dark. The student council president once more went to the head of the room and made an announcement.

« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 06:14:46 AM by Shinoki »

Offline mooza

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 38 (Aug. 5, 2018)]
« Reply #151 on: August 06, 2018, 06:46:51 AM »
the couples need to get a room. jk im glad to see techineru happy FOR NOW.

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 38 (Aug. 5, 2018)]
« Reply #152 on: August 07, 2018, 11:49:45 AM »
“Look, Techi’s properly eating her vege-”

While Yurina was indeed eating her vegetables, Neru was feeding Yurina. The couple that was acting like newlyweds froze in the middle of their flirting at the sudden attention. Neru blushed, and Yurina hid her face in Neru’s shoulder.

Checkpoint 38: The couple Techi and Neru seem adorable. I hope to see more interactions between them, although it seems that both are shy.
Are you going to mix Neru with the other characters in the school? As she was Hiragana, I thought maybe you were thinking about it...

Offline four4four

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 38 (Aug. 5, 2018)]
« Reply #153 on: August 11, 2018, 07:08:25 PM »
3rd wheel? More like spare tire (5th wheel). :lol:
Poor Aoi; not only is she a 5th wheel, but she is the vegetable dumpster. XD
What did Kumi announce? :?

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 38 (Aug. 5, 2018)]
« Reply #154 on: August 17, 2018, 10:35:14 PM »
 :cow: :cow: :cow:

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 39 (Aug. 20, 2018)]
« Reply #155 on: August 20, 2018, 06:13:37 AM »
Checkpoint 39

The student council president had happily announced the summer staple activity, encouraging everyone to participate so that they might be able to hold one as a summer camp activity.

The rules were simple. Given a flashlight and course area marked out on the ground with glowing stickers, each group was to find an amulet. The idea was that they could be timed, and the fastest returning pair won.

Aoi thought that the activity sounded like fun.

She had said to her roommate who had wisely chosen to sit out with the panicking Imaizumi, “How bad can it be? It’s like a outdoors haunted house, right?”

The student council had made the test of courage too scary.

Thus, at the moment, thought the Keyaki class had returned to the dorm, Aoi still remembered the terrifying ghost with an axe stuck in her head. Aoi had made sure to emphasize to the student council in the after-survey that they needed to tone down the terror.

Laughter filled the dorm lounge.

Rolling on the carpet with a sigh of relief that she didn’t see anymore ghosts, Aoi overheard a suspicious conversation from Risa and Manaka about Risa mercilessly killing a Diglett Aoi in a Pokemon battle. Aoi pretended not to hear.

Even as she stayed silent, none of their rowdy cheer was interrupted.

Snap. As Aoi started to sit up, she suddenly felt her field of vision filled with a blinding light. She sputtered out in surprise, trailing off as her sight cleared up, “Ow! What was that for…?”

“Sorry, sorry, I didn’t think flash was on.” Suzumoto apologized, holding onto Aoi’s camera. She had been about to take a picture of Aoi’s sleeping face, seeing as Aoi had stealthily snapped sleeping pictures of everyone else at some point. “I thought you were sleeping, so, you know.”

Aoi did not know. “Hey, no sleeping pictures, okay?” She puffed up her cheeks and hid her face behind her hands.

Manaka laughed as she joined the conversation, “It’s fine, isn’t it? We can make a family collection of sleeping pictures.”

“Mom. Dad. Kid. Daughter-in-law.” Risa lazily pointed to Akane, Yuuka, Yurina, and Neru before gesturing to Aoi. “Aoi’s the pet dog.”

Someone spoke up, “I think we’ve had this conversation before.”

“Oh, I see.” Aoi nodded her head sagely at Risa’s explanation. Then she whipped her head around to retort, “Wait, what? Hey, I’m not the dog!”

“Pet burdock root.” Manaka joked much to the chagrin of the other burdock root in the lounge.

Uemura gave her suggestion, somehow having received the granny role, “Pet little sister.”

“I’m okay being the little sister without the pet part.” Aoi puffed up her cheeks. She would have liked to be the pampered little sister more than the teased little sister, but her heart was content with the role.

Just like that, Aoi was coerced into pretending to sleep so that they could take a photo of her sleeping.

After taking photos to their hearts’ content, the class handed off the camera to Risa. Risa flipped through the photos, many of which she had seen and many of which were newly taken by her classmates recently.

Flippantly, she stated, “Hey, let’s print out these pictures.”

Aoi frowned, thinking about the embarrassing fake-sleeping photos that had just been snapped, “Eh, no way.”

“Didn’t you say that we should make memories?” Jabbing Aoi on the forehead, Risa dangled the camera in front of Aoi. “You didn’t take any photos with yourself in them, so we even made memories for you.”

Manaka snickered as she took the camera out of Risa’s hand, “Though Risa says that, aren’t some of them pretty crazy blurred? Mostly the group photos.”

“You know how it is when you have short people.” Fuu-chan laughed, gesturing to Uemura and Imaizumi followed by Habu. “Tall people.” Then, she gestured to her friend group. “And normal people. Right? It’s hard to get them in a frame.”

The ever-so-diligent Yone quickly retorted, “No, no, no, I don’t think that’s how it works.”

“Let me take the group photo then.” Aoi sighed.

“Well, there’s no point if you’re not in it.” Risa shrugged. Seeing the short haired girl about to say something, the cool Watanabe retorted before Yurina spoke, “Techi, you too.”

At Risa’s words, Aoi stealthily wiped her eyes. She suddenly spoke up in a clear voice, “You know, I love everyone in the Keyaki class.”

“Yea, I know.” Risa nodded casually.

“Hey, don’t interrupt.” Aoi automatically retorted.

Manaka held back her laughter as she consoled her girlfriend, Risa having a conflicted expression on her face.

Aoi continued, finishing up her declaration to her classmates, “Everyone’s a precious friend, and I’m glad that I met everyone. I’m glad that we became friends and that you’re okay with being friends with me.”

The lounge was filled with silence. Everyone looked at their burdock root, pet dog, little sister, more importantly, their precious though a little annoying at times friend in surprise.

Neru broke the silence, “It’s a given after all.”

Fuu-chan sniffled a little, smiling, as she wiped the corners of her eyes, “Of course we’re friends. Group hug?”

“I don’t really kn-” Yone, who was adverse to germs, started a rebuttal but was quickly piled on top of by her more rambunctious classmates.

Ozeki only added to the pile, “Eh? Group hu- oops!”

Yuuka barely avoided becoming a casualty of the situation. Holding the camera and handing it over to Aoi who was at the center of the hug, she smiled as she went to join the hug, “Why don’t we take that group photo right now?”

“Can we do it before I die?” Oda Nana choked.

“Ah, geez! My eyes are puffy right now.” Aoi broke out into a lopsided grin, “I guess it can’t be helped though.”

Nagasawa Nanako also whimpered in a dead voice, “Anytime now.”

Aoi turned the flip screen of the camera over and said the magic words, “Smile!”

Using the camera that she hadn’t taken pictures with in a while, Aoi took a messy selfie with herself half buried under her classmates. She was smiling so brightly that later when she looked at the chaos, she would get a little embarrassed and hide the picture away, but she would never get rid of it.

At this point, the content of <AOI> is more or less wrapped up in a messy checkpoint. Friendship! That's a power that holds everyone together. (I'm sorry, Aoi, but your arc turned into something really messy overall.)

There will still be an Interlude or so before the arc officially ends. However, in my outline, there's supposed to be a mini-arc featuring OzeUemu in the sports festival before Yuichanzu (3 checkpoints maybe?), I still need to think about the arc it falls under.

Sorry for the long delay. Before I knew it, I accidentally passed my self-set deadline of 14 days max for updates.

My oshimen Imaizumi Yui has announced her graduation from Keyakizaka46. I have 2 oshimen, Manaka and Zuumin. For me, this announcement was extremely sad. The idea that there would be no more Zuumin in Keyaki, no more Yuichanzu, and no more all the precious things that Zuumin brought is extremely painful. However, let's look to the future. Although Zuumin is graduating, I hope you guys will keep supporting her as a solo talent from now on. I'll keep writing Yuichanzu related stories too!

@Minami-chan: Thank you for reading! Sorry for the long delay. TechiNeru is adorable, huhuhu. For this story at least, it focuses so heavily on Kanji Keyaki that I don't think there will be that much Hiragana-Neru mixing in the main story. There might be some in the Detours, and if I ever get there, the after-story Memories (chapters about events that happened but weren't covered).
@mooza: FOR NOW. Dun dun dun!
@four4four: The announcement was a test of courage. Since tests of courage are a total staple of summer episodes, I thought I would include one in this arc. We got the pool episode after all, but I couldn't figure out how to write it, so it got kind of cut out. The test of courage was the original Checkpoint 39.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 06:29:42 PM by Shinoki »

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Checkpoint 39 (Aug. 20, 2018)]
« Reply #156 on: August 23, 2018, 10:08:00 PM »
Thanks for the update.
The truth is that the activity proposed by the president, looks good.
It's like a treasure hunt.
It can give a good chapter.
It seems that with Aoi and everything is solved, that's fine. That he has realized that they are all friends.

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Interlude 6 (Aug. 24, 2018)]
« Reply #157 on: August 24, 2018, 06:28:12 PM »
Interlude 6

On the first day, still irritated by the metal bracelet around her left wrist, Oda Nana couldn’t help but fiddle with the device as she walked with the rest of her class to see dorm room assignments. She wondered if they would get single rooms, given that the dorm building was definitely large enough for twenty girls.

Her classmates made up a great assortment of people whose names she was doing her best to remember. Since they would be together for a while, Oda Nana was confident that she would get to know everyone soon enough.

Of her classmates, she noticed most the pretty girl with long hair and a soft, but somewhat sad default expression. Kobayashi Yui, that was the girl’s name. Maybe Oda Nana’s heart skipped a beat, but she was just drawn toward Kobayashi.

In her daze during the self introductions, Oda Nana nearly didn’t notice the darting gaze of yet another cute girl who glanced at her a number of times. If Oda Nana remembered correctly, that girl’s name was Suzumoto Miyu.

Oda Nana couldn’t help but sigh internally that she was among too many cute girls while she herself was only how she was.

The class found the room assignments. When Oda Nana glanced up, she couldn’t help but shake her head and look again. Everyone was in pairs except for herself and another girl named Hirate Yurina who had been in a seat near her.

Hirate was stuck all alone, a good thing or a bad thing, Oda Nana didn’t know since they were merely acquaintances.

Oda was however placed with two other girls, Suzumoto and Kobayashi. Oda Nana wondered if the supervisor had mixed up something, making a one and a three when the rooms could have been plain and simple, two and two.

Nonetheless, she went to her room later with her new roommates. Getting settled in, they reintroduced themselves and chatted, Suzumoto awkward, Kobayashi quiet, and Oda Nana brightening the mood.

As the three were roommates, they naturally spent more time together. Sitting close in the classroom, they formed a lunch squad with Yurina and eventually the late joining Neru.

Oda Nana loved hearing Kobayashi sing. The prettiest voice for the prettiest girl, she found the two Yuis who dubbed themselves Yuichanz together singing at times. A part of Oda Nana’s soul shined when she saw Kobayashi’s bright smile together with Imaizumi.

It wasn’t as if Kobayashi wouldn’t smile for Oda Nana. When Oda Nana took stalker-like photos of her roommate, Kobayashi at times would pose and giggle at Oda Nana’s antics. At other times, Oda Nana would be scolded or ignored for being weird.

Kobayashi never seemed to realize Oda Nana’s feelings.

Perhaps it was because Oda Nana was too forward about it. Oda Nana didn’t believe she wore her heart on her sleeve, but from the start, she had proclaimed the feelings she had for Kobayashi from her heart. At first, they might have been superficial, but bit by bit, Oda Nana fell for the awkward parts of Kobayashi, the teasing parts, the silly parts, the childish parts, everything, even the part that liked to be with Imaizumi.

Honestly, it hurt a little to be continuously shot down as a joke.

During a lunch break before exams, Suzumoto had come up behind Oda and started playing with her roommate’s hair. Suzumoto asked, “Hey, Oda Nana, who do you like the most in the class?”

“Of course it’s Yuipon.” Oda Nana replied smoothly with her usual expression.

Like always, Kobayashi gave a smile, an embarrassed but distant look that easily waved off Oda Nana’s feelings, “Thanks.”

Oda Nana was aware. Kobayashi Yui liked her as a friend at most. They didn’t shared the same feeling in the slightest. Even as Oda Nana noticed her classmates and friends slowly get closer, share secret little touches that no one saw, Oda Nana knew that her feelings weren’t being conveyed to Yuipon.

The next few moments went past her mind like the flow of water, normal chattering with little substance, glances at Yurina and Neru who seemed like they had some sort of chemistry going on. Suzumoto’s fingers running through Oda Nana’s hair felt nice.

That was until they reached a tangle, and Oda let out a yelp, “Ouch!”

“Sorry!” Suzumoto jolted at the same time, retracting her hands.

“It’s okay.” Oda Nana laughed and set out a question to her friends, “Should I cut my hair? I wonder…”

“I like it either way.” Suzumoto responded as if contemplating Oda Nana with various hairstyles.

Or it could have been, “I like you either way,” but those words went unheard as a choice decision. After all, Oda Nana knew that Suzumoto was kind.

By the time summer break rolled around and stayed firmly around, Suzumoto Miyu realized that she was embroiled in a troublesome situation. Rather, she had already known about it since a while back. She had developed feelings for her roommate, Oda Nana.

Thinking, she rolled over on her bed, wanting to go back to sleep. With summer and all, there was surely time to sleep in.

Nonetheless, she made sure to sit up for a glance around the room to check if her roommates had awoken. She saw Oda Nana quietly reading a Murakami novel, and she saw that Yuipon’s bed was made, no one there.

Then, Suzumoto remembered that Yuipon had gone off, ditching them for Imaizumi, for an extended sleepover between Yuichanz. Suzumoto shook off a barbed thought that suddenly crossed her mind. She was just groggy and half-awake.

The three of them were playing a game of charades, but only Yuipon wasn’t actually playing.

Suzumoto plopped her head back down on the pillow. Her eyes naturally drifted toward Oda Nana even as they started to close when she hugged her blankets, happily ready to sleep.

She asked Oda Nana, “What does ‘love’ mean?”

“Something more than ‘like,’ I guess?” Oda Nana only gave a glance away from her book before dropping back into it. Her words seemed absent mindedly taken out of her mouth, “Any guys you like?”


“Sounds like a foreigner’s name. Danny-kun. Am I really the closest thing to a guy our age around here?”

Suzumoto didn’t respond to that. After all, she didn’t see Oda Nana as a man. She wanted to see Oda Nana as Oda Nana, but at this moment, her words didn’t come out. With a yawn, she said instead, “Good night.”

“Good night.” Oda Nana chuckled.

Suzumoto went back to sleep. Rather than a game of charades, their intentions and words failing to reach each other, sometimes, it felt like a clogged up telephone game where each person chose not to hear the words that they didn’t want to hear or refused to respond.

Maybe she was playing the wrong game in the first place, dancing the wrong choreography, because maybe only she thought they were in the game while everyone else was just living their life. They were just being friends who had some skinship and joked about love, normal high school girls.

Suzumoto hoped that she wouldn’t see any nightmares. The sun had risen after all.

<AOI> fin
To be continued...

I feel like there's definitely a better order to write and organize Eccentric than how I'm doing it, but... hopefully you don't mind that the Interludes sometimes come flying out of nowhere. Usually, the interludes come an arc or two ahead of each couple's arc - unless they don't have a specific arc for that couple. (DaniPonMon should be Arc V. Look forward to it, haha)

@Minami-chan: Thanks for reading! Yep, everyone's friends, and Aoi's arc is resolved. I think I'll write the test of courage story at some point.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 04:57:56 AM by Shinoki »

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Eccentric (TechiNeru+) [Interlude 6 (Aug. 24, 2018)]
« Reply #158 on: August 25, 2018, 12:26:40 AM »
Interlude 6:

The interlude 6 has been magnificent.

I had not been thinking about this couple, or couples ... or trio.

I really found it interesting and I have been wanting more.

Offline Shinoki

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Eccentric (TechiNeru, OzeUemu+) [Rest-stop (Aug. 30, 2018)]
« Reply #159 on: August 31, 2018, 04:56:39 AM »
This update is like an extended interlude focusing on the Ozeki Uemura roommates pair. It was originally going to be a 3-4 part mini-arc, but I thought I'd make it just one update. A fluffy back to school for the Keyaki class - although I also have to go back to school soon, haha.

Ozeki and Uemura aren't going to get their own arc, so they get their own little mini-arc Rest-stop.

@Minami-chan: I'm glad you enjoyed interlude 6! I'll definitely be covering more OdaMonPon in the future. Yuichanzu is the current arc, but the next one is the OdaMonPon arc. You might get to see some of Yuipon's perspective on the triangle in this current arc.


Ozeki Rika felt a strange feeling that she was intruding on some intense story filled with tragic love stories and a hidden enemy that had yet to be seen. It was just a feeling that she had as she fell out of bed in the morning to the sound of her alarm clock ringing for the first time in over a month.

She let out a strangled yelp of surprise, realizing that she had exited her dreams and awoken to her dorm room in the Keyaki class dorms.

Quick footsteps sounded from the direction of the bathroom she shared with her roommate. Hair still wet, in a state of half dress, her roommate Uemura Rina hurried out to check on Ozeki, “Ozeki, are you okay?”

“I-I’m okay.” Ozeki stumbled to her feet and averted her eyes from her roommate for a second with a blush, “Did you just shower?”

The short, fairy-like Uemura replied affirmatively with a smile, “Yea.” Then Uemura glanced at the time. “If everything’s okay, I’m going to finish preparing for class. We don’t want to be late on the first day back.”

“We don’t want to be late on the first day back.” Ozeki nodded. She blinked once. She blinked twice. It took a few moments for her still sleep-addled brain to comprehend that summer break was over.

Ozeki finally did. The date was starred on their shared calendar after all.

Throwing her stuffed animal Shimajiro back onto the bed haphazardly with her summer blanket, Ozeki jumped into action to get ready. She had thought it was strange that her alarm clock had rang. She had thought it was even stranger than her roommate was up before her.

“Why did I wake up so late!? I’m going to be late!!”
“I thought you had everything ready already.”

The classroom door slammed open right before the bell rang for the first homeroom back from break. Everyone was in their seats chattering, a few classmates wondering where the last two members of the class were. Their eyes went to the door to see Ozeki bolting in, running with her limbs flailing about grossly, followed by Uemura who looked out of breath and dying.

Ozeki flew into her seat, “Not late!”

Following, Uemura melted into her own seat, “Haah… Haah… barely in time.”

“I’m sorry, Rina. I set my alarm clock for the wrong time.” Ozeki apologized. “You should go ahead of me next time.”

“It’s okay. I can’t let you be late by yourself.”

“It’s not like we get detentions, only point losses for being late, so you don’t need to. But, thanks.”

After Ozeki spoke, the bell rang. She laid her head down on the cool surface of her desk and peeked over to Uemura who was resting her head on her hands, elbows on her own desk. Her roommate really was like a beautiful porcelain doll.

The usual man on the screen came on and said his thing, the words filtering in one ear and out the other for Ozeki.

“Try not to fall asleep in class.” He made a parting statement that broke an odd stifling atmosphere coming from the front of the classroom.

Ozeki jolted, noticing that she had lost a trivial 1 point as a scolding from the organizers of the Keyaki class. She hadn’t fallen asleep as much as lost herself in thought glancing at her roommate. Ozeki’s eyes suddenly met Uemura’s eyes, and she averted her eyes for a moment without thinking before looking back with a sheepish grin.

Uemura giggled at her roommate’s antics. The short fairy-like girl gestured for them to pay attention up front.

Before long, classes like before resumed. The teachers on the screen had them do a little pop quiz to test how much knowledge the girls retained over the summer. As if all of the teachers conspired together, the classes felt like one quiz after another.

Ozeki felt like she did fine, being one of the members of the class with average smarts. However, she could sense an aura of despair coming off of some of her classmates.

Ozeki didn’t have fun taking so many quizzes either. Only Yone seemed to be a little excited during their science quiz, but Ozeki’s eyes started spinning after the third picture of circular micro-organisms.

Break time was a well deserved reprieve from academics.

“That… was intense.” Ozeki let out a sigh of relief, sitting on top of Uemura’s desk as Imaizumi and Aoi somehow took over her own.

Imaizumi nodded, words coming out half in English after making up all her answers to the English quiz she just took, “Ikageso is pool.”

Uemura tried to bring up a positive, “But then we get the sports festival and cultural festival, so no more studying!”

“When are those again?” Ozeki wondered aloud.

“Weren’t you paying attention when he made the announcement?” Aoi happily puffed out her chest to explain, “The sports festival is in only two weeks. He said that we’re signing up for activities tomorrow.”

“I hope there isn’t anything too difficult.” Uemura said.

Imaizumi cheerfully spoke, “I think we can take it.”

“Confident, huh?” Suddenly, Kobayashi Yui walked over, placing her arms around her musical partner with ease.

“Yuipon.” Imaizumi greeted Kobayashi.

Ozeki said to Kobayashi, “Yuipon’s fast, right? I think we can leave the running events to you.”

Uemura laughed, placing her cool fingers on Ozeki’s hand, “At the very least, not us.”

Thump. Thump. Thump.
Ozeki Rika didn’t have a heart condition, not like that at least.

The next day came quickly, the sun still hot and bright, the seasons not quite transitioned despite the end of summer break. For homeroom, the Keyaki class had to assign or choose roles for the sports festival.

They were given a bit more information on the event, find that it was a one day event where the winning class got a special prize class trip. Unfortunately, even if the Keyaki class won, they wouldn’t be able to get the special four day trip to Guam due to Keyaki class rules. Instead, they would get points and a party.

As the girls didn’t have teachers in the real physical sense, one way or another, Sato Shiori and Sugai Yuuka were pushed up to the front of the classroom to organize who did what on the screen.

Yuuka gestured to the board, “Okay, so it looks like these are the events?” Touching it, she found that the screen had a touch screen, and they were supposed to go through each event listed and select participants from a checklist.

The two girls up front somehow figured out how to work the activity participant sign up program.

“I don’t know if this is the best way to do it, but maybe it would be good if we were to go through each event one by one and see who wants to do what. If there’s no one who wants to do something, we can just randomly assign someone.” Sato suggested.

“That sounds like a good plan.” Yuuka responded.

They started the process.

Ozeki looked at the list of events and tried to think of which ones she wanted to do. There were ones like the 100 meter dash, which were out of the running from the second she saw them. The cavalry battle sounded interested as did the costume race, but there was also some scavenger hunt event and the classic three-legged race.

Ozeki was brought out of her thought by Uemura’s voice, “What do you want to do?”

“The scavenger hunt sounds like fun.” Ozeki responded, “How about you?”

“I want to try the bread race, but I don’t think I can jump high enough to bite onto the bread.”

“Pfft.” Ozeki couldn’t hold back a laugh.

Uemura pouted, “Hey.”

“I just imagined it.” Ozeki found her roommate in front of her eyes to be too cute, and the image of her roommate trying to get bread dangling above her head was even more adorable.

Yuuka called out to the chatting roommates, “Ozeki, Uemura, do you two want to do the three-legged race?”

After silently confirming with Ozeki, Uemura replied, “That sounds like fun.”

“I’ll put you down for it then.” Yuuka smiled and fiddled with the board to select the pair for the event.

Before long, everyone had been assigned to their events. They had the next two weeks to get some practice in, and then, the sports festival would start without further ado. For the time being however, the girls had classes.

After the school day ended, Ozeki and Uemura found themselves outside, trying to practice. Tying their ankles together, the roommates nearly tripped over just getting up. They didn’t want to make an embarrassment of themselves at the actual event.

Stumbling over and over again, they weren’t in sync in the slightest.

Chanting to keep a rhythm, they still fell over for the nth time, “One, two. One, tw- Agh!”

It was good that they had thought to change into jerseys because their pants were getting covered in grass and dirt from each time they fell over.

With their ankles still tied together, the pair took a break and sat down on the grass, taking a sip of water and wiping away the sweat on their foreheads. They hadn’t made progress, tripping up after the first few steps, which was way worse than the average performance for a three-legged race.

Uemura tried to hug her knees only to realize that she was still tied.

“Let me undo it.” Ozeki untied their ankles. “This is probably enough for today?”

Uemura nodded, glancing away dejectedly, “Yea. Sorry for dragging you into this…”

“Don’t worry. We can do it. We still have two weeks.”

“But what if we still can’t get in sync with each other?”

“It’s only the first day, Rina.”

“You’re right.” Uemura exhaled.

“That’s good.”

Suddenly, the fairy-like girl’s eyes met Ozeki’s. Uemura looked straight at Ozeki’s face before starting to giggle, “Haha.”

“What is it?” The sound was pleasant like bells, but Ozeki was confused as to why her roommate was suddenly laughing.

“You have dirt on your face.” As Ozeki went to wipe away the dirt with her hand, Uemura laughed even more, “And on your hand, Ozeki.”

“Geez, that’s embarrassing. I was saying something good too.” Ozeki scowled.

Ozeki wiped her hand on her pants and used her shirt to wipe away the dirt that found its way onto her face. She scrunched up her nose in embarrassment, but her heart warmed up when she saw her roommate laughing instead of making that sad expression that didn’t suit her roommate’s face.

“Hehe, thanks, Ozeki.”

“We’re friends after all.” Ozeki felt like she said something stupid.

With only three days left before the sports festival, the class’s most competitive member, Moriya Akane went up to the front of the room during break. Taking a deep breath, putting on a serious look, she got everyone’s attention. Even Imaizumi who was singing random Nishino Kana songs by herself as Kobayashi listened stopped.

Ozeki glanced at Akane, wondering what Akane would say. She thought that she saw a wry smile on Hirate and Neru’s faces, the two on the cavalry battle team with Akane, having intensely practiced.

“I just want to say a few words.” Akane spoke with severity. “We. Are. Winning.”

The class was silent.

In a smooth movement, Akane walked away from the front of the room like she hadn’t said something normal in an absurd manner.

Ozeki felt a little bad for the cavalry battle team, knowing that they had definitely trained hard. The words slipped from her mouth a little louder than she wanted to her roommate, “I’m glad we’re not on the cavalry battle team with Akanen.”

“What did you say, Ozeki?” Akane seemed to have snuck up on Ozeki.

Ozeki back peddled, “Uh, nothing!”

Taking that excuse, Akane inquired of the pair of roommates, “How are you two doing?”

“We’re doing okay.” Ozeki tried to redirect her classmate’s attention, “Why don’t you remind Berika that she has to run?”

“Hm?” Watanabe Rika found herself suddenly brought into the conversation. Her mouth was filled with chocolate bread.

Akane looked back at Ozeki after glancing to Berika only to find that Ozeki had run off. “Ozeki, don’t run away!”

Wearing jerseys again, this time pants not dirtied, the pair managed to do it.
“We did it! Maybe we can win the event!”
A hug. She hadn’t caught a cold, but her cheeks were still pink.

The day of the sports festival finally came. Each class had a different color designation, and the Keyaki class sat in their area with green ribbons about their right wrists. The teachers gave the opening speeches at the field they were using for this year group’s part of the sport festival. A refreshments stand and an announcer’s stand were set up.

A pair of upperclassmen, Iguchi Mao and Saito Kyoko, were apparently doing the announcements while student council members were working together with the staff for the events.

“We have the Keyaki class here too. Isn’t this interesting, Kyoko? Though I bet Kyoko-” Iguchi chattered brightly.

“Let’s move onto the first event.” Saito Kyoko pulled the announcing back on track in a cool, deep voice. “First up, we have the 100 meter dash. Each class’s runner, please head to the designated line.”

Ozeki thought that the announcer pair had an interesting dynamic that somehow just clicked.

Risa went up to the starting line for the 100 meter dash, and when the whistle blew, she flew. Going neck to neck with another class’s runner, the cool Watanabe from the Keyaki class managed to win the race.

Everyone cheered. The Keyaki class started the festival off to a good start.

The second event was the bread race. Ozeki and Uemura’s events were in the latter half of the festival, but even just watching and cheering on their friends was a fun experience. They saw as their clumsy Watanabe Rika ran forward, jumped for the sweet bread hanging from the string, and ran to the finish line in a shocking third place with the bread in her mouth.

Happy screams erupted from the other classes at Hirate’s handsome looks while wiping away the sweat on her sweaty bangs, as the Keyaki class cavalry battle team dominated the playing field.

For some reason, there was a horse riding competition as well.

Aoi, Koike, and Habu participated in the ball toss, eliciting commentary on how adorable they were when doing their best together.

Finally, Ozeki’s first event came.

“Now we have our scavenger hunt. What sort of object or person will they be asked to find? From a snack to a crush, there’s a lot of things. If it was me participating and I got the prompt of someone I like, I’d definitely choose Kyoko!” Iguchi exclaimed, hugging her companion.

“Thanks.” Kyoko took Iguchi’s words calmly. “The rules for this event are simple. Drawing from a box, each participant gets a prompt for something or someone that they must find. When the whistle blows, the participant can go find the prompt item or person. Whoever brings their scavenged topic to the student council member, the one currently raising her blue flag over there, wins.”

“But, what if they can’t find it?”

“The participant can swap prompts. However, they must wait until the whistle is blown to swap prompts, and for each prompt swap, they must wait five seconds.”

As the instructions were explained by the helpful announcers, Ozeki went to the prompt box and starting line with the other participants. Putting her hand into the box, she drew out a slip of paper and opened it up to take a look.

She paused with a sigh. She really wanted to know who wrote the prompts.

Heart racing, Ozeki waited for the whistle to blow and signal the start. The Rika who was never called Rika in the class because there were two Rikas already knew what she was going to do. With Akane wanting to win that badly, Ozeki thought that she should do her best in the events too.

The whistle blew.

Ozeki darted over to where the Keyaki class was. She quickly found her roommate, Uemura, nursing a bottle of water.

The fairy-like girl questioned as Ozeki came over, “Ozeki, is your prompt a water bottle?”

Ozeki hurriedly explained, extending a hand toward Uemura, “No, actually, I need you for it.”

The short girl readily took Ozeki’s hand and followed along as they rushed to the student council member. “Okay.”

Ozeki handed the student council member her prompt slip, waiting for a confirmation. A confirmation she received, unexpectedly winning first place for this scavenger hunt event. She also received a complicated look from the student council member, but luckily, the student council member didn’t say anything.

Standing at the finish line area where the student council member was, Ozeki watched the rest of the participants scramble to not finish last. The scavenger hunt event concluded quickly.

As Ozeki and Uemura went back to where the Keyaki class was watching, Uemura asked curiously, “What was your prompt?”

“Um…” Ozeki, still holding her roommate’s hand, looked away, unsure how to answer. Her eyes darted around wildly. “It-”

She was saved by announcer Iguchi’s voice. “Next up is the three-legged race! I hope everyone practiced. Be careful not to trip.”

“Please head to the starting line area and receive your ankle ties from Tsuchida-sensei over there.” Kyoko finished up.

Ozeki made an excuse, “I’ll tell you after the three-legged race.”

Luckily, her roommate accepted it. With a soft smile and a light squeeze with her hand, Uemura let Ozeki lead the way to the starting line of their pair event.

“The truth is…”
“Thank you.”
She didn’t mean those words that way, but both of them were clumsy fools.

Uemura Rina watched the emotions cycle through her roommate Ozeki Rika’s face as they tied their ankles together for the three-legged race. From the start, she had realized that Ozeki was an earnest girl who let out her thoughts, the good and the bad.

When they settled in as roommates, it was Ozeki who talked with her and made her feel better when Uemura felt homesick. Ozeki had also been homesick, but Ozeki still made sure to put her attention to her new friend.

The Ozeki that was kind, the Ozeki that did stupid things, the Ozeki that did her best, the Ozeki that was a slob, Uemura thought that she saw so many sides of Ozeki, and she wanted to see more.

Uemura wished that she had been able to call Ozeki by her first name Rika, but by an odd turn of events, everyone had taken to calling Ozeki by anything but Rika due to the presence of another Rika in the class. A little part of the fairy-like girl whispered to herself that she would be a special existence to Ozeki if she called Ozeki by Rika.

She had spaced out.

Ozeki brought Uemura back into reality, “The race is going to start soon.”

Uemura stood up with Ozeki and said, “Let’s win this race.”

The starting signal sounded. Holding hands and counting a rhythm, Uemura and Ozeki speed-walked together toward the finish line. Their speed was only average, but they were staying on track better than the rushed pairs that were stumbling across the course.

Uemura gave Ozeki’s hand a reassuring squeeze that they were doing well.

Although in the end, they came in a close second place, the pair felt a sense of accomplishment wash over them.

The pair untied their ankles and returned to the Keyaki class’s spot.

The shorter girl stretched her arms, glad that her job was over for the sports festival, “Second place is pretty good, isn’t it?”

Ozeki nodded, “Yep.”

For a few moments, they shared silence. Uemura waited for her roommate to say something more. Usually, there was something more to be said.

Ozeki gulped nervously, “The truth is… the prompt was ‘One-sided love.’” She could barely be heard when she said, “I like you, Rina.”

“Thank you.”

“Not the friend-type, but I think something a bit more-”

Uemura couldn’t tell if those were tears starting in Ozeki’s eyes. Without thinking, Uemura cupped Ozeki’s cheek and leaned in for a quick kiss.

At that action, Ozeki went silent with shock.

The fairy-like girl blushed, “I like you too. Like this.” Uemura’s own heart was racing, wondering if Ozeki was going to accept once Uemura responded, wondering if they had perhaps cheated a little in the scavenger hunt.

“Eh?” Freezing, Ozeki’s eyes widened.

“I like you, Rika.” Uemura said. Ozeki’s given name felt right.

Ozeki seemed to wobble, unsure if this was reality, “Can you do that again?”

Uemura gave Ozeki another peck on the lips. This time, she could feel how soft Ozeki’s lips were. This time, the words of her true feelings rolled more smoothly off her tongue. “I like you, Rika.”

“Can you… again?”

The rest of the sports festival went by like a blur. Even though the Keyaki class didn’t win overall, Uemura felt like they achieved a victory. Their cheeks burning red, the roommates didn’t let go of each other’s hands, knowing that their feelings were mutual.

Uemura Rina hadn’t felt a strange feeling that she was intruding on some intense story. After all, she was living her own happy love story with the eccentric person that she had fallen for.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 04:09:03 AM by Shinoki »

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