After that, the bullying that was directed towards Kanaruzawa Sekai was held off for a bit. It wasn’t that the problem was solved. But rather, because she couldn’t keep up the pace she was moving at. Her health had suddenly collapsed, and she was now in a state where she could not come to school. Bullying could not be directed towards a person that was not there.
Throughout the end of May and through the start of June, time passed on without anything noteworthy. Sometimes, he would visit Kanaruzawa’s place and Sekai would feel happy about it. However, he could never stay for long as her condition wasn’t great. Regarding the person responsible for hiding her shoes, there was neither any clue or evidence as to who it was. Having fun with Haruko, spending time after school with Kurumi, these days went by where even rain couldn’t stop—until finally, there came a day where the sun peeked through again.
To the Yuuki, that hadn’t visited the Kanaruzawa mansion for a couple of days, the maid, Chiyo-san, said this.
“Is it possible for you to go on a date with my mistress?”
Currently present in the room was Sekai, Yuuki, and Chiyo-san.
“Yeah. Understood.” Yuuki immediately nodded, “When would be good?”
“Recently, my mistress’s condition has gotten a bit better. If that’s the case, how about you go today, right now.”
“That’s quite sudden. But, it’s okay, that’s fine with me.”
“How would you like the date to go? If you aren’t prepared, I can prepare something on my end. Like a reservation at some restaurant.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll think of something. Together with Kanaruzawa.”
“Understood… Then, Mistress.” She turned her smile to face Sekai, “Everything has been set up. Please go on ahead.”
Sekai stared blankly. She was in her pajamas, sitting upright on the bed with the book that she was reading open in front of her. Her expression seemed to say that she didn’t understand anything of what just happened.
“… No, wait. Hmm? Eh?” Rubbing between her eyebrows with her fingers, she spoke, “Chiyo?”
“What is it?”
“It might just be me misunderstanding something, but without any of my own will included, an important part of my future was just chosen. Is that just my imagination?”
“Yes. That is just your imagination.” Chiyo-san smiled.
“Fumu fumu. I see, I see.” Sekai once again replied with a smile. “Let me confirm the situation. Without me being involved whatsoever, you and Yuuki exchanged a conversation in which you decided that Yuuki and I would now be going on a date—am I wrong?”
“Yes. That is correct.”
“It might just be me misunderstanding something, but without any of my own will included, an important part of my future was just chosen. Is that just my imagination?”
“Yes. That’s just your imagination.”
“Fumu fumu. I see, I see. Just my imagination.” She nodded multiple times, and as she was about to return to reading her book, “—Like I can believe that!”
She threw off both the blanket and the book.
“This is definitely weird! It’s not just my imagination! I’ve been tricked!”
“Please calm down, Mistress.”
“How could I calm down in a situation like this!” Sekai protested, her face red as she waved both of her arms around.
On the other hand, Chiyo-san was perfectly calm. “I fear this means that my mistress does not want this to happen. That is, going on a date with Yuuki-sama, who had found free time to see how you were doing.”
“T-that’s not true!”
“My lonely mistress believes that Yuuki, who it can be said that she is in a close relationship with, is an unworthy person for her to go on a date with. That’s what you are trying to say.”
“I’m trying to tell you that that isn’t true…”
“I am truly very sorry, Yuuki-sama.” Returning to face Yuuki, Chiyo-san bowed deeply with her head.
“No, I see. It can’t be helped then.”
“I was the one that had first spoken to you about this, I am very sorry about this. How can I repay you for this blunder?”
“No no. I am the one at fault for being rejected. My gaze is quite scary, and I’m quick to get into fights. I’m really just a terrible man.”
“If you are fine with that, but how about I find a suitable girl for you, and introduce you to her. Would that be fine as a symbol of apology?”
“Eh. Is that really okay?”
“Of course. I can introduce ten, no, even a hundred people for you. It can be in the form of a mixer, or even a one on one meeting. If you wish, we can even begin right now. No need—”
“I—Was—Trying—To—Speak!” Sekai raised her voice. She was already half crying. “Listen to me when I speak! I didn’t say I didn’t want to! I’ll do it! I’ll go on the date!”
“No no, Mistress. You don’t need to force yourself.”
“I’m not forcing myself at all! I’ll happily do it! Let me prepare, so give me a little bit of time!”
“… Still, Chiyo-san.” Leaving Sekai’s room, they were now relaxing in the reception room of the mansion. To the maid that was serving tea with a composed expression, Yuuki made a cynical remark. “You really hit me with a fast ball there.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Of course, it’s not like I don’t understand. She’s very cute. Kanaruzawa Sekai is by all means, cute. Cute without any bad points.”
“Yes. That’s exactly right.”
“She’s cute in appearance, her mannerisms are cute as well. No matter how you think of it, she’s cute. Something composed of only cute things, a cute monster. It’s to the point that I would want to marry her.”
“Yuuki-sama, you really do understand it very well.”
“But you know?” Yuuki furrowed his eyebrows. “You telling me so suddenly to go on a date with her, it really almost made my heart stop right there.”
“Despite that,” Setting down the teacup on the table, she gave a smile, “Yuuki-sama ended up immediately giving an okay.”
“Well, I mean. I can’t afford to hesitate in saying something there, as a man that is.”
“That’s a good thing to have.”
“But you know, in reality, my mind was completely blank. Next time you throw a surprise like that, do you mind telling me in advance. Really.”
“I am really sorry.” She tilted her head slightly and put her index finger to her cheek, “I cannot fulfill your request. Since I have quite the twisted character, I plan to spring surprises like this one on you even in the future. That way, I may continue to enjoy the cuteness of my mistress to the fullest.”
“Hahaa. I see.”
“Rather I will inhale it all. Into the deepest part of my bones.”
Yuuki could only laugh. Everything that has been said until now, has given this feeling.
“Please ignore the possible negatives that may come.” Chiyo-san refilled the tea. “Do not worry about how the date is going. Do not hesitate and just have fun. Do your best to entertain my mistress. And if you have any troubles, do not hesitate to contact me. I will be able to immediately arrive on the scene.”
“That is more than enough, thank you.” Yuuki deeply lowered his head. Of course, meaning it in a sarcastic way.
“Then?” Yuuki asked, “What is that you are trying to do?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Putting me and Kanaruzawa on a date like that, what do you hope to get out of it? What result would satisfy you, Chiyo-san?”
“It seems you are slightly misunderstanding me.” She spoke while enjoying the fragrance of the tea, “I don’t really have anything planned from this. What I want is very simple. It is something that is permanent and immutable. Now, and even in the past, I have been continuing to seek only one thing.”
“What is that, exactly?”
“My mistress’s happiness.”
It was a calm sunny day, during the rainy season. The trees in the garden were vividly green from soaking up all the rain water. Receiving sunlight from between the gaps in the clouds, the purple of the hydrangeas were bright to the eyes.
“As you know, my mistress is a very charming person. Honest, pure-hearted, and more than anything, beautiful. For a person like that, I would only wish the best for them.”
She dropped her line of sight to the golden red liquid,
“That is my only wish. Anything else, I have no need for.”
Sekai appeared, wearing her school uniform.
It couldn’t be said that it was unexpected. Yuuki could picture it, Sekai thinking over it multiple times, before finally arriving at the decision to walk out in this sort of fashion.
“W-what do you think…?” With an uneasy expression, she asked.
To be honest, there was nothing much to say about it, but Yuuki was still a man. He laughed and properly gave his reply.
“Yeah. It looks good on you.”
“I-is that so? Yeah. Then it’s fine. Yeah.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Not bad. Rather, I am feeling great at this current moment.”
“If you start feeling bad again, make sure you tell me, okay? Don’t push yourself.”
“Yeah. I won’t push myself.”
“Really, don’t force it. Promise me?”
“No need for you to worry. I’m not exactly proud of it, but if I go to school, I will definitely without a doubt, leave before noon.”
That’s exactly right.
Yuuki laughed, “Well then, let’s go.”
“Yeah. Let’s go.”
“While we walk, let’s think about where we want to go, and what we want to do.”
“Yeah. Let’s do that.”
Kanaruzawa’s residence lay on the Soubu Line, located within a quiet residential area within the city. Around it, was a high-class residential living area filled with convoluted roads and many slopes. For Sekai, it should have been a painful path to walk, however, she ended up walking to the station steadily, without any complaints.
Rather, she looked like she was having a lot of while walking. When she was met with either stairs or a slope, her breathing would immediately become strained. Despite that, her expression was still bright.
“Then?” Yuuki asked. “Where do you want to go?”
“Anywhere is fine.” She answered immediately.
Anywhere is fine. In some ways, it was an even more troublesome answer than a specific place.
What should we do, Yuuki thought, “Well then… how about going to the park? For now that is. It’s close after all.”
“Yeah. No problem.” Sekai nodded while smiling.
Depending on the person, it was a plan where it would be appropriate for someone to just get mad and leave, but it seems that for her, it was completely fine.
“We can come up with an even more luxurious plan, you know? For instance, going out to some expensive restaurant.”
“If you end up spending money, it isn’t exactly something that is luxurious.”
“I guess so…”
“Rather, there’s something that I would like to ask you.” Sekai didn’t hold her words back, as she walked a little bit behind Yuuki, “I’m grateful for you going on a date with me, but… is it really alright?”
“Is it really alright… for what?”
“For instance, wouldn’t your little sister’s mood worsen because of this?”
“Haruko? I’m sure she’ll be bending over with rage. But that’s just the usual thing.”
“My condition might worsen in the middle of this, and it might cause you trouble.”
“I would never be bothered by something like that at this late point in time.”
“I might even end up using up a lot of your money.”
“If it’s money, use it however much you want or like. Chiyo-san had provided me with some. But you know, even I have at least some money to use. Enough to use it on a date like this.”
“Moreover, Yuuki.” Her voice was quiet. Quiet enough that it seemed that even the wind might blow it away. “Are you fine with me? Would you be happy going on a date with me? I mean, isn’t a date something that you would be going on when the other person is someone that you’re really close to and in love with.”
Kirishima Yuuki was a man. As such, at a time like this, he could answer properly.
“I am having fun.” Yeah, he strongly nodded up and down. “Coming with you on a date is fun.”
It was a simple answer. Rather, it was too simple, to the point of being bewildering. Sekai had an expression that showed that she was completely caught off guard,
“I see. Fumu. I see.” She said.
And after that, her face suddenly turned red. Yuuki pretended he didn’t notice that. This was something that would also be part of manners as a man.
Since they were in such a nice neighborhood, the park also had a nice feel to it. The swings, and all the other parts of the playground were all kept in good condition and were completely clean. Without any worry in the world, the children were all playing on them while they seemed to shine vibrantly with life.
The two of them sat down on a bench.
“Fuu.” Sekai made a relieved sigh. Even if it was a short walk, to her, it was a little bit of an adventure.
“… But you know,” Yuuki looked up towards the partly cloudy sky as he spoke, “Going on a date at the neighborhood park. It’s a little bit pitiful, is it not?”
“Why is that? It’s not pitiful at all.” Sekai made a confused look. “Even if where we’re going for our date is the park, whether a date goes well or badly doesn’t depend on that, right? I am enjoying myself, other than that, what else is there that could be used to measure the value of a date?”
“Well, that’s true I guess. It makes sense logically.”
“Earlier you even said, money is not part of the problem, did you not?”
“Yeah. It’s just as you say.”
“Rather, what is pitiful is me.” She hung her head, “Due to the weakness of my body, where we could go on a date was limited to places like this. If my body were just a bit healthier, then you wouldn’t have needed to take extra care for something trivial like this.”
“No no. It’s not your fault.”
“Fumu. If that’s true then it’s fine.”
“I mean, I’m the same as well. Suddenly asked to go on a date, and then giving my okay. I really didn’t think about it enough.”
“Then, it’s the same for the both of us!” Sekai spilled out into laughter. “You and me, we’re both causing various amount of trouble. If that’s the case, then we’re even, right? There’s nothing to worry about.”
“I see. Well, I guess it’s fine like that if you truly think that.”
“There really is no problem, Yuuki. I am truly enjoying this. It’s even a very refreshing feeling for me. Allowing me to feel like this, instead of feeling bad, you should be proudly holding out your chest, Yuuki.”
“… I see. I guess that’s true. If I look down the whole time, then our date would be completely ruined.”
“That’s how it is.” Saying that, Sekai showed her white teeth. Then she said this, “This is my first time coming to the park, so I really am enjoying it. I’ll keep reminding you of that point.”
Yuuki scratched his cheek. It wasn’t that he was embarrassed. He was going to try asking her something that he never had the chance to ask her before.
“This being the first time coming to the park, how exactly have you lived until now?”
“I was just a shut in.” Sekai answered embarrassingly, “As you very well know, my body is weak. I stayed in bed, slept, and passed my life like that. That’s why I’ve never been to the park.”
“But still. You didn’t become a shut in because you hated to involve yourself with the outside world, right? You want to go to school after all.”
“That is true…”
“Then that means you should’ve at least been able to go to the park. If it’s just the neighborhood park, you can get here instantly if you just use a car. You even have the strength to at least make it to school by walking.”
“Well, Yuuki, that’s because,” She smiled as she spoke, “You changed me. After meeting you, I ended up wanting to see the outside world even more. That’s why I’m grateful to you. I am here right now, the way I am right now, because of you.”
“You’re welcome, I guess. That makes me pretty happy.” It came from the bottom of her heart. However, towards Sekai’s straightforward praise, Yuuki did not blush at all. He continued to pursue and question further. “Where did you go to elementary school?”
“Why do you ask that?”
“Well, I’m curious. Maybe my friends might know someone that knows you as well, you see.”
“Fumu, I see. I went to an elementary school that is very very far away from here. I also forgot the name of it. I basically didn’t go to school after all.”
“Then what about middle school?”
“That’s also the same. It’s a middle school far away from here that I had already forgotten the name of. If you want, you can try asking Chiyo-san to see if she knows.”
“No. It’s fine if I don’t ask.” Yuuki shook his head. He didn’t think that maid would ever give him a serious answer. “Then how about you tell me stories about your past?”
“That’s a tough question. I didn’t have someone like you after all, I didn’t have any close relationships with people, and so stories and memories are hard to talk about.”
“But still, you have to at least have some. At least a little.”
“Hmmm… Even if you say that…”
“Even if you didn’t go to school, don’t you have some memories related to school? Anything is fine. For instance, the scenery that you might have seen on the way to school. If you only went to school every once in a while, then you should at least have some impression of it, right?”
“Ah, I see. Even something like that is okay.” Understanding what he meant, she made a relieved expression, “When I did happen to go to school, I went in a car. My body was weak after all. As such, the scenery that I remember is just from what passes by the car—yeah, not a huge impression of it is left as expected. I’ll say this again, but I didn’t go to school very much.”
“Then, I’ll stop asking about school. Let me, ask you about other things. For example—”
“Wait, Yuuki, wait.” Sekai seemed to be taken aback, “If you ask so much in one go, then my head will end up being confused. You really are such a stingy man.”
“Really? I didn’t have that intention though.”
“Also, such questions are quite tactless. Is that how a date is supposed to go? It seems to be different from what I imagined.”
“Well… that’s true. You’re right.”
“Moreover, you’ve been one-sidedly asking me questions for a while. I also want to hear stuff about you too, you know?” Sekai pursed her lips.
Hearing all of this, Yuuki raised the white flag. “I got it, I got it. Then, next is your turn. Ask me anything you would like.”
“Yeah, that’s how it should be. The first thing that I would like to ask, is about the relationship between you and your sister…”
From there, the questions started coming. Sekai’s curiosity exploded, as she asked about more and more things. Yuuki’s view on life, friends, interests, preferences in girls, even down to their three sizes. From different angles, and different intensities.
(Well, it does make me happy.)
The fact that Kanaruzawa Sekai held interest in him. He was truly pleased. It put a nice spring into Yuuki’s heart. But at the same time, he confirmed it. When he is interacting with her, the feeling that he thought was unease, was actually not what he thought it was. Rather, it was worry.
“Kanaruzawa.” Holding back the rain of questions, Yuuki spoke. “If something happens, tell me. Properly.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Anything is fine. Anyways, if anything happens, tell me. I’ll do anything that I can do. No, really.”
“Fumu. You are a man that says some weird things.” Sekai tilted her head, then nodded, “But, I understand. I’ll remember your advice.”
She then said this, “And I also understand one other thing. You are a really kind person. A kind and large person. Just like your name.” 
“What’s wrong, Yuuki? You’re making a weird face.”
“If you say something like that with such a serious face, it’s impossible not to get embarrassed.”
“What are you getting embarrassed about? I’m only saying the truth.” Sekai pouted a little. Due to her lack of common sense, she sometimes showed this part of her.
“Now then,” To hide his embarrassment, he changed the subject. “Well, why don’t we do something that is more date like?”
“Mumu?” Sekai instantly drew in. “Something date like, what do you mean by that? Is there something even more date like than this? I thought this was already pretty date like as it was.”
“Well, just watch.” While putting on airs, Yuuki rose from his seat.
At this time of year, the blues and reds of hydrangeas were quite vibrant. Between the underbrush, the white flowers of white clovers were blooming. After gathering a few of those flowers, Yuuki started his work.
Sekai looked into the palms of his hand. Her face was full of curiosity, as if she was a kid. And when he thought that, the other kids around also came. The kids who were playing around gathered while yelling, “What is it? What is it?”, as they paid close attention to Yuuki’s work.
“What are you doing?”
“What are you doing with those flowers, Onii-chan?”
“Yuuki. Without putting on airs, please tell me. What are you making?”
Yuuki continued to work while putting on airs. A bit of time passed after that. And the product was complete.
“Ooooh!”, voices came out.
What Yuuki made was a garland. With the white and green of the white clovers as a base, he sprinkled in the blue and red of hydrangeas. It was quite a nice piece of work.
“… It’s great!” Sekai praised him with shining eyes. “This is great, Yuuki! It’s really really nice!”
“Right? I’m also satisfied with my workmanship.”
“The blue and red of the hydrangeas, are almost like sapphires and rubies. Your hands are quite dexterous.”
“It comes from my little sister. She used to have me make a lot of these.”
He didn’t think that that experience would live on in this manner. With how many times his sister has helped him, he was really thinking that he would have to repay her somehow in the near future.
“Uwah. Uwah. It’s amazing. Uwah.” Sekai was completely caught by the garland. She looked like a boy staring at a trumpet on display through a window.
“Do you like it?”
“Yeah! I like it! You really showed me something amazing!”
“Then, I’ll give it to you.” Saying that, Yuuki put the garland on Sekai’s head.
Sekai completely blanked out. From the children, voices of jealousy came out.
“I said that I’m giving it to you. Rather, it was already yours in the first place.”
“I made that for you. I intended on giving that you in the first place. However, I didn’t know if you would take a liking to it and accept it, but I thought you might like it. That’s why, I’ll give it to you.”
“It’s a present. Isn’t this a little bit date like?”
“…” It seems like she still didn’t comprehend the situation. She touched the garland that was on top of her head multiple times, the children voiced their jealousy as they grabbed onto the edges of her clothes, and finally, her face turned red, “T-t-t-t-t-t-tha-thank y—”
“Me too!” Interrupting Sekai’s quiet voice, one of the kids shouted.
“Make one for me too!”
“Then, me as well!”
“If I make that many, all the flowers will be gone.”
Being pressured by so many children, Yuuki made a troubled expression. Large ones probably wouldn’t work, but if it was small, then it might. After making that proposal, the children raised their hands in excitement.
“Then, that’s how it’ll be.” To the princess that was still blanking out, he spoke, “Would you mind helping me, Kanaruzawa? This number would be kind of hard with just myself.”
Just like that.
Sekai gathered the flowers for the garlands, while Yuuki made short work of them. The children surrounded the two of them, waited in apprehension.
Eventually, the parents of the children gathered as well, and it ended up becoming even nosier. It wasn’t just the children, even the parents were saying stuff like “Will you please teach me the way to make it?”, and so it ended up being a bit of an arts and craft class. Yuuki was overwhelmed, and Sekai’s eyes were spinning. It became really busy, and there was no time to rest. However, Yuuki didn’t feel uncomfortable. Since, Sekai also did not have an uncomfortable expression. After a while, someone had spoke out saying this, “Somehow, it seems like the two of you are a couple with a lot of children.” To that, Yuuki replied calmly with, “Do the two of us look good together?” Sekai, on the other hand had a little bit of a panic. As a whole, it could be said that the date was a huge success.
“Well done, Yuuki-sama.” Chiyo-san praised him afterwards.
After returning to the mansion, Sekai’s condition had worsened and she had gone to sleep. That was the only mistake. Thinking back to the how she was communicating with all those lively children, it would be fine for him to hold out his chest with pride.
And then Yuuki thought.
Thinking back on it, that time that he had spent together with her was probably his happiest moment.
- I think I mentioned this once before, but just in case. His name written in kanji is 優樹. The first word means kind, while the second one means tree. So, she’s saying like his name because he’s kind, like the first character. And large like a tree, for the second character.