hakomari v 1 - rejecting classroom
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It's not like I've forgotten it. I probably still remember this place, and I even dream of this scenery, like I
But I just can't remember this place outside my dreams.
It's not like I've forgotten. No, I just can't find any cues to retrieve these memories. There is nothing in
reality that could possibly relate to this scene close enough to make me remember. If I tried, I certainly
could remember, but I don't get around to looking back.
That's because nothing in my everyday life could possibly remind me of this person in front of me.
"Do you have a wish?"
The face of the man (woman?) that asked me that question in a calm voice had a face that changed
fluently to many other faces. Even though this dream was created by my own deep psyche, I couldn't
grasp his face. I saw his face, or so I believe, but while he resembles just about anyone, he also looks
completely different from anyone.
I guess I gave him a passive, harmless answer back then. But I don't remember how I answered him.
Anyhow, when he heard my answer, he presented some kind of container to me.
"This is a 'box' that grants any wish."
It looked like a box now that he mentioned it.
I narrowed my eyes at the box. My eyes weren't bad, but nonetheless, I couldn't see the box clearly.
There was nothing in it; this fact made it feel strange to me. It was like holding a closed cookie box that
made a sound when you shook it, but was empty when you opened it.
I think, then, I asked him something trifling, like 'Why are you giving this to me?'.
"Because you're truly interesting! I can't distinguish you humans by your slight differences. I can't tell this
human apart from this human, even though I'm so interested in your kind. Ironic, don't you think?"
I didn't quite get what he was trying to say, but nodded halfheartedly.
"But I can distinguish you. You might wonder how this could be something special, but it's more than
enough to draw my interest!"
I looked towards the bottom of the box. Even though there was nothing in the box, I felt as if I were
attacked by an unpleasant sensation that drew my whole body towards its bottom. I quickly looked away.
"This 'box' will grant you any wish. I don't mind any wish at all. I won't stop you even if your wish
destroys all of mankind. I'm merely interested in what you, or your kind, wish for."
I said something to him, and he smiled.
"Hehe... No, no. It's not some kind of special power. Humans have the ability to grant wishes just by
having clear images to begin with. I'm only able to give that power a little push."
I accepted the box.
Of course, I wouldn't remember this dream when I woke up.
But I would be able to clearly remember what I thought of him. And that impression didn't change within
the dream either.
Somehow, isn't that person–––
"I am Aya Otonashi. Pleased to meet you."
The transfer student says with a faint smile.
"I'm Aya Otonashi. ...Regards."
The transfer student says, uninterested, emotionlessly.
The transfer student utters, looking completely bored, not even looking at us.
I look at the transfer student Aya Otonashi, whose name I don't yet know, standing on the platform.
The transfer student murmurs only this to her classmates. In a low voice, as if she doesn't care whether we
can understand her. Nevertheless, her voice is clear.
––Yeah. I already know her name. I have just heard it for the first time, though.
Everyone holds their breath. Not because of her blunt, simple self-introduction which wouldn't even count
as greeting. It is probably because she is such a stunning beauty, who stands out from everyone in the
Everyone waits for her next words.
She opens her mouth.
She calls out my name for some reason. The entire class looks at me with questioning looks. Don't look at
me like that, I'm clueless myself.
"I'm here to break you."
She suddenly proclaims.
"This is my 13,118th 'School Transfer'. Even I can't help but get annoyed after so many. So for a change, I'll
She doesn't spare even a glance for our dumbfounded classmates and gazes at me alone.
"Kazuki Hoshino. I'll make you surrender. Better give me your most precious thing soon. Resistance is futile.
Why? That's simple. Because I am––"
Aya Otonashi forms a smile and proceeds with her sentence.
"––always by your side, no matter how much time passes."
It's «March 2». It's supposed to be «March 2» today.
Why am I making sure that's the date?
...It's probably because the sky's still cloudy, even though it's already March. That's probably it. It's the
weather's fault that I'm a bit melancholic, considering that recently, the blue sky has been hiding behind
clouds all the time.
Geez, I wonder when the weather will finally clear up.
I am in the classroom before school starts, staring out of the window, just thinking.
I guess I'm having these thoughts because I'm feeling unwell. No, I don't feel bad. I feel like I always have.
I'm just... uncomfortable. I can't explain it, but it feels like I'm suddenly the only one without a shadow. It's
more like the 'something's wrong' kind of uncomfortable.
...Odd. I can't make out the reason. Nothing unusual happened yesterday, I ate breakfast this morning, I
listened to the new album of my favorite artist on the train, and I have safe "average luck" according to the
fortune-telling show I watched by chance.
Deciding to not wrack my brain thinking about it, I take an Umaibō1 from my bag. Today's is pork flavor. I
take a bite. No matter how many I eat, I can't get fed up with that taste.
"Again with the Umaibō–? You really can't get enough of those, can you? If you keep eating Umaibō all the
time, your blood will turn Umaibō color, you know?"
"...err, what color is that?"
The girl joking with me is my classmate Kokone Kirino. Her brown hair, somewhere between long and quite
long, is bound in a ponytail, high up on the back of her head. Kokone changes her hair style all the time, but
she seems to like the current one. Or at least I have the feeling that this is the only style I've seen recently.
Kokone then arbitrarily grabs the seat beside me and starts doing her make-up in her blue hand mirror,
using a tool that I, as man, do not know very well. I wish she'd put this much effort into everything, not just
"Come to think of it, you have a lot of blue stuff, haven't you?"
"Oh yeah, I like blue... Ooh, right, Kazu-kun! Isn't there something different about me today? Isn't there?"
Kokone suddenly says, looking at me with sparkling eyes.
How should I know? There's no way I'd know if you ask me that all of a sudden.
"I'll give you a hint! My charm point has changed!"
1 A Japanese snack. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umaibou
I reflexively look at her breasts.
"Whoah, hey! Why my breasts?!"
Well, because you're always boasting that you finally crossed into D-cup, so I was sure...
"Of course my eyes are my charm! And anyway, breasts don't just suddenly get bigger! Or is that what
you'd like?! You closet perv! You titty maniac!"
There's no way I could have known such a self-proclaimed charm point, but for now I'll apologize.
Kokone looks into my eyes expectantly. I have to admit her eyes are big. I feel a bit bashful as I realize that.
"...I think your face looks the same as always...?"
I say, not really looking at her face.
"Eh? What? My face looks cute as always, you said?"
"No, I didn't."
I am being compelled.
"To tell you the truth, I'm using mascara today. How is it? How is it?"
I don't see any difference. I can't see how she looks any different compared to yesterday.
"......no, there's really no way I could judge something like that."
I tell her in all honesty, and fail.
"'Something like that'...you say?!"
She hits me.
"Tz! What a boring rascal you are!"
She says in a forced voice, but... Aah, she might really be a bit angry. Kokone makes a gesture of spitting at
me and goes to the other classmates to show off her mascara-face.
Now I'm tired. Kokone may be funny, but I can't cope with her temper.
"Done with your lovers' quarrel?"
The first thing I see when I turn are three piercings in a right ear. There is only one person in this school
styled like that.
"...Daiya. That wasn't anything like a lover's quarrel. Just where were you looking to have come to that
My friend Daiya Oomine just sneers at my objection. Yeah, he's arrogant as always. Well, I guess it would be
weird if someone like him, who puts on such accessories and doesn't just ignore the school rules but rather
deliberately provokes them, abased himself.
"But did you really not notice the mascara? Even I noticed the difference. And I'm absolutely, completely
uninterested in her."
They are neighbors and they seem to have been childhood friends since kindergarten. That he isn't
interested in her is undoubtedly a lie. Even so, overlooking something even Daiya noticed might be a small
problem. After all, he is someone that isn't interested in others and doesn't even seem to look at people.
I have the feeling she's applied that mascara yesterday as well.
"I see, I got it, Kazu. So you told the bitch 'I'm not interested in you'. I agree with you. I'll take the same
attitude. But I'll do it more bluntly."
"You malicious chairman! I can hear you clearly!"
Daiya ignores the sharp-eared girl and keeps on talking.
"Kazu, let's move our talk away from that irrelevant chick- Did you know that a transfer student's coming
"A transfer student?"
I'll make sure of this again - it's «March 2» today. Why would someone transfer in so late in the year?
"A transfer student?! Really?!"
Kokone has, as expected, heard us talking, and raised her voice to ask.
"Kiri. I'm not talking to you. Don't go butting in from over there. Oh, but don't come closer, either! That
desperately made-up face of yours isn't good for my mental health."
"W-What-?! You're one to talk, Daiya! You should start fixing that dishonest personality of yours soon.
Maybe we should hang you upside-down for 24 hours, so some blood can finally get to your brain and you
become able to say something upright!"
To interrupt their abuse, I raise my voice a bit and return to the topic.
"A transfer student, right? I think I heard something about that."
Daiya closes his mouth as planned and glares at me.
"...Who told you?"
He asks with a serious face.
"Eh? Why do you want to know?"
"Don't answer a question with a question."
"Err... who was it again? Wasn't it you?"
"Impossible. I've only heard it just now when I went to the staff room for some business. There shouldn't
have been an opportunity to tell you."
"This kind of rumor spreads all over the place straight away. But apparently even this babbler, Kiri, didn't
know of it yet."
This is probably true, considering her reaction just now. And not just her; no one in the first year's 6th class
seems to have known.
"That's why I conclude that the information was kept secret until the day of the transfer, which is today.
But then, how do you know?"
"Well, whatever. But isn't it weird, Kazu? Why would someone come transferring in at this point? There are
probably circumstances. For example, how about the problem child daughter of some board chairman was
expelled from a bunch of other schools? In that case, it'd make sense that the information was hidden."
"Daiya, it's not good to be making these guesses about the transfer student, it's prejudice. I mean she's
already in a suspicious position even without that. Also, everyone's secretly listening."
The rest of the students, who have indeed been listening to our words secretly, smile awkwardly.
"Ah? Why should I care?"
The moment I let out a sigh at Daiya's high-handed attitude, the bell rings. The class scurries back to their
Kokone, whose seat is on the window side, opens the window and leans out. Apparently she wants to see
the transfer student as soon as possible.
Seemingly having found a person who looks just like a transfer student, Kokone raises her voice. After
letting out this 'Ooh', she sits down on her seat with a frozen expression, even though she's been so
cheerful when she looked through the window before.
I wonder what's wrong.
Kokone smiles and murmurs 'this is amazing!'. Probably not just me, but everyone wants to ask what's up,
but our homeroom teacher's entered the room right now. The silhouette of a girl can be seen behind the
cloudy glass of the door. It has to be the transfer student. Looking around in the classroom, the teacher
guesses that everyone is wondering about the person behind the door, and quickly calls her in.
The silhouette behind the cloudy glass moves.
And then I see –– her.
In an instant––
As if I was pushed of a cliff, the scenery changes at once.
First, I hear a sound. The sound of the scenery getting torn off. Forcedly, violently, one image after the
other comes thrusting into my mind. Over and over, similar sceneries appear. I feel as if my consciousness
is about to be blown away, but then it's pulled back and gets firmly fixated as if it was forcibly crammed
into a little metallic box. Deja vu. Deja vu.
"I am Aya Otonashi." I heard you.
"I'm Aya Otonashi." I heard you.
"I'm Aya Otonashi." Enough, I heard you already!
I reject the massive amount of information that's trying to unload itself into my mind. I mean, there's no
way all this could fit. My brain would overload. I can't process it all.
What incomprehensible things –– am I...?
I realize that I am having incomprehensible thoughts and thus close my thinking ––– and then I return.
Eh? What did I just think?
Having forgotten that, I face the front and look at her again. I look at the transfer student, Aya Otonashi,
whose name I don't yet know.
The transfer student murmurs only this. In a low voice, as if she doesn't care whether we can understand
Aya Otonashi steps off the platform.
Because of her extremely simple self-introduction, the classroom becomes noisy.
She doesn't care one bit about the bewildered classmates and comes walking.
Looking directly into my face.
She sits down naturally at the empty seat beside mine, almost as if this seat has been prepared for her from
Otonashi-san scowls at me suspiciously when I watch her silently, unable to do anything.
...I guess I should say something.
"......Err, pleased to meet you."
Her frown, however, does not change one bit.
"I asked if that was all."
Was there something else? Even if you say so, I can't think of anything. After all, this is our first meeting.
But the atmosphere forces me to say something.
"......Err, your uniform. Is that uniform from your former school?"
Otonashi-san does not react to my frantic words in any way and just keeps staring at me.
Seeing my confusion, Otonashi-san lets out a sigh for some reason and smiles. A smile as if amazed at a
"I'll tell you something good, Hoshino."
... Eh? I didn't tell her my name yet.
But that wonder is a mere trifle. Otonashi-san says something to me that makes me sit completely still for a
full five seconds.
"Kasumi Mogi is wearing light blue panties today."
Kasumi Mogi's basic style during P.E. is not a gym uniform, but her usual uniform.
Today, she is once again watching the boys play soccer, wearing her uniform, expressionless as an
The white legs that look out from Mogi-san's skirt are so thin, they seem like they could break any moment.
And I am, for some reason, sleeping with my head on her lap.
Ah, yeah. I don't have a clue anymore of what´s going on, either. While there certainly is a sensation of bliss,
I can't enjoy it since I am desperately stopping my nosebleed with a tissue. It wouldn't end well if I didn't.
I can, by the way, remember how it came to this. Since I lost my ability to concentrate because of Otonashi-
san, the soccer ball hit me right in the face and my nose started to bleed. Then Mogi-san was worrying
about me and, for some reason, let me sleep with my head on her lap.
Mogi-san's legs aren't soft at all, and to be honest, they even hurt my head a bit.
I wonder why she cares for me like that. I look up to Mogi-san but can't tell anything from her
But I am happy.
Very, very happy.
Otonashi-san's 'panties' utterance.
Of course I was surprised. Not only of that lack of context and that unpredictability. What I mean is,
Otonashi-san said 'I'll tell you something good'. Basically, she declared information about «Kasumi Mogi» to
be «something good» for me.
I haven't even told Kokone or Daiya about my crush on Kasumi Mogi. So there is no way Otonashi-san, who
I met for the first time today, could know. Even so, she said that.
"What is it?"
Mogi-san answers quietly. It is a voice like a little bird, which fits her overall short and delicate appearance.
"Today, um, did Otonashi-san talk to you?"
"...The transfer student? ...No."
"You aren't acquainted otherwise either, right?"
Mogi-san affirms by nodding.
"Did she do something suspicious to you?"
She thinks for a moment and then shakes her head. Her lightly waved hair sways.
"Why are you asking this...?"
She inclines her head and asks.
"Ah, no... if there's nothing, that's fine."
When I shift my glance to the sports ground, Otonashi-san stands alone in the center of the schoolyard with
a daunting pose, showing neither interest in the ball nor in the girls swarming after the ball. When the ball
came casually rolling towards her, she weakly kicked it back. ... Err, didn't she just kick it to that girl on the
I might have been reading too much into it, thinking that she noticed my feelings.
Otonashi-san had quite an impact on me because of her appearance and attitude. Yeah, I merely read too
much into it because such a person suddenly told me something like that. A logic everyone can understand.
And yet ––– why can't I believe that?
Otonashi-san looks at me.
And fixes her gaze on me, not looking away.
Staring straight into my eyes. She boldly raises the corner of her mouth. Although the lesson has not ended
yet, she comes walking towards me.
Before I knew it, I stood up. Abandoning the privilege of sleeping on Mogi-san's lap, which is supposed to
be the utmost happiness for me. My entire body shudders. No metaphor; I really am shuddering.
Mogi-san, who seems to have noticed Otonashi-san as well, tenses up in anxiety and stands up like me.
Still with a daring smile, Otonashi-san points at me... no, at Mogi-san.
A sudden gust blows. A completely sudden gust. A gust no one could possibly foresee.
This sudden gust lifts Mogi-san's skirt.
Mogi-san immediately pushes her skirt down. But just the front of it. I am standing behind her. Right after
the gust ends, Mogi-san turns around and looks at me. She is indeed expressionless as always, but her
cheeks seem slightly red to me.
She silently forms the words "Did you see them?" with her mouth. No, she might have spoken actually, but
at least I couldn't hear her low voice. I shake my head frantically. I guess, due to my frantic reaction, it's
obvious that I've seen them. But Mogi-san doesn't reply anything and casts her eyes down.
By now, Otonashi-san is standing right beside me.
I get a glimpse of her expression.
Then I grasp the reason why I am trembling like that. I read the meaning behind her expression. A
sentiment that has not been aimed at me once in my life so far.
Why? Why is it aimed at someone like me?
Otonashi-san raises the corner of her mouth and scowls at me. While I am just shaking and can't move, she
puts her hand on my shoulder and places her lips near my ear.
"They were light blue, weren't they?"
Otonashi-san has known it all. My affection towards Mogi-san, that a sudden gust would expose her panties
to me, she had known it all.
That statement wasn't some kind of joke. It was a –– threat to insinuate that she knows me perfectly, that
she has grasped my way of thinking, that she's ruling over me.
"Hoshino, you should have recalled it by now, right?"
Otonashi-san observes me while I am petrified. We stay like this for a few moments, but when I keep silent,
she lets out a sigh and drops her gaze to the ground.
"So it's useless, even though I went this far... I see, you're even one level duller today."
She murmurs her complaints.
"If you've forgotten, remember now. My name's «Maria»."
...«Maria»? No, err... you're «Aya Otonashi», aren't you?
"...I-Is that your pen name or something?"
She scowls at me, not even trying to hide her irritation.
"Well then. You aren't challenging at all like this, but I'll act on my own convenience then."
Otonashi-san says that and turns her back to me.
I reflexively stop her. She turns around, appearing stressed out. I unintentionally wince at her frown.
I'm not sure. But judging from Otonashi-san's attitude, maybe––
"Could it be that we've met in the past?"
Hearing these words, Otonashi-san raises the corner of her mouth.
"Yeah, we were lovers in our previous life. Oh my beloved Hathaway, how miserable your current state!
You weren't such a fool back then when you came praising me, the princess of the enemy country."
I am at a loss for words. Otonashi-san seems satisfied seeing me like that and, for the first time today,
shows a smile that actually looks like one.
The next day.
I saw Aya Otonashi's corpse.
Upon hearing my words Mogi-san ponders for a while, with sorrowful eyes. Then she mutters, looking
uncomfortable, the following words:
"Please wait until tomorrow."
"I'm Aya Otonashi."
The transfer student mutters only these words.
"Oh my god! That's intense!"
My friend Haruaki Usui, who is sitting next to me, says so in a rather loud voice, although class is still in
session, and slaps my back vigorously.
Haruaki? You know, it hurts, and the glances of our classmates are also quite embarrassing...
Haruaki's look is already turned towards the back, towards the transfer student, Aya Otonashi.
"Our eyes met! That's intense!"
"Well, when you turn around to look at her, then it's only natural that your eyes meet."
"Hoshii, it's DESTINY!"
Wait, what? Destiny?
"Anyway, she's just too pretty! She would definitely pass as a work of art on the world market... and then
be acknowledged as a national treasure. Oh, it's too late for me, my heart has already been taken... I'll go
confess to her."
The chime rings. After we stood up and thanked the teacher, Haruaki goes straight to Otonashi-san without
bothering to sit down.
"Aya Otonashi-san! I fell for your at first sight. I love you!"
Uwaa, he's seriously doing it...
I cannot hear Otonashi-san's reply but Haruaki's face reveals it right away. Ah, no... it's not even necessary
to look at his face.
Haruaki returns to the front of my desk.
"Absurd... I got dumped?"
He thought he could succeed...? It's scary because he actually looks serious.
"Isn't that natural? Confessing to her all of a sudden will only bother her!"
"Mh, I see your point. Well then, I shall confess again. But this time not all of a sudden! These feelings of
mine are bound to get through to her one day!"
On one hand I consider his positive way of thinking enviable, but on the other hand I'd rather pass on it.
"Having fun, guys? For me it's pretty good entertainment, but the girls are giving you two disdaining
Daiya joins with these words.
"Eeh?! Isn't it only Haruaki who's getting disdained?!"
"Nope, you are, too. The girls regard you as birds of a feather."
"Oho, the same bird as me? What an honor! Don't you think so, Hoshii?"
"Leaving that aside, Daiyan, even you would want to make a move on her, right?"
Haruaki pokes Daiya with his elbow. The reason he doesn't fear doing that to Daiya is probably because
they are childhood friends. Or it's just because he doesn't care about consequences.
Daiya lets out a sigh and answers right away.
"Not at all."
"That's impossible! Who can move your heart then, Daiyan!"
"It doesn't matter whether my heart beats faster because of Otonashi-san's looks. I may have to admit her
beauty, but I still don't want to make a move on her."
"Haruaki, you haven't understood anything at all, have you? Well, of course this feeling can't be understood
by such a monkey as you who lives by following his instincts and thus would take any girl as long as she's
got a pretty face."
"What!? To begin with, what has instinct to do with caring about appearance?!"
"Since the appearance of a child is directly related to it becoming prosperous, it's instinctual to be attracted
to someone with good looks."
"Ooh", "Ooh" Haruaki and I let out breaths of admiration at the same time. Daiya makes an amazed face as
if he was shocked that we didn't even know such a thing.
"Ah, I got it, Daiyan! So you're saying that her beauty is so beyond reach that even you can't make a move
on her! Inevitable defeat! That's it, right? Like foxes make themselves think that 'this grape is sour' when a
grape's out of their reach. It's called rationalization. How uncool! That's so uncool, Daiyan!"
"How much of my talk did you listen to? The heck? ...well, the first half of your statement wasn't necessarily
wrong. But for the other half I'll kill you."
"Oho, so you really can't make a move on her."
At last, Daiya punches Haruaki who has made a triumphant face. Uwaa, what he endured until now went
straight into his punches, it looks like...
"It's not 'I can't make a move on her'. It's 'she doesn't make a move on me'."
"How cocky... hey, Hoshii, isn't that guy getting carried away just because of his looks?"
Haruaki states without showing any sign of reform.
"It's not like she doesn't make a move because I'm out of reach! Well, that would be possible as well, but in
her case it doesn't apply."
"Uwaa, he's boldly saying strange things."
"She doesn't regard me as outside of her reach, no, she doesn't even do such a classification. In the first
place, she's not interested in us. She's not even looking down on us. Like we recognize bugs just as bugs,
she recognizes people just as people. That's all. She doesn't care about slight differences like my pretty face
or Haruaki's ugly face. Just like we don't recognize the gender of cockroaches. How do you want to make a
move on such a girl?"
Even Haruaki seems overwhelmed by this merciless statement about Otonashi-san and keeps silent.
Therefore I open my mouth.
"Looks like you're surprisingly interested in Otonashi-san."
Daiya is at a loss for words. Ah, that's an extremely rare reaction. But am I not right? Leaving aside whether
or not his opinion is correct, he must have observed her to a certain degree to be able to do such an
"...tze, I have no interest!"
"Oh, you blushed!"
"...hey Kazu. You're going to step on a land mine if you keep going like this. Shall I treat you with a huge
spring onion that exceeds your imagination until you suffer from PTSD to an extent that you get nettle rash
just by seeing an onion?"
I gather that Daiya is quite angry, so I try to get away by laughing awkwardly.
Anyhow, Daiya seems to know that he can't get along with Otonashi-san.
"Even you guys will soon take notice of her abnormality despite your dumb intuition of an insect."
It sounded just a bit like a poor excuse.
But it wasn't one.
You know, it was exactly as he said.
Right after homeroom has ended, Otonashi-san suddenly raises her hand. The class teacher Hokubo-sensei
notices her, but not only does she not care about his consent, she doesn't even wait for his answer, stands
up and starts speaking.
"I'll have everyone of the first year's 6th class do something now."
Otonashi-san doesn't care about us being dumbfounded, either, and continues.
"It will take five minutes. You can spare that much, right?"
Nobody replies, but she heads to the platform nonetheless. She drives Hokubo-sensei out of the classroom
as if it is completely natural, and takes his place on the platform. Although this should be an abnormal
scene, it feels like something very usual to me. Judging from the reaction of the others, they seem to think
so as well.
Dead silence in the classroom.
Standing on the platform, Otonashi-san opens her mouth, gazing straight ahead.
"You will now write «a certain thing» for me."
Otonashi-san once steps down from the platform and hands something over to the students in the front
row. The students that have accepted this something from her take one sheet and pass it on to the seats
behind them; just like they usually do with handouts that need to be distributed to the whole class.
It arrives at my seat. It is an ordinary, plain sheet of recycled paper with about 10cm long sides.
"When you're done writing, hand it to me please."
"So what's that «certain thing»?"
When Kokone asks in place of the entire class, Otonashi-san explains plainly:
With this, the silent classroom finally starts to get noisy. Fair enough, I don't get it either. Her name?
Everyone knows that. She introduced herself as "Aya Otonashi" just this morning after all.
Someone exclaims. There is only one person that could possibly say such a thing to Otonashi-san.
My classmates hold their breath all at once. This is because everyone in this class knows that one mustn't
turn Daiya into an enemy.
"Your name's Aya Otonashi. Why do you want us to write that down? Do you want us to quickly remember
your name that badly?"
Otonashi-san stays composed even against that kind of talk.
"I would write «Aya Otonashi». But I told you just now. So there's no need for me to write it anymore,
"Yeah, I don't mind."
Apparently he didn't expect such a simple affirmation and is left bereft of speech.
He clicks his tongue, tears the paper up as loudly as possible and leaves the classroom.
"What's wrong? Won't you write already?"
No one could start writing. It may have still not shown on their faces, but they are surprised and
overwhelmed by her. She just talked down Daiya. Being Daiya's classmates, we have come to know very
well just how impressive that is.
No one is able to do anything for a while. But starting with the sound of someone's pencil scraping paper,
the same sound starts to resound from various places as if to follow suit.
Probably no one knows Otonashi-san's intention. But it doesn't matter. In the end, there is only one thing
we can write, after all.
There's only the name «Aya Otonashi».
The first one to take his sheet to Otonashi-san was Haruaki. Seeing him stand up, several classmates follow
suit. Otonashi-san's expression doesn't really change when she accepts the paper from Haruaki.
It was probably... the wrong answer.
I call out to Haruaki when he comes towards me after exchanging a word or two with Mogi-san.
"What's wrong, Hoshii?"
"What did you write?"
"Mh? Well, one can only write «Aya Otonashi», right? I almost forgot to write the last letter, though."
Haruaki says so while seeming a bit desolate for some reason.
"...well yeah, I guess there's only that..."
"Don't waver too much and write it down!"
"But do you really think she did this to make us write this name?"
In that case, I can't think of much meaning in doing so.
Haruaki immediately answers with
"Of course not,"
confirming my doubt.
"Eh? But... you wrote «Aya Otonashi», didn't you?"
"Yeah. ...listen, Daiyan is so intelligent it's not even funny, right? Well, but contrastingly his personality is so
bad it's not funny, either."
Because he suddenly changes the topic, I incline my head.
"And he said he would simply write «Aya Otonashi». So he couldn't think of anything else to write. Of
course it's the same for me. What I want to say is, well, we can't think of anything, so we can't write
anything else, either."
"If you can't think of anything... you can't write it."
"Exactly. In other words, this wasn't directed at us."
I have the feeling that Haruaki's words hit the bull's eye. He should be right on this.
In other words, Otonashi-san doesn't care about most of her classmates and does this only for the person
who can actually think of something.
I understand the reason why Haruaki seemed so desolate just now. I mean, he fell for her at the first sight.
He might have acted jokingly, but I don't know of anyone else he's confessed to. So he was more or less
But she didn't play his companion. His existence was being ignored... just like Daiya said.
"...Haruaki, you're surprisingly bright."
"The 'surprisingly' is unnecessary!"
While I hide the bashfulness of saying something rude with a smile, Haruaki reacts by smiling bitterly.
"See you. If I don't go now, I'll get killed by my seniors. No, I'm not exaggerating!"
"Ah, yeah. Go for it."
The so-so strong baseball club seems to be pretty demanding.
I face my empty sheet of paper. I am about to write «Aya Otonashi», but cannot do so in the end.
I gaze at Otonashi-san. There is not the slightest change in her expression while she looks through the
papers handed to her. I guess there is «Aya Otonashi» written on every single one.
––someone who can't think of anything can't write anything.
Then what am I supposed to do?
After all, I manage to think of something. For some reason, the absurd name «Maria» comes to mind.
No, I'm aware of it. Something's wrong with me. «Maria» of all things. I have no idea where this name
comes from. If I hand it to her with this name, she will just roar something at me, like «You've gotta be
But if this is, by any chance, the answer she's wishing for...?
After some severe wavering, I start writing on the 10cm recycled paper.
I stand up and head to Otonashi-san. There isn't a queue anymore. Looks like I am the last one. I nervously
hand her my sheet. Otonashi-san accepts it wordlessly.
Then she looks at the letters written there.
And her expression changes. Massively.
Otonashi-san, who didn't show any stirring of unease when faced with the teacher or Daiya, has her eyes
She suddenly bursts into laughter.
"Oh, you remembered my name."
I regret it in an instant. Because, when she stops laughing, she scowls at me like she would at the enemy of
"...You...! Are you freaking kidding me?!?"
She seems to frantically suppress her anger since she speaks in a low, chesty voice. I expected the 'kidding'-
part, but this tone in her voice is rather sudden.
She seizes me by the collar with all her heart.
"Wa! I-I'm sorry! I-It's not like I was kidding you..."
"So you're telling me you can write such an answer without kidding?"
"...err, well. You... might be right. I might have been kidding."
This may have been the finishing blow.
Without ever letting go she pulls me along, all the way to the backside of the school building.
"Hoshino. Are you making fun of me?"
Otonashi-san presses me against the wall of the school building and glares at me.
"I'm not that good at working out plans. I'm aware of that. It's an insane plan that's about the same as
saying «Culprit, turn yourself in!». No, you can't even call it a plan. And yet... Why the heck are you taking
the bait!? And this is already the second time I've done this! The first time you completely ignored it!"
She removes her hand from my collar, but her eyes are more than enough to hold me in place.
Otonashi-san is looking at me while chewing on her lips and lets out a sigh.
"...no, I lost my head because I finally got a foothold using such a ridiculous method. But the situation is
improving without a doubt, so I should rather be happy."
"...yeah, I guess. You should be happy! Hahaha"
Otonashi-san scowls at my forced smile again. It's probably best to keep quiet.
"...I don't get it. Actually, I was thinking you might have lost to my persistence... but what's with this
ignorant, comfortable face of yours!"
Rather than being thoughtless, I have no clue what you're talking about.
"You kept ignoring me for 2600 times. However many times this endless recurrence should continue, I
won't surrender. However, I do tire. It should be the same for you, yet how can you maintain this
What should I... I have no idea what you're talking about.
Apparently she finally notices my bewilderment at her words and looks at me suspiciously.
"......are you perhaps not self-aware?"
"Self-aware? Of what?"
"...very well. No matter whether you're acting or not, an explanation shouldn't cause any remarkable harm.
Hm, right. To put it simple–– I've already 'transferred' 2601 times."
Falling into blank amazement is all I could do.
"If you're just acting then you're quite a big deal. But certainly, if you really «didn't know», you'd make such
a dull face. Whatever. I'll explain to you what I grasped. Mh, right––today's March 2, right?"
"It would be comfortable to say that I've repeated this March 2 2601 times, but that isn't true. For this
reason I use the expression 'School Transfer', although I can't really call it appropriate."
"I've been sent back to March 2 06:27AM 2601 times."
"'Sent back' is the correct expression from my own perspective, but generally it's not. So I'm using the
expression 'School Transfer' here, since it's closer to what actually happens––"
Otonashi-san sees that my jaw has dropped and scratched her head.
"Aah, geez! Just how dumb are you! If there's some inconvenience for you after 06:27, you simply declare it
«void», don't you!"
She shouts at me, boiling inside. No, no... there's no one that would understand such a sudden thing right
away, is there?
"...I don't understand very well, but so you're repeating the same time over and over?"
It is the instant I say so.
What? What's this?
I push on my chest where this intense, strange sensation attacks me. An unease... the word 'unease' isn't
sufficient. It is an eerie sensation, like, say your town is replaced by another one without anyone noticing
It's not like my memories have been brought back. I haven't recalled anything.
But for some reason I can feel that this «happened».
Otonashi-san is telling the truth.
Nothing but the blank truth.
"Did you finally understand?"
"...w-wait a sec."
She's experienced March 2nd for 2601 times. That alone would be more than enough to confuse me, but
basically Otonashi-san is stating this:
"...I am causing this?"
Otonashi-san answers on the spot.
"W-why would I do that?"
"There's no way I'd know your motive."
"I'm not doing this!"
"How can you say that when you're not even self-aware?"
Why me? When I was about to say so, I notice. There is only one factor that made her have an eye on me.
That is––because I wrote «Maria» on the paper.
"Similar to the unaware you, other people, who were just dragged into here, have no means to remember
the past that was declared «void». In other words, apart from me, only the culprit is able to write down the
«Maria» I've mentioned in an iteration before."
But I recalled this name. I have to admit it is unthinkable that a name like «Maria» would suddenly appear
"I don't know whether it's effective, but I always try to act in a way it remains in the memories of the others.
I've waited for the culprit, who also has the memories of the past iterations that were declared «void», to
make a mistake. But well, I didn't really have any expectations."
"...since when did you doubt me? I mean, you specially told me this name «Maria» in some world before,
"I don't specially doubt a person like you who seems harmless."
"Hmpf, of course I tested everyone, one by one, and told them this name, since my time is basically
Her time is unlimited.
The time Otonashi-san has spent. An amount that big, I can't even call it a metaphor anymore.
I understand. Her time is basically unlimited, so that's why she's arrived at this reckless plan of making the
class write her name. With the slight hope that someone would write «Maria». Even if she didn't even have
any hope. All her breakthrough solutions had been exhausted long before in those 2601 'School Transfers',
so it was probably a mere way of killing time until a new plan appeared to her. Even trying such a plan is
better than not doing anything at all in order to calm down mentally. After all, her time could possibly go on
That's why Otonashi-san got angry when I fell for this trick. It is probably like when you can't beat an enemy
in an RPG and thus train and level up desperately, but in truth you can easily succeed just by using a certain
item. You might have reached the goal, but you want the effort getting there back.
"Well, let's cut this idle chatter. After all, this isn't over yet."
"Is that so?"
"Of course. Or does this look settled to you? Does this consecutive nightmare, the 'Rejecting Classroom',
look like it has ended to you?"
'The Rejecting Classroom'? I guessed that's what she calls this repeating situation.
At any rate, there is just one point that bugs me.
"You know, I can understand that you treat me as the culprit because I've written «Maria». But listen, to
begin with, why are you not affected by this 'Rejecting Classroom'?"
"It's not like I'm unaffected; Really, it can affect me just as well. If I surrendered and abandoned
remembering, I'd get captured by the 'Rejecting Classroom' right away. I would continue to live
meaninglessly in this endless recurrence. That's about as easy as spilling a cup of water that's put on top of
one's head. We would forever continue experiencing this one day you're rejecting."
"That would happen just by forgetting?"
"Think about it. Is there any other guy who could possibly notice this recurrence? If even you, the one who
set it up, weren't aware of the recurrence?"
...she might be right. And really, she already has repeated for 2601 times.
"It would certainly be easier for me to abandon remembering. But that will absolutely never happen."
"Yeah, never. It's not possible that I give up. No matter whether I have to repeat 2000 times, 20,000 times
or a squillion times, I will overcome this recurrence and achieve my goal."
2000 times. Thinking about this number once again, we often come across this '2000' as a unit in our daily
lives. But if we have to really pile it up piece by piece... for example, a year has 365 days, five years have
1825 days... and that wouldn't be enough yet.
That amount of time, Otonashi-san came to exceed.
"Hoshino. Are you also unaware of the reason why you produced this 'Rejecting Classroom'?"
"Fufu, I see. Assuming you're playing dumb just to dodge this question, there's certainly a meaning behind
this. In that case your acting is quite the deal."
"I-I'm not acting!"
"Well I'll ask you then––"
Otonashi-san smiled faintly.
"Hoshino, you have met––him, haven't you?"
...Is not the question I ask myself right now. For whatever reason. Who have I met? I don't know. I can't
Still, I understand.
I have met '*'.
When? Where? Of course I wouldn't know such a thing. That isn't part of my memories. Even so, I can feel
that we have met.
I try to remember. But the information is blocked from my eyes like through a shutter coming down at
extreme speed. Attention! You may not enter. Authorized personnel only.
"Fufu, so you met him."
Otonashi-san is convinced now. And I myself am convinced as well.
I, Kazuki Hoshino, am the originator who caused this situation.
"He should have handed it over to you. The 'box' that grants you a single 'wish'."
She suddenly uses the word "box". Based on the context, that "box" seems to be the tool that produces this
"Ah, I didn't tell you my goal yet."
Otonashi-san tells me without stopping to chuckle.
"My goal is––to obtain the 'box'."
Then her laughter disappears. Otonashi-san, who is convinced that I have the "box", scowls at me with cold
eyes and commands.
"Now hand over the 'box'."
I surely have the "box". It can't be any other way, right?
But is it really alright to hand over this "box" that grants any "wish" to her?
I mean, Otonashi-san has endured 2601 repetitions just for the sake of obtaining this "box". So she has a
"wish" that is worth such a huge effort. She wants to grant her own "wish"; even if it means making light of
my own "wish", stealing it. It's like...
...this is––an almost abnormal tenacity.
Right, this is abnormal. Aya Otonashi is abnormal.
"...I don't know how to."
That is not a lie. But it is also my way of showing resistance.
"I see. So you'll hand it over to me once you remember?"
"Forgetting how to take it out is a common case. But you have just forgotten it; somewhere, you still know
how. Like you know how to ride a bicycle: you can't teach it to others, but you know it as a feeling. You're
just bewildered because you can't convert it into words."
"...is there no way to end the 'Rejecting Classroom' without taking out the 'box'?"
Otonashi-san shoots a cold glance at me.
"So you don't plan to hand it over to me. Is this what you want to say?"
"I-It's not like that..."
Seeing my obvious panic, Otonashi-san lets out a quiet sigh.
"Let's see. I guess the 'Rejecting Classroom' would also end if we crushed the 'box' along with its 'owner'."
"Crush it along with its 'owner'...?"
"Owner" probably refers to the culprit holding the "box" - in other words, me. Crush it along with me? In
Otonashi-san represses her feelings and says coldly.
"The 'Rejecting Classroom' will end if you die."
Is this reason enough to prepare a «******»?
Do you want to tell me that you plan on doing this to me, too, if you need to? In that case, please do it
quickly, that is easier to bear.
March 3rd. Morning. Rain. A crossroads with a bad view.
I have thrown away my umbrella and look at the «******». Other things don't really enter my sight.
Neither the truck that has crashed into the wall nor Otonashi-san, who is just standing there, are being
recognized by my eyes. A red liquid is flowing without rest, so much it cannot be washed away by the rain.
A cor***, missing half of its head, that has its bra** splashed out. ***pse. Corpse. Corpse. CORpse.
CorpseCorpseCORPSE. corPSE. CorpsecorpseCORPSE. Corpse. Corpse. Corpse!
The thing before my eyes causes me to vomit as I recognize it.
I look at Aya Otonashi. She is expressionlessly staring at me.
But don't worry, Haruaki!
You know, this will be undone anyway.
This will be declared «void». Conveniently.
......Oh? Could it be...
Could this be the reason why I'm wishing for the "Rejecting Classroom"...? Because I'm rejecting situations
of this kind?
"I'm Aya Otonashi."
That instant, a red picture flashes through my mind. A picture that has been buried in the depths of my
memories, although I have seen it just now.
And as if my brain is being pulled on by a thread connected to it, the recollections of the 2601st 'School
Transfer' are drawn out of it.
I am so astonished of myself that I can't suppress screaming out.
"Mh? What's wrong Hoshii? You look painful, are you alright?"
Haruaki, who is sitting beside me, worries about me.
Haruaki, who is supposed to have been overrun by a truck, smiles at me.
An inevitable unease. Nausea. The information swells up, covering me completely, as if I am its prey and get
eaten up by it. My mind can't keep up with the speed of the information and thus gets strained.
Last time's memories get connected with the ones of this time.
So lively and clearly––
"But really, Aya-chan is too cute. I'll confess."
––because of Haruaki's corpse.
And now he falls for Aya Otonashi at first sight again, although she made him suffer like this.
I look at Otonashi-san. In this moment our eyes meet. She is glaring at me. With a daring grin, she is glaring
...is this corpse supposed to coerce me into handing my 'box' over to her?
In that case it is just too effective. Threatening me by showing me a corpse, implying "I'll kill you"... And by
using the corpse of a friend of mine, she also corners me with feelings of guilt. Otonashi-san's doing all of
this arbitrarily. In theory, even I understand that it's not my fault. But when I see a corpse, this theory gets
blown away and my heart gets easily broken.
If I knew how, I would surely present her the 'box' right away. But fortunately I don't know the means.
...fortunately? Really? I mean, if this is an effective attack, Otonashi-san will most certainly continue.
Until my heart breaks.
Otonashi-san descends the platform and approaches me.
Until she is right beside me.
Keeping her glance straight forward instead of looking at me, she murmurs.
"Looks like you remember."
If it continues like this I'm going to break.
I'm aware that it's not going to solve anything, but I played dumb and ran away from Otonashi-san.
I somehow have to think of a counter-measure while avoiding her.
"Are these all details now, Kazu?"
––I consulted the most intelligent person I know, Daiya Oomine.
Daiya is leaning against the wall in the corridor and is obviously in a bad temper. Probably because my
explanation used up the whole break between the first and second lesson.
"So? What do you want from me by telling me this novel idea?"
I straightforwardly told him everything, including the things I learned from Otonashi-san, without omitting
a single part. Still, the matter remained the same. Since I didn't expect a realist like Daiya to believe my
situation, I turned it into the story of a novel.
"I was wondering what the «Protagonist» of this story is supposed to do."
"If we think about it generally, he's probably supposed to oppose the «Transfer Student»."
Of course I am the «Protagonist» and Otonashi-san was the «Transfer Student».
Since I adopted it just like this, Daiya notices that the «Transfer Student» is «Aya Otonashi». But he just
shows a wry smile with the words "So she was the model", apparently confident that it is only fiction.
"But... I don't think the «Protagonist» can rival the «Transfer Student»."
"I guess that's true at the present point."
The opponent is this Aya Otonashi. A person that goes as far as to 'transfer' 2602 times and even produces
corpses in order to obtain the 'box'. I don't think that there's a chance for me to win.
"But it's possible for the «Protagonist» to obtain power at a later point that matches the «Transfer
Daiya said carelessly.
Of course I consulted Daiya to find a way. But I did so with the expectation of finding a needle in a haystack.
Honestly, I didn't expect he could think of a breakthrough solution for me.
"What's with this reaction? Well then, tell me, why can't the «Protagonist» rival the «Transfer Student»?"
"Aah, no, better don't answer. You idiot would give me a dull answer anyway and make me irritated."
...I'm allowed to get angry here, right?
"The difference between the «Protagonist» and the «Transfer Student». It's the difference of information.
The «Transfer Student» can use this difference to move the «Protagonist» like a puppet. It's simple. She
merely needs to give just the favorable information to the «Protagonist»."
That's... right. Otonashi-san can do anything with me as soon as I forget the situation again.
"On the other hand if he closes the gap between their levels of information, which is the main reason he
can't rival her, it could work out somehow. So he just needs to get rid of this handicap."
"...but this is impossible!"
Daiya smirks at my murmur.
"Say, you told me that the «Protagonist» can take over the memories of last time?"
"If he takes over himself, who took over the memories of last time, he's able to take over the memories of
the time before last. Right?"
"......well, I guess so."
"So if he takes over the memories of the time before last, he can also take over the memories of two times
before last. If he takes over the memories of two times before last, he can also take over the memories of
three times before last."
"...so––? I mean the «Transfer Student» is also able to build up information during this time. The difference
can't be filled up. Otonashi-sa–– the «Transfer Student» has already the memories of more than 2601
repetitions, you know? What's going to change for the «Protagonist» if he obtains the memories of 2, three
"Repeat for 100,000 times."
"There's no way to fill up the difference of the bygone 2601 times. Then just make those 2601 irrelevant.
The difference of information between 102,601 times and 100,000 times is merely 2% if we use simple
math. You can't call this difference anymore. If the «Protagonist» repeats this much, he obtains the means
to oppose the «Transfer Student». Then he has to use the gained information and the opponent's efforts to
exhaust the «Transfer Student», to weaken her, to frustrate her and to make her forget the memories of
I'm supposed to do such a thing?
"......but he doesn't know how to take over the memories to begin with."
Right. I was able to take over the memories this time, but this was just by chance.
"You said that the shock of seeing a corpse made the «Protagonist» take over the memories, right?"
"That's what I suppose... at least."
I can't think of another reason and my feelings are telling me that's the way it is.
I was able to take over the memories by chance, because I saw Haruaki's corpse.
"Then it's simple."
Daiya states carelessly.
"The «Protagonist» just needs to produce corpses himself."
I reflexively become speechless.
"S-Such an act––"
"Well, listen. I guess it's certainly unreasonable to kill someone. With such a lack of ethics the «Protagonist»
would just cause aversion in the reader. My point is that the «Protagonist» has to prepare something with
the same impact as seeing a corpse."
"...that could certainly... work."
"In other words the «Protagonist» just needs to have a stronger tenacity for the 'box' than the «Transfer
The chime rings. Daiya considers our talk finished and turns around.
"I'll return to the classroom. You should quickly come too, Kazu!"
But I don't feel like returning to the classroom right away and stay still. Daiya walks away without paying
me any attention.
"...there sure might be a way to retain my memories. But––"
––hanging on for 100,000 times? It may be possible in theory but in reality, it's not. There's no way a feeling
human could bear it. That's like being told 'I've developed a car with the top speed of 10,000kmph, so
please drive it for me'. Even if the car could drive with that speed, my body would fail to resist the burden
and finally break. My mind, no, the human mind isn't made to endure 100,000 repetitions of just the same
Otonashi-san is a special case if she's really able to bear it. Please don't put me into the same category as
But is this the only way to oppose Otonashi-san? Am I even supposed to oppose her? Wouldn't it be better
for both of us if I just raised the white flag?
I let out a sigh once again since I can't even decide on such a thing.
When I look up, wanting to return to the classroom for now...
I reflexively raise my voice.
Did he hear us? No, his face in the shadow of the post looks too serious for that. After all we were only
talking about a 'fictional story'. Theoretically.
"Frankly, being your friend, I get jealous when you get in a good mood without me. Thus I think it's
completely fine for me to hide and eavesdrop on you. Let's forgive me."
He starts to freely plead himself not guilty. Despite of his joking tone, his expression stays as serious as
"Well then, Hoshii––"
Haruaki scratches his head and asks.
"––wanna try killing me?"
My breath stops.
I have no idea what makes him say these absolutely uncommon words.
Haruaki watches my bewilderment for a while. I'm not even able to wink. He suddenly forms his mouth to a
complacent smile and, apparently unable to bear it any longer, bursts into laughter.
"Ah, don't tell me!--That's cruel, Haruaki! Don't tease me!"
"Ahaha! No, no, I'd never have guessed that your reaction would be that serious...!! Terrific! Hoshii, you're
just too funny! Naturally I'm just joking, just joking!"
Well, that's logical. There's no one who would believe that such a recurrence could happen in reality.
"Right... A joke... of course it's just a joke."
"Of course. Naturally it's a joke. --something like letting me getting killed."
I feel something odd with the last sentence.
"--And? How can I assist you?"
Assist? What's Haruaki talking about?
Haruaki is serious and earnest again when he continues.
"Well, since my memories will be lost in the next world anyway, I guess it's limited what I can do now."
Aah, I see--
Haruaki believes in the "Rejecting Classroom".
He believes my story everyone would just think of as made-up.
"What's wrong, Hoshii?"
"Err... this is just a fictional scenario I made up, you know?"
Haruaki laughs and matter-of-factly said:
"That's a lie, isn't it?"
I can't even bring out the words to ask how he figured that out.
I mean, I myself couldn't believe such a nonsensical story even if someone begged me to.
"Wahaha! Are you impressed by this deep friendship of mine, that makes me even swallow such a story
When I nod, Haruaki seems to be taken aback for some reason.
"N-No... don't answer so plainly! I'll blush."
He bashfully scratches his nose.
"Just in case, Daiya also thinks that this isn't a fictional story, but actually happening to you, you know?"
"Eh? ...no, I don't think so. I mean, we're talking about the realist, Daiya, remember?"
However, now that he mentions it, he might have acted a bit unusual. After all he specially changed the
place for this talk and sacrificed his break. If he really thought of it as just a novel, he would have chased me
away with something like "Boring. Don't write it.".
"Okay, probably he didn't believe your story as is. But he earnestly believes that you're currently in this
situation. I sensed it!"
Come to think of it, Daiya's advice was a bit off the mark, considering it was about a novel. He clearly chose
the answers I wanted.
"There's a contradiction to begin with, Hoshii. Aya-chan, who's the motif of the «Transfer Student» arrived
today, you know? You called Daiya in the break after the first lesson. When would you have had the time to
think all of this up?"
That sure is true.
"I think that you're telling the truth and not some delusion."
"It's a bit too well made for being a delusion of yours, isn't it? There's no way you'd have such a thriving
"Well, but even if you were a bit more brilliant and could think this up in such a short time; I'd still believe
"Because we're friends, aren't we?"
Uwa, what is that guy saying.
I mean, how should I... suppress my blush and react to him if he speaks to me like this?
Haruaki frowns and stuffs a french fry into his mouth.
"I see. So Aya-chan... no, Aya Otonashi might have killed me..."
As suggested by Haruaki, we went to McDonald's. Two students in uniform who left early, due to feigned
illness, at McDonald's, in broad daylight. I can't help sensing the surrounding people's glances and want to
"I wonder if Otonashi-san would care about being at McDonald's at such a time and in uniform."
"Well, I guess in Aya Otonashi's case, she wouldn't."
Haruaki listens to the story that he might have been killed by the Otonashi-san he fell for at first sight and
spits out her name in hostility.
"In other words, she's adapted to this over the course of more than 2000 loops."
Otonashi-san has become accustomed to everything being declared as «void». She surely doesn't get upset
about each and any thing within the 'Rejecting Classroom' anymore.
Otonashi-san has adapted to an abnormal situation. Can you really say that her personality's still normal?
This Otonashi-san who is trying to kill me?
"Was this supposed to be an escape?"
My heart stops.
The sudden voice of the person I thought of right now. I cannot turn around to the voice behind me. I am
unable to move as if I were cemented.
How did she find us? I didn't even tell Daiya.
Otonashi-san walks around me and stops in front me. I am still unable to raise my face.
"I'll tell you something good, Hoshino,"
She says with a grin on her face.
"I'm spending this March 2nd for the 2602nd time. I've spent this time together with classmates that
haven't changed a bit since they don't keep any memories and aren't aware of this recurrence."
She quietly puts her hand on the table. That is enough to make my body stiffen up.
"People change. Their values do, too. Thus it's not easy at all to predict their actions. However, it's way too
easy to grasp your action as you guys are trapped in a deadlock and don't change. Even more since it's the
same March 2nd. I even grasped your conversation pattern. Hoshino, I can easily predict the range of
actions a passive high school student like you would take."
I'm just experiencing the «information difference» Daiya mentioned firsthand. I vaguely thought that was
just about information on the 'Rejecting Classroom' or the 'box'. But it's not just that. The most crucial
information is the information on «Kazuki Hoshino» - myself. And the information I need to obtain is on
«Aya Otonashi». That's what Daiya meant from the start. That's why he said that the difference between
our information would disappear through more recurrences.
"Got it? You can't escape from me, Hoshino. I have a grip on you. I could easily crush you. But if I do so, I'll
also crush this important article you're holding. That's the only reason you're alive. Got it? Better not anger
Otonashi-san seizes my hand.
"Be quiet and follow me. And then quietly obey me."
She isn't gripping my hand tightly. If I try, I should be able to shake her off. But... can I do that? ...no way.
I'm already taken over by Aya Otonashi. I'm miserable? I'm aware of that. But I just can't... defy her. I don't
know how to.
And despite that - despite me knowing no means to defy her - my hand is set free from Otonashi-san's
"What are you doing?"
Otonashi-san says. I wasn't able to shake her off. So her hostile words aren't directed at me.
"What I'm doing, you ask? ...ha!"
They are pointed at Haruaki, who has pulled our hands apart.
"I won't hand Hoshino over to you! Can't you get even such a simple thing? Are you an idiot?"
Haruaki's provocation's are childish, but his face has become stiff. It is a complete bluff. He doesn't look
down on people like that to begin with.
However, naturally, Otonashi-san doesn't react to his provocation.
"That's not what I'm asking. Usui, it appears that you're the one who can't use his head. Your actions are
futile. Meaningless. It seems you decided to save Hoshino, but that is merely a momentary fragile dream,
about to disappear. Next time, you will have forgotten this determination anyway and come running,
confessing to me instead of considering me an enemy."
Haruaki falters completely upon these words. He knows that it's going to be like that. If it resets again,
Haruaki will forget our conversations this time. However hostile towards her he may be now, he's going to
fall for her at first sight again, and he's going to confess to her again. Haruaki's within a hopeless deadlock.
And even though he is confronted with such a truth, Haruaki clenches his fist.
"No, it's still you who can't use her head, Otonashi! I might really return to the «unaware me» each time! I
guess I won't be able to keep my memories and I'm not as bright as Daiya. But you know what? I have quite
some faith in myself."
"I don't understand. What are you trying to say?"
"Say, Otonashi. It's certain that I'm in a standstill and won't change, right?"
"Yeah, that's why you can't do anything."
"Ha! It's just the other way, Otonashi! If I'm not going to change, I can vouch for the me in a later world.
After all they will be the exact same person as I'm now. I can imagine this without problem! Those selfs are
going to believe Hoshii each time when he explains them his situation, and they will help him each time.
Whichever world, I won't abandon my friend Hoshii. Listen, remember this well, Otonashi--"
He pointed at Otonashi-san.
"––If you make Kazuki Hoshino your enemy, you'll also turn an immortal against you. Me!"
To be honest, his posture is anything but firm. He seems pressured, he is bluffing and his hands are even
trembling. He's obviously anxious. Especially since he's usually clowning for everyone. Cool words suit him
so little, it's not even funny.
But his words have warmed my heart more than enough.
I mean, Haruaki is saying so without 1% doubt. There's none of his usual exaggeratedness, either. Haruaki
says so as if it's a matter of fact.
Of course Otonashi-san isn't flustered a bit by his unsteady posture. But she also does not object right away.
She closes her mouth for a few seconds, displeased.
"...You're sounding as if I am the bad one. Aren't you aware that it's Kazuki Hoshino who dragged you into
this 'Rejecting Classroom'?"
Otonashi-san's words are precise and sharp. Haruaki takes damage by each one, but still--
"I won't mistake my ally just because of that!"
Haruaki doesn't change his opinion. He decidedly doesn't avert his gaze from Otonashi-san although he is
This isn't good. I mean, the opponent is Aya Otonashi! She isn't the one who's bothered when Haruaki
declares her an enemy forever. It's Haruaki. The girl he'll be attracted to each time is going to be hostile
towards him; for no obvious reason. From now on, Haruaki is going to suffer each time.
Whereas she surely won't feel any pressure from him snapping at her.
"I've lost my interest."
Otonashi-san is the one who averts her gaze first and turns away.
"All your actions will become meaningless anyway when next time arrives."
She spits out these words and leaves.
If it wasn't for her who said it, it might have sounded a little like a poor excuse. But it doesn't sound that
way at all. In the first place, how could Otonashi-san lose to him when she doesn't care about him anyway?
Hence, she simply voiced her thoughts. She merely came to the conclusion that it would be more
convenient to do something about me in a more advantageous situation.
Otonashi-san doesn't feel anything for us. Of course she doesn't fear us, but she isn't angry at us and
doesn't scorn us either.
So I wonder––why?
No, I know. It has to be just my imagination. A wrong guess. An extreme misunderstanding. But even so,
really, honestly, just for an instant––
Didn't she look just a bit––down?
Haruaki says with his gaze still directed at the automatic door Otonashi-san left through.
"Do you think I'm going to be killed?"
No way... is what I almost answer reflexively. But then I notice that it could be like last time and keep quiet.
As expected it was raining on March 3rd of the 2602nd time. I went to school a bit earlier than last time and
avoided the spot of the accident, although it was a detour. In order to ward off Otonashi-san's attack... or,
rather than that, simply to not see that scene a second time.
When I arrive at the classroom, Daiya is already there. He comes over when he notices me.
"What's wrong, Daiya?"
For some reason Daiya doesn't answer right away. He looks deep into my eyes. He's as good at hiding his
feelings as ever, but this time something is obviously different.
"......about the novel we talked about yesterday."
Daiya speaks consciously indifferent. It is about the «novel». In other words, it is about «my current
"There's something that's been bothering me. Why doesn't the «Transfer Student» lose her memories,
even though the «Protagonist» does?"
I cannot answer him. Because I don't get the reason why he began to talk about this.
"Even the «Protagonist» - the creator of this «Rejecting Classroom»" - loses his memories. Even if we
assume that the «Transfer Student» possesses some special power, wouldn't it be too convenient to
automatically keep the memories of the recurrences? So I think it would be better to make the
«Protagonist» and «Transfer Student» be able to keep their memories employing the same method."
"...you might be right."
I agree without thinking too much about the meaning. Maybe I am unable to grasp his words fully because
he is just talking about a «novel».
"The «Protagonist» was able to keep his memories, because he saw a corpse, right?"
"...I think so."
"The corpse was result of a truck crash, right? There's no way the «Transfer Student» who spent the same
day for 2601 times, wouldn't know of this truck. If the «Transfer Student» had her hands in the accident,
then it was without a doubt intentional. That's why you expressed that the «friend of the Protagonist» «got
"But something bothered me there."
"Why? Are my thoughts odd?"
"No, not at all. It's certainly an effective attack against the «Protagonist». That is, if it can be taken for
granted that he will take over the memories. There's no meaning in a successful attack when the
«Protagonist» forgets it right away."
"I don't get what you're trying to say..."
"The goal of the «Transfer Student» is to steal the 'box' from the «Protagonist», right?"
"Try to think from the «Transfer Student's» perspective. The «Transfer Student» finally found the person
she's been searching for - the «Protagonist». Although the «Transfer Student» could have kept quiet, she
openly explained the situation to the «Protagonist». A clueless opponent and an opponent that was
attacked and thus is on guard - from which one is it easier to steal the 'box'? Of course it’s the clueless
opponent. So why do you think the «Transfer Student» explained the situation to him?"
"Err... because the «Transfer Student» thought the «Protagonist» would forget?"
"Right. She concluded that it wouldn't matter. That she told him was probably just because of something
like dissipation; you may also call it negligence."
"But the accident could only occur intentionally, right? So it could only be an attack against me..."
"I guess it was intentional. But try to think like this: it was unforeseen by the «Transfer Student» for the
«Protagonist» to see the corpse."
In other words, the accident had a different goal than attacking me?
I think about his words once again.
I hastily look around in the classroom. The «Transfer Student» - Aya Otonashi - isn't there. Surely she is still
at that place.
"No way... that's not normal anymore!"
"Of course. There's no way a person that has adapted to 2602 recurrences would stay in his right mind."
Aya Otonashi killed someone.
She did so not to attack me, but to retain her own memories.
I remember. I don't even want to, but I remember. That this accident hasn't happened only during the
2601th time. That she may have already done so in each of the 2600 other times.
So will she continue to kill people in order to 'transfer'?
Will I be forced to watch this silently?
Will Haruaki be killed again this time?
"Mh? What's wrong, Hoshii?"
Haruaki has entered the classroom just now and stands beside the door.
What does this mean? Haruaki isn't the target? ...right, there's no need for him to be the corpse, is there?
"Well, enough with your novel, Kazu... let's get to the point."
Daiya continues without caring about Haruaki.
"It seems there was an accident a short time ago."
Daiya takes a deep breath and speaks.
"Aya Otonashi was run over by a truck."
Aah, I see.
She doesn't care even if she herself is the target.
"Haruaki was run over by a truck."
"Kasumi Mogi was run over by a truck."
Soccer during P.E.
Because I have gotten a nose bleed, I am sleeping on Mogi-san's lap.
I suddenly start to wonder about her feelings for letting me sleep on her lap. Could it be that she is trying,
even if just for a bit, to attract me?
I don't have the slightest idea; she is expressionless as ever when I peek at her casually.
"What are you thinking right now?"
Mogi-san tilts her head. But her answer doesn't seem to come. The only reaction she shows to my question
is a bewildered face.
This makes me ponder a little. If it's so hard to recognize the partner's feelings, can love really progress?
Why did I fall in love with such a difficult girl?
In the first place - when on earth did I fall in love?
I try to remember.
Mogi-san asks when I suddenly let out a sound.
My face probably doesn't say 'nothing'. Mogi-san is aware of that. But since she doesn't have the skills to
question me about this matter, she keeps silent without doing anything.
I stand up without prior warning to Mogi-san.
"Ah, um... it seems my nose bleed has stopped."
Our conversation ends with these plain words.
Why did I abandon such an favorable situation voluntarily? This bliss might not come a second time.
But––it is impossible.
You see, no matter what I try––I can't remember.
I can't remember. I can't remember. I can't remember! ...I can't remember when I fell in love with her!
Why did I fall in love? What was the trigger? Or was I simply attracted to her before I knew it, even without
any special occasion?
I should know as much; there's no way I'd forget, but... I cannot remember, no matter how hard I try.
It wasn't love on first sight. And except of the fact that we're classmates, we have almost nothing in
And yet, why so out of the blue? Or are you telling me that it was a completely sudden awakening of love––
Although hard to believe, it is the only thing I can think of. A completely sudden awakening of love.
"What's wrong? Are you alright? ...Should we go to the infirmary?"
Mogi-san suggests this with the calm voice of hers. I am indeed very happy that she's worried about me.
Simply happy. This feeling is not fake.
"...I'm alright. I was just pondering about something."
I repeatedly ask myself whether this isn't some mistake. But the more I reconsider it, the more it seems
true to me.
I haven't been attracted to Mogi-san.
Until when? Right––
––I haven't been attracted to her until yesterday.
"––Ah, I see."
I look at the transfer student who is just standing around in the middle of the yard - Aya Otonashi.
When was the occasion that made me get attracted to Mogi-san? ––ah, that's easy. It wasn't yesterday. But
today I am already in love. So when was it?
That was only possible––between yesterday and today.
Only during the more than 20,000 repetitions that occurred due to the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
Ah, I remembered. Only a fragment, but I probably remembered more than usual. Still, it is just a fragment,
so most of the memories stay lost.
I have lost the most important recollection to me - how I fell in love with Mogi-san. And surely I won't
regain this. I can't share anything with Mogi-san. An unrequited love I can't do anything about, no matter
how much time passes; only my feelings will get stronger.
No, it may be more than that. This love might disappear as soon as the 'Rejecting Classroom' ends. I mean,
this love shouldn't even exist without the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
This is strange. Such a thing is definitely strange. There's no lie to this love.
But still this love is a fake that couldn't exist originally?
A sudden gust blows before the lesson ends. It lifts up Mogi-san's skirt. I wonder why? But I have a faint
feeling that I already know these light blue panties.
No, I do know them.
The fact that Mogi-san is wearing light blue panties today.
And also the fact that Aya Otonashi sacrificed Kasumi Mogi more than anyone else in order to retain her
Therefore I decide.
To defend this 'Rejecting Classroom.'.
This time Aya Otonashi doesn't come approaching me.
No, I think it was the same the time before. I can only remember slightly, but it's been like this for a while
During lunch break, Aya Otonashi is alone, chewing her bread really wearily.
This time it is me who approaches her.
Just by doing so, my body stiffens and my heartbeat accelerates. Otonashi-san's rejection of others has
amassed to a giant barrier, enough to apply pressure by itself.
I ready myself and call out to her. However, Otonashi-san doesn't even turn around. But there's no way she
didn't hear me from this distance though, so I continue without caring.
"I have something to discuss."
She turns me down without batting an eye.
No reaction. She just continues chewing her bread halfheartedly.
She seems to plan to ignore me no matter what I say. In that case I simply have to make ignoring me
impossible for her.
It's immediately come to mind when I thought about it.
The chewing movements of her mouth stop.
"I have something to discuss."
Despite this she doesn't even look at me. She doesn't say anything else, either.
The classroom is dead silent. Our classmates are only looking at us while holding their breath.
And finally Otonashi-san seems to have lost her patience and sighs.
"I never thought you'd say that name. Seems like you've remembered quite a lot this time."
"Even so, there's nothing to discuss with you."
Once again she begins to chew her bread listlessly.
The glances of my classmates focused on me when I reflexively start shouting.
"Why?! Am I not the one you have to do something about?! So why don't you even try listening to me!?"
"Why, you ask?"
"You honestly don't know? Ha! Right. You're always dumb, acting like this. You don't think for yourself. Why
should I keep company with such a person?"
"...well, I don't know what I have done sometimes."
"Sometimes? Foolish. What's different about the current you, huh? You're just the same, aren't you?"
"How can you assert this? Maybe I'm going to offer you my help. In that case––"
"Virtually doesn't matter."
Otonashi-san spits out these words without even letting me finish.
I am about to object reflexively. But this objection is erased by Otonashi-san's following words.
"Because you haven't made this proposal just two or three times already."
I am so stunned that my face might have even looked funny. Curling her mouth up slightly, Otonashi-san
puts her half-eaten bread back and speaks:
"Very well. This time is full of useless things anyway. This isn't just the second or third time I'm explaining
this as well, but let me tell you anyway."
Otonashi-san stands up and starts walking away.
I don't have a choice but to follow her quietly.
As usual she leads me to the backside of the school building. And just as usual Otonashi-san leans against
"I'll say this right now at the beginning. I won't have a conversation with you. You will just listen to my
words like an idiot."
"...I can decide that on my own."
I say so to be a bit rebellious, but Otonashi-san just darts me a cold glance.
"Hoshino, do you know which time this is? No, you don't know. This iteration's the 27,753rd."
It is a way too outrageous number.
"...did you specifically count each time?"
"Yeah, since there's no way to affirm this once I stop counting even just one time. If I forget to do so, I'll
lose the sight of my standpoint. Therefore I'm counting."
Certainly, it's slightly calming if one knows how many steps one has taken towards an unknown destination.
"I have repeated just this much. I have already tried almost all possible ways to approach you. I'm in a
situation where I can't even think of anything I haven't tried already."
"That's why you think there's no meaning in talking to me?"
"You're not even trying to persuade me to hand over the 'box' to you?"
"I have given up on that already long ago."
"Why? Somewhere within these recurrences, there should have been a supportive me."
"Yeah, of course. There were times you treated me with hostility, and there were also times you
cooperated. But you know? It doesn't matter. You don't hand out the 'box' either way."
I didn't hand out the 'box' even when I was cooperating? ...but well, that's logical. If Otonashi-san had
obtained the 'box', then this «now» inside the 'Rejecting Classroom' wouldn't exist.
"Just confirming: it's for sure that I have the 'box', right?"
"I've been doubting that constantly myself. But the conclusion is always the same. Kazuki Hoshino is,
without a doubt, the 'owner'."
"Why do you think so?"
"There aren't as many suspects as you may think. The explanation would take too long so I'll abbreviate it.
It's impossible for the few suspects to deceive me for 27,753 times. Hence, you're the only possible 'owner'.
Furthermore, unrelated to the 'Rejecting Classroom', there's unarguable circumstantial evidence, isn't
As she said. I had met the distributor of the 'box'––"*".
"Even so, you don't take out the 'box' at all. Rather, you can't. I've marked you as the 'owner' more than
20,000 times ago."
"So you've given up?"
This Otonashi-san who spares no effort in order to obtain a 'box'?
"I have not given up. I just cannot attain the box. Let's assume you're searching for a 100 Yen coin that
should be in your wallet, but you can't find it however much you turn the wallet inside out. Searching every
corner of the wallet is easy. Still, you don't find it. In that case you have to assume that those 100 Yen
aren't there anymore. Just like that, in these 27,753 recurrences I've come to the conclusion that «I cannot
attain the 'box' from Kazuki Hoshino»."
Otonashi-san scowls at me for a moment and turned away.
"Well then, the side show has ended. Still want to say something?"
"...Yeah! That's why I wanted to talk to you in the first place."
I have to say it.
I have decided. I have decided to defend the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
Otonashi-san, who has come to kill Mogi-san countless times, I make her––
"I make Otonashi-san, no, Aya Otonashi––"
What I was about to say with the determination of leaping into the dark, Otonashi-san guessed in advance.
And she is still uninterested and not looking at me.
When she sees that I am speechless and shocked from the bottom of my heart, Otonashi-san lets out a sigh.
She turns to me reluctantly.
"Hoshino, have you still not understood? How much time do you think I've spent together with the idiot
you are? This is just another pattern that I've already repeated so often that I'm tired of it. There's no way I
wouldn't see through it, is there?"
I've made such a strong determination countless times already?
Why did it turn out meaningless all these times?
"Incidentally, I'll tell you this as well. Even if your basic values shaped your determination of making me an
enemy and then tried to take over your memories each time; in the end you'd revoke this hostility against
me. Dead sure."
After all that would mean that I'd come to terms with her killing Mogi-san; that I'd choose to erase my
feelings for Mogi-san.
"You can't believe me? Want me to tell you the reason I've heard countless times from you?"
I bite on my lips.
Otonashi-san considers the conversation as over and turns away.
"These basic values of yours could outlast more than 20,000 repetitions without problem. I'll acknowledge
just that about you."
I raise my face spontaneously.
She's said that she «acknowledges» me just now, right? This Otonashi-san has?
"Wait a moment."
There is one more thing I have to ask no matter what.
Otonashi-san turns only her head to me.
"You've stopped trying to retrieve the 'box' from me, right?"
"Yeah. Didn't I say so?"
"Then... what are you planning to do from now on?"
There is no change in Otonashi-san's expression. She still gazes straight at me without averting her eyes.
I am the one who averts his glance unintentionally upon this extremely straightforward gaze.
In that instant... Otonashi-san walks away without saying anything.
Without having answered my question.
Otonashi-san didn't return to the classroom after this - maybe she went home.
Fifth lesson, Mathematics. I can't understand the formula right away, although I've probably heard it for a
gazillion times already, and instead watch Mogi-san all the time.
Will I really abandon Mogi-san? Will I really break off these feelings for her on my own accord?
No. That isn't possible. It doesn't matter what the me of the past thought.
The current me won't give up on Mogi-san. That's all that matters.
The fifth lesson ends.
I head to Mogi-san immediately afterwards. She notices me and looks back at me with big eyes. My body
stiffens like a stone just by this. My heart loses its usual rhythm.
Just by looking at her. That shows how special the thing I am going to tell her is to me.
An action I would certainly not take in the usual everyday life.
But I can't help it. I can't think of another way to retain my memories.
I can't think of another way but confessing to Mogi-san.
I guess I am making a pretty strange face right now. Mogi-san looks at me wondering and inclines her head.
"Err, there's something I'd like to––"
«Please wait until tomorrow.»
A picture passes through my mind. A voice starts replaying arbitrarily. A sensation so clear and bright, it
hurts as if glass was thrust into my eyes, ears and brain.
My chest is pulsating aggressively as if it were beaten by a hammer.
I don't want to remember. Even though I don't want to remember. Even though I wanted to consider it as
having not happened countless times, it doesn't disappear. Even though I can forget any other important
recollection, only this one I cannot forget.
Yeah, that's right––
A long time ago –– I already confessed to Mogi-san.
"......sorry, it's nothing."
I put some distance between myself and Mogi-san. She raises her eyebrow suspiciously but doesn't
question me any further.
I return to my seat and let my upper body fall prostrate on the desk.
Now that I think about it, it's obvious. After all, I've come to repeat this day for over 20,000 times.
I confess to Mogi-san. But I forget. So I confess again. And forget again. In order to resist the 'Rejecting
Classroom', I've made this confession I didn't even want to do, over and over and over and over again, and
forgot it like that.
And each time I got the answer I didn't want to hear the most.
It's always the same one. It's decidedly always the same answer. Well, there's no way it would change.
Mogi-san can't retain her memories and thus her answer can't change either.
"Please wait until tomorrow."
Truly cruel. Mind you––this tomorrow will never come.
Getting a peerless determination, plucking up the courage I originally wouldn't be able to have, stretching
the nerves to the limit - and still, these honest words of mine disappeared entirely as if they never
happened. And then, just like now, I had to meet her, who had lost those memories of my confession
countless times, again.
...I see. They don't become void.
There hasn't been anything to begin with.
There's nothing in this world from the start. There's no value in anything in a world where everything that
happens becomes void. There's equally no value in beautiful things, in ugly things, precious things, shabby
things, beloved things, hated things.
For that reason there is nothing. Only emptiness.
The elusive emptiness called 'Rejecting Classroom'.
I feel nauseous. I am being forced to breathe in such an environment. While feeling the urge to empty my
lungs of all air, I can't, as I wouldn't be able to continue living in here then. I can't live without breathing.
But if I continue to breathe emptiness, then my body will become empty as well. I'd become as hollow as a
Or––has it been too late for me long ago and I am already empty?
"What's wrong, Kazu-kun? Are you feeling sick?"
When I hear a familiar voice, I raise my face slowly while lying on the desk. Kokone is standing in front of
"That reminds me, you had a nose bleed during P.E., right? That might have been caused by it as well, you
know? If you don't feel well, should we go to the infirmary?"
"There's no need to worry about him, Kiri. I bet the origin is rather the lap he slept on than his nose bleed,"
Says Daiya, who stands near me without me noticing.
"Lap...? ...ah! I see! So that's it! Whaaat, just love-sickness..."
Then she grins and slaps me on the shoulders encouragingly.
"Yo-u! You you! Isn't this a bit saucy, considering it's you? Please do not do something mature like looove."
"Swayed by such a plain seduction - ludicrous."
"N-No! I've always loved––"
I stop midway. That was a verbal slip in various ways. For one, I'd admit my feelings for Mogi-san doing so,
but first of all––
"Ha? You didn't have any special feelings for Mogi until yesterday, did you?"
––it would not be the truth.
As a matter of fact I fell in love with her today. At least from Daiya's and the other's point of view, it was a
sudden awakening on my part. And that's why no one knows of my affection towards her, even though it is
clearly visible from my attitude.
"Hey hey, Daiya, it rather looks like this guy just admitted his unrequited love for Kasumi. Uhihi."
Kokone grins and pokes her elbow at Daiya.
"Yeah. In the best case this might entertain me a bit longer."
"Uhehe... the love of others is fun after all! Mh, Mh. Don't worry. Onee-chan is supporting you! I'll give you
advice and help you! If you get dumped, I'll even console you! But should you succeed, I'll kill you, since I'd
"No worries. When the two of them start going out, I'll steal her from him."
"Uwaa, that sounds funny! The misfortune of others and muddled love triangles! Superb!"
Those two really are cruel, ignoring my sub-par condition.
Well, but fortunately XX is not here. If he were, then he'd tread on the opportunity and lead the
conversation in a way that would end in a––
"Mhh? What's the matter, Kazu-kun?"
"No, just... I was wondering where he is. Is he taking today off?"
"Who are you talking about?"
Daiya asks with a suspicious face. That is odd. I thought Daiya would know who I am talking about when I
speak like that.
"You don't know? Naturally it's––––"
Huh? Wait a sec! I am... I myself am about to say a certain person's name. So why can I not only not
remember the name, but the face as well?
"...Kazu-kun? What's wrong? Who were you talking about?"
I feel sick as if I had swallowed something half-liquid like a slime which makes me want scratch off my gullet.
But I am lucky, still being able to feel that disgust. If I gulped it down completely and excreted it, then XX
No problem. I can remember it. I can remember thanks to the disgust.
The name of my dear friend. The colleague that has pledged to be my ally forever.
...it is only a bit, but I hope. Hope that only I forgot Haruaki for some reason. But I really am an idiot. That
"Oi, Kazu. Who is this 'Haruaki'?"
––could never be fulfilled.
I grit my teeth upon this vexing sensation. Daiya and Kokone frown at my strange behavior.
Those two have forgotten. Although they've known him far longer, being his childhood friends.
The fact that «Haruaki» does not exist here is thrust at me with no mercy, and––
"I'll go home."
––is a fatal wound for me.
I stand up, take my bag, turn my back to them and walk away to leave the classroom.
I can't endure being here any longer.
Why isn't Haruaki here?
I know why. I know it. Haruaki has been 'rejected'.
By whom? That is certain. He was decidedly 'rejected' by the «Protagonist» who caused this 'Rejecting
I got it all wrong. I thought the 'Rejecting Classroom' was to continue the everyday life forever. How foolish.
There is no way it would be like that. Everyday life is called everyday life because it flows continuously. If
you stopped the flow of a river, then mud would gather and paint it black. It's just like that. Sediment has
gathered here as well.
Aah, I see. I guess I've noticed this fact many times already. No matter how much I repeated it, I always
rediscovered this fact. And then I stopped being hostile to Aya Otonashi.
Aya Otonashi will destroy the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
And knowing what I know now, why would I stop her?
The chime rings. Probably most of my classmates have already returned to their seats.
So before leaving the classroom I turn around.
An empty seat. Another empty seat. Another empty seat. And another one over there. Aah... I have
guessed it already, but no one is doubting that unusual amount of empty seats.
I probably could've guessed. But I didn't think about it because I didn't want to admit it.
Aya Otonashi has come to the conclusion that it is impossible to retrieve the 'box' from me.
In the first place, it is easy to end the 'Rejecting Classroom' as soon as you know the culprit. It is in order to
retrieve the 'box' that she's been repeating those 20,000 times.
So... what should she do?
Isn't it obvious?
My limbs fly around as I am run over by the truck. It seems extremely comical to me to see my familiar right
leg lying far away from me. Somehow I am laughing.
"So it ends here..."
I get «killed». I let myself get killed.
"27,753 meaningless recurrences. So this time ends in completely wasted effort? I have to... I have to admit
that even I am tired now."
To be exact, I'm not dead yet. But lying in my own pool of blood, I know. I will die. There is no rescue for me.
And indeed I've been killed by her.
"Ugh...! I've spent this outrageous amount of time and what I get is this. I've never hated my own inability
more than now...!"
She murmurs so in bitter regret.
"...let's move on. Since I couldn't find the 'box' here, I just have to seek the next one."
Aya Otonashi's eyes aren't perceiving me anymore. No, surely those eyes have never perceived me in the
From start to finish Aya Otonashi has just been looking at the 'box' inside me.
Will this also be declared «void»? No, it won't. If the 'box' called 'The Rejecting Classroom' is inside my body,
then it gets smashed along with my death. And like my flesh was smashed by the truck, this 'box' is already
smashed as well.
It won't repeat anymore.
Aah, what irony. If this is the only way to end the 'Rejecting Classroom', then death is the only thing that's
been decided from the start. Well, naturally it's empty. This world was surely––the world after my death.
But with this, our fight comes to an end.
It was a one-sided fight with no surprises, but it has come to an end here.
Yeah... that's what you're convinced of. Right, Otonashi-san?
You're pitiful. I feel so from the bottom of my heart, Otonashi-san!
I guess it's because you disregard me all the time. If not, you wouldn't have made such a misunderstanding.
That's why this meaningless time has continued.
Listen, Otonashi-san. It would've been simple enough if you had thought about it. There's no way that a
usual person like me could be the «Protagonist».
I want to tell her, but that isn't possible anymore. I can't even move my mouth.
My consciousness fades away. I die.
And then––nothing ends.
I am inside a scene I can't remember outside of my dreams.
I have accepted the 'box' from him.
"Please be at ease! Usually there are risks to such things, but there are none to this. Neither will you lose
anything precious, nor will your soul be drained out. You know, it's not the special characteristic of the
tool that adds such negative components, but the nature of the human using it. If you use it correctly,
your wish will come true as is."
If you use it correctly––
But is that condition really that simple to meet? I don't know. I don't know, but even if there is such a
risk, it's still an extraordinary condition. Just like a certain win at the lottery. There sure is the possibility
to destroy one's life with the big cash. But usually you don't consider that risk, right?
So please tell me how there can be a person who wouldn't accept this 'box'.
"––What's the meaning of this?"
Because here's one who passes it back.
"Are you restraining yourself? Can you not believe my words? Or––do you fear me?"
Each applies, of course.
But that's not my reason. I simply don't need such a thing.
You see, my wish is that this everyday life continues. I have this already without using that 'box'.
Like a man that owns a trillion Yen doesn't strive for a million Yen. Of course I'm aware of its value. But
still, I don't need to accept such a thing from a mysterious human.
Right. I rejected the 'box' indeed.
Even if I did wish for this recurrence so that my everyday life could continue, there's no way I'd be the
*rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp*––
What is this sound, I wonder? It's an extremely low sound I almost fail to notice if I don't perk
up my ears. But it's a sound I mustn't overhear, that is coming from inside me.
*rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp*––
There's a tiny, little rasp applied to me. Where? ––well, the sound comes from within me, so
it's shaving off my inside of course.
*rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp*
Even though the sound is very low, to me it sounds extremely loud, so I reflexively cover my
ears. But doing so just lets me hear it better. Aah, naturally. Of course I can hear the sound
from within me even better when I block the sound from the outside. So I am not even able to
cover my ears. I'll never ever be able to escape from the sound of myself being abraded.
And it hurts. As expected, getting abraded hurts. I bet it feels like this when one's heart turns
into a blowfish. A continuous prickling pain. Are these feelings of guilt? And I was sure that
was the first feeling I've lost. It must have been more stubborn than I thought.
*rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp* *rasp*
I'm getting abraded.
Aah, my insides will lose their shape and crumble to small pieces, like wood shavings, if it
goes on like this. Mhhm, no. It's already––too late. I'm just small pieces already.
In these 20,000 recurrences, I stopped being myself. I'm aware of this fact. I couldn't endure
this boredom and lost my heart. I can't even communicate properly with others anymore.
This world is rejecting me.
Well, of course. This isn't the place I belong from the start. I've thrust myself into it forcefully.
The everyone else's classroom is always rejecting me.
I know how I can attain ease.
But I won't do such a thing.
That is because––my wish hasn't been granted yet.
...huh? But I have already crumbled to small pieces. So why can I retain only this wish like
this? Is this even possible? My wish was abraded together with my heart. As proof––
––I can't remember this wish.
I laugh unintentionally. Right, I can't remember. Ahaha, I can't remember. What was my wish
again? Come on, let me remember! Ahaha stop kidding me! Why did I endure these
recurrences which are nothing but torture? I can only laugh. Though I can only laugh... aah, I
have forgotten how to truly laugh already long ago, and so I raise my laughter
So––I could as well just end it.
An extremely simple conclusion. I wonder why I couldn't think of such a thing?
I just have to kill him. Right, I just have to kill him. I just have to kill Kazuki Hoshino. After all,
he's the origin of this agony. If I can attain ease by doing so, then I just have to kill him
But somewhere I know.
This «tenacity» of mine that was once called my «wish» won't grant me an end.
My body rapidly became cold and then empty, but although that means I myself should have become
empty, I open my eyes as always. Unable to endure that coldness that should have passed already, I
embrace myself on the bed and tremble.
I was killed.
On March 2 of some loop.
Right, even if I get killed, the 'Rejecting Classroom' continues without change. Gaining this awareness, I feel
almost as though I'm really becoming empty. The coldness doesn't seem to fade anytime soon.
I can't stand being here too long and thus go to school early without eating a proper breakfast.
Outside is the familiar cloudy sky. Tomorrow it's going to rain. I wonder when I've last seen the sun?
Nobody is in the classroom. Well, that's only natural since I'm an hour early.
A question suddenly occurs to me. Why did I go to the classroom so stubbornly? I've noticed the recurrence
of the 'Rejecting Classroom' many times already. Even now. So can't I just not go to school to resist this
No... I go! Yeah, I go. If I'm healthy, I go to school. To me, this is my everyday life . Definitely something I
wouldn't even dream of changing. An action I wouldn't change at any cost; maintaining my everyday life.
My one and only belief.
Ah, I see. That might be the reason I'm still here. I don't understand the logic behind it at all, but that's what
Even if I end up alone in this classroom.
I move to the center of the classroom. I climb on someone's desk with my shoes still on. In my mind I try to
apologize, but when I try to recall whose desk I'm standing on, I can remember neither the name nor the
face. Still, I really do feel sorry.
I look around. It's not like I expected something to change by standing on a desk, but there is no one in the
There is no one in the classroom.
There is no one in the classroom.
"......mh, I'm kinda cold."
I embrace myself.
With a sound the door opens. The person outside spots me standing on the desk right away and frowns.
"...what are you doing there, Kazu?"
Daiya gives me an uncomfortable glance.
Just by noticing that my face relaxes.
"......aah, really, I'm relieved."
I murmur so and climb down from the desk. Daiya is watching me in the meantime, his frown unchanged.
"You know, seeing you really calms me down, Daiya."
"After all, you sure are the real Daiya."
"...hey Kazu. Right now, for the first time in ages, I'm feeling dread of a human."
"But you know, even if you're the real Daiya, this world is still a fake everyday life. I can't share anything
with you. The next Daiya won't know the current me. It's like I'm the only one outside of the TV. I just one-
sidedly get to know you. So can I really claim that you're here?"
That's why there is no one here.
No, that's not correct.
There is just one other.
There is just one other person that can share memories with me. There is a person that can't get away as
long I don't omit retaining my memories.
Aah, I see. There have been only the two of us in this 'Rejecting Classroom' all the time. Not being able to
break out and not even trying to, within this small, small space the size of the classroom, we've been beside
each other all the time. But I didn't have the leisure to notice because she's been perceiving me as an
I sit on my own seat.
She sits on the seat beside mine.
...I can't believe it. Just by imagining her sitting there, I've calmed down a bit. Even though she was the one
that killed me.
Is it because of this?
Because? What is, because? I don't understand the meaning of this. I can't grasp my own feelings. But my
body warmth dropps even more. Rapidly. No, worse. My body has already been cold to the core, but now it
reaches absolute zero, freezes, therefore aches, and then stiffens completely.
"I am Aya Otonashi. Pleased to meet you."
The «Transfer Student» acts almost like a real transfer student and smiles lightly, seeming a bit abashed.
"......what on earth?"
I can't understand the meaning of this.
No, to be honest, I understand.
«––It's not like I'm unaffected; Really, it can affect me just as well. If I surrendered and abandoned
remembering, I'd get captured by the 'Rejecting Classroom' right away. I would continue to live
meaninglessly in this endless recurrence. That's about as easy as spilling a cup of water that's put on top of
––a voice I've heard once, replayed in my head.
I look at her standing at the platform. I verify her features, come to the conclusion that it has to be her, but
I can't believe it.
She is––Aya Otonashi?
That's impossible. After all there is no way she'd give up.
Yeah, even if she recognized that the person she has been chasing for more than 20,000 'School Transfers'
wasn't the culprit and everything she has done so far became meaningless; there is be no way she'd give up.
There is no way! There is no way she would ever give up!
That just –– wouldn't suit her.
The number of our classmates has shrunk by half because they were 'rejected'. Regardless, everyone is
throwing questions at her. She answers them concisely and simply, but properly. She doesn't reject them
coldly as she has before.
Almost like a real transfer student.
This scene should not be possible. Hence, it is a fake happening. A Lie. Everyone is just a lie. Everything is a
lie. Then... is Aya Otonashi a lie as well?
"I won't permit this!"
Even if everyone else permits it, I won't.
I won't let Aya Otonashi become a fake.
"...what is the matter, Hoshino?"
Kokubo-sensei asks for some reason. Only then I notice I've stood up all of a sudden.
I sneak a peek at Mogi-san. The glances of my classmates are focused on me, and so is hers. But as
expected, I am unable to guess what she is thinking behind her expressionless face.
She surely wouldn't give me an answer if I asked what she thinks of what I'm doing at that moment. We
have spent a long time together in this classroom. Despite that, our relation has come to a standstill.
The next day needs to arrive for our relation to move beyond merely being classmates.
Right, Mogi-san is not there.
There is no one here.
That's why... it's enough already.
I abandon all my classmates who will forget my strange behavior anyway.
I look only at Otonashi-san. I walk towards the platform she's standing on.
The action I am going to take is as unnatural for me as the attempted confession to Mogi-san.
I stand in front of Otonashi-san.
Otonashi-san doesn't show any signs of unrest and takes a long, evaluating look at me. I get extremely
irritated by her expression which looks like she sees me for the first time.
"Hey, what's wrong, Hoshino?"
Kokubo-sensei's voice is calm, but I can recognize unrest in it. My classmates also ask similar things.
I ignore all of them and kneel in front of Otonashi-san. I lower my head and hold out my hand to her.
"What are you doing?"
Otonashi-san asks. In a polite tone she would never use for me.
"I have come to meet thee."
In that case I'll do so, too!
"...what are you saying?"
"I have come to meet thee, milady Maria. I am Hathaway, the one that pledged to protect only thee, even if
it means to betray everyone else and make them my enemies."
The noise of the surrounding people disappears in an amusing way. Yeah, that's right. In order to take
Otonashi-san back, the first step is to make her realize that these people do not exist. The current state
should be very easy to comprehend.
Without raising my face I wait for Aya Otonashi to take my hand. I wait still for her to lay her hand on mine
to start the dance.
But it didn't work out.
Otonashi-san didn't take my hand.
Instead I collapse to the side, producing a dull sound.
Since I had my head lowered, I don't know what kind of attack it was. But lying on the ground I look up at
her and finally understand what's been done to me. She's given me a knee kick from the right.
Aah, yeah. Understandable. Why did I have such a naïve delusion, that she'd reach out her hand?
Without a doubt, if she really is «Aya Otonashi», then there's be no way she'd be as kind to me as to reach
out her hand.
Apparently unable to keep it in anymore, Otonashi-san laughs. Amused from the heart. Probably to an
extent I haven't seen so far during those 20,000 recurrences.
I'm still lying on the ground and my head hurts, but my cheeks relax in relief.
"You've made me wait for quite a while, haven't you, my beloved Hathaway? I'm amazed you dared making
a frail lady like me, who can barely lift more than a spoon, wait. I never thought you'd leave me alone for
27,753 times on the battlefield!"
Otonashi-san leans over me and holds out her hand.
She grabs my hand and pulls me up forcefully.
Yeah, that's it.
That's how Aya Otonashi is supposed to be.
"...but thanks to that you've become quite tough."
Taken by surprise Otonashi opens her eyes wide. Then she faintly smiles again.
"You on the other hand have become quite skillful with words, Hathaway."
With those words Otonashi-san pulls me out of the classroom, never letting go of my wrist.
Ignoring homeroom. Ignoring the teacher. Ignoring the students. Ignoring everything. We leave the
classroom, ignoring everything I have abandoned.
After dragging me out of the classroom, Otonashi told me to sit on the rear seat of a large motorcycle and
had me wear a helmet. I was quite frightened of the speed I had never experienced before and asked her in
a quivering voice whether she had a license while feeling her surprisingly slender waist. (Well, one can tell
how slender it is just by looking, but somehow I seem to unconsciously demand reliability from her.) She
bluntly answered my question with "There's no way I'd have one".
"I had too much spare time between the 'School Transfers', so I acquired this skill. I use my time
resourcefully, don't you think?"
I have to admit her driving skill doesn't seem half bad.
When I ask her whether she has acquired some other skills, she answers with "Of course". Driving cars is
within what I expected, but apart from that she's also learned martial arts, sports, languages, various
musical instruments, and so on. Generally speaking, she's tried out about everything she could under the
conditions of the recurrences of this 'Rejecting Classroom'. But Otonashi-san, who'd apparently be able to
get almost full points in the National Central Test for University Admissions, proclaims "Well, I knew most
of that stuff already before the 'School Transfers'.".
Her basic specs might be high from the start, but that also showed just how much time she has spent in
those 27,754 times. I can't calculate it exactly, but converted to days that would result in about 76 years.
About the lifespan of a human. When I think about it again, it occurs to me just what an incredible time
span that is.
"Say, Otonashi-san. You're of the same age as me, right?"
Probably because of those thoughts, I become curious about her actual age.
"...no, I'm not."
"Eh? Then how old?"
"That doesn't matter, does it?"
Otonashi-san answers, slightly ill-humored. Is that perhaps something she doesn't want to be asked? Well, I
heard it was impolite to ask girls for their age... in other words she is of an age where that applies?
Thinking about it, there's no way that there'd be a such mature student in the same school year. She only
chose to be a classmate because the position was handy for slipping into the 'Rejecting Classroom'. Perhaps
she is already at an age where it counts as Cosplay to wear a uniform?
"Hoshino, if you have rude thoughts, I'll throw you off."
Without even looking at me because she's driving. Sharp!
"By the way, you learned how to drive a motorcycle during the 'School Transfers', right? In that case, this
bike isn't yours, right? Whose is it? Your father's?"
I am not versed in motorcycles, but this one doesn't look like it was built for girls.
"Don't you think it's careless to leave a bike alone in front of the house with the keys left in the lock?"
Well, I think so, too, but, wait, what? So that means...
"Also the chain lock was poorly-built and could be easily cut up with some tools. It's always the same every
time I 'transfer'. Well, naturally."
Let's not ask in-depth. I don't know anything. Yeah, I have no clue.
"But say. If you lose your memories, then this driving skill, the other skills and the knowledge you acquired
will be lost as well, right?"
That would be a real shame.
Otonashi-san doesn't answer me.
She still doesn't answer. Could it be––
"Do you also think it'd be a shame?"
Could it be that she didn't absorb this much knowledge and skills just to kill time? Even someone like
Otonashi-san would regret losing all those acquired abilities. Thus she didn't want to lose her memories.
That's what I think.
In order to produce this «regrettable» feeling, she went on acquiring skills.
Which reminds me––
Although a bit late, I start wondering.
––why did Otonashi-san act like she had lost all her memories?
In the end she leads me to the most expensive-looking hotel in the vicinity, which is, while not being top
class, obviously not affordable for a regular high school student. Otonashi-san checks in accustomedly,
turns down the hotel boy that offers to lead us, and starts advancing determinedly.
When we arrive at the room, Otonashi-san immediately sits down on the sofa.
I sit down on the bed while suppressing the uneasiness of being in a high class hotel. ...actually it would be
quite a stunning situation to be alone with a girl in a hotel. But with Otonashi-san being the other party, I
surprisingly don't feel that strange tension, since being with her seems just too unreal.
"Still, you sure are rich, Otonashi-san. Well, you indeed seem that way."
"Whether I'm wealthy or not has nothing to do with it. The money will return anyway when I am
"...true, now that you mention it. So that means, I'd be able to buy up all Umaibōs in the convenience store.
"That doesn't matter now. We didn't come here to discuss such trifling matters, did we?"
"R-Right. What do you want to discuss specifically?"
"What actions we'll take from now on. After all, I lost my direction when you turned out not to be the
"I'm so sorry."
"Cut the sarcasm."
I didn't add any.
"But then, well, wouldn't it be best to just find the real culprit? Don't get me wrong; I know it's not that
simple, but wouldn't it work out better now that you've lost this preoccupation against me?"
"...Hoshino. I have experienced 27,754 'School Transfers'. Are you aware of that?"
"...what do you mean?"
"I've told you a bit of this last time, haven't I? However much I mistook you for the culprit, it's not like I
didn't doubt the other people. I also tried to come into contact with the other suspects with a mindset of
not knowing the culprit yet. ...of course I was probably negligent to a certain extent, since I mistook you for
"But you didn't find any other possible culprit except me?"
"Yes. Realize that this is the 27,754th time. This means the 'owner' of the 'box' is a person who didn't give
himself away for such a time span."
"Err, couldn't it be that he noticed you because you acted too boldly?"
"Even if he was cautious of me, it would be impossible. We're talking about the amount of time of 27,754
times, you know? Or do you say that the 'owner' has the fortitude and wit to continue hiding his true colors
for just so long? Well, but it's also true that I could not find him. Jeez... the 'owner' can only be someone
who enters this classroom, and yet, why can't I find him?"
"...wait a sec. What do you mean by saying the owner could only be someone who enters this classroom?
So the 'owner' has to be one of our classmates?"
Which reminds me that Otonashi-san mentioned that there aren't many suspects last time.
"No. The teachers and the students of the other classes that come to our 1-6 classroom each time are
suspects, too. The range of this 'Rejecting Classroom' is, as the name implies, only the classroom of class 1-
6. Only the people that entered the classroom 1-6 during March 2nd and March 3rd are involved in this
......? But I left the classroom and saw various other people, actually.
"Your face tells me that you don't understand. Hoshino. In the first place, do you believe it's really possible
to turn back the time?"
What does she mean? If I say 'no,' then the basic concept of all this won't hold true, will it?
"...but isn't that what the 'box' makes possible?"
"I guess so. It sure would be possible with the 'box'. But I'm asking for your opinion. Can you fully believe in
the power of this thing to turn back time? Do you think such a phenomenon is even possible?"
I have no clue what Otonashi-san is trying to say.
Thus I just answer her question honestly without pondering about her intention.
"––once something has happened, it can't be undone."
Even I have thought «If only I could turn back the time» countless times already. But assuming there was a
time machine, surely I would still not be able to believe in time traveling. I probably wouldn't even believe
it even if I actually traveled back to the past until I gained thorough proof that that was the past. And
possibly, I wouldn't believe it even then.
I don't know whether that is the correct answer, but Otonashi-san nods with a "Mhm".
"Your sentiment is normal. And apparently, the creator of this 'Rejecting Classroom' also thinks like you."
"...what do you mean?"
"The 'box' makes the inserted thought come true completely. Through and through. Flawlessly. In other
words––even the doubts about traveling back in time will come true along with it. You understand what
this means, right?"
Wanting to turn back time, but not believing in it. That lack of faith would probably warp the shape of the
wish. I get it.
"But weren't you actually sent back to the past?"
"Hoshino. Did I refer to this phenomenon as «being sent back to the past» even once?"
There is no way I'd know since I have lost most of my memories of her.
"Let's put it plainly: If the'Rejecting Classroom' was born out of the wish of turning back the time, then it's
poorly made. No, rather it's defective."
"Why did you experience over 20,000 recurrences, then?"
"Isn't exactly this the proof that it's defective? If time were turned back perfectly, then there would be no
way my memories would kindly be excluded from this phenomenon. And, in the first place, if these
recurrences were so perfect, how could I slip in as a «Transfer Student»?"
She gives me a side-glance.
"Because it's you, I bet you thought something simple like 'For Otonashi, everything is possible,' and
stopped thinking there."
I can't object because she's spot-on.
"To put it simply, all I did was getting into the 'box'. For example, it wasn't of my own will that I was made a
«transfer student». It's a position given to me by the role-division of the culprit. The stage of the 'Rejecting
Classroom' is the classroom 1-6, so I guess it was the most natural way to explain me suddenly slipping in;
since I'm of the same generation as you. The culprit's feeling of balance preserved the consistency."
I have no clue what Otonashi-san is saying. Why is it necessary to keep some consistency?
"Why do you have such a complete lack of comprehension... anyway, to explain it simply –– let's assume
the 'Rejecting Classroom' is a movie the culprit is directing. The filming has ended so only the editing is left
to be done. But due to the circumstances of the company, there's a new actor that has to appear in the
movie. There's no cast left anymore. But it's unreasonable to not give him a role and instead just showing
this additional actor standing still on the screen. That wouldn't be a movie anymore. So instead he decides
to modify the script to the lowest degree in order to give him a role. That's what I mean by 'preserving the
"In other words he couldn't do anything against you slipping in and had to somehow integrate you. So he
was forced to make you a sudden «transfer student» and preserved the school life of March 2nd like this?"
"Yes. And that alone should make you feel that something's wrong with this 'Rejecting Classroom'. It's too
bothersome to explain each and every thing so I'll go straight to the conclusion. This is not «reality». Nor is
it a recurrence. It's merely a separated small «space». It's just a clumsy 'wish' that holds true as long the
culprit himself continues to mistake this as a loop of time."
"Err... so that's why the recurrences were imperfect?"
"Exactly. The culprit, who doesn't believe it's possible to turn back time, merely doesn't allow it to proceed.
He's just rejecting it. The 'owner' just needs to keep deceiving himself."
"This imperfection is the reason why we can retain our memories?"
"I guess so. The reasons why we can retain our memories may differ, but it's undoubtedly a gap in the
But there is something I still can't understand.
"But in the end, who are you, Otonashi-san?"
Otonashi-san frowns openly. Maybe it is a question she wanted to avoid.
"Ah, no... you don't have to tell me if you don't want to..."
However, she opens her mouth, still frowning.
"There's no cool name for my position. I'm just a student. ... is what I'd like to say, but this applied only until
about one year ago... My standpoint, huh? I have never named it, but right, there's probably only one way
to express it. I am––"
Otonashi-san, seeming very displeased, spits out her next words.
"––a 'box' itself."
"A 'box' itself? What do you mean?"
When I ask back like a parrot because I don't understand, Otonashi-san frowns even more.
"There will be hindrances if I explain the details to you. Thus I can't tell you."
I am a bit discontented. And this is apparently reflected in my expression, so Otonashi-san continues after
looking at me.
"But I'll tell you just this. I have once obtained and used a 'box'."
"And my wish is still being granted."
Otonashi-san is holding a 'box'?
"You're curious about my reason for seeking the 'box' anyway, aren't you? Very well, I'll you let you know.
My 'wish' surely was granted. But at the same time, I lost everything."
"My family, friends, classmates, relatives, teachers, neighbors - I lost everyone intimate to me because of
my 'wish'. Everyone related to me isn't... here anymore."
I am speechless.
"This isn't... some kind of metaphor, but literal?"
"Yes. I can't stand to leave it all lost like that. That's why I'm taking action."
She has lost everything. She has nothing to lose anymore. That might be why Otonashi-san can be so
reckless and fearless in a sense.
Anyway, to wish for such a situation, heck, what kind of 'wish' did she insert into the 'box'?
"Isn't it possible to destroy the 'box'? Wouldn't the wish get ineffective that way?"
Otonashi-san says with a strongly admonishing tone upon my reflexive doubt.
"The 'box' is granting my wish. Do you get it? Don't make me say more about it."
Right. There's no way Otonashi-san didn't think of this natural doubt herself. In other words, it is like this:
The 'box' had certainly taken everything away from her. But even so––Otonashi-san doesn't want to make
that 'wish' ineffective.
When I keep silent, Otonashi-san takes the lead again.
"My 'wish' and the 'wish' of the 'owner' of the 'Rejecting Classroom' can't coexist. The 'box' is made like
that. Hence they repelled each other when I slipped in and the interference against me was reduced. But
only «reduced». Put another way, I can't avoid the effect of the 'Rejecting Classroom', either. Even I don't
know how much I'm affected. If I gave in, I'd also be captured within the 'Rejecting Classroom'... as I already
told you long ago, huh?"
If that's the case, what does the 'owner' think of Otonashi-san? At least, he is not likely to perceive her as
"You should have finally understood the situation to a degree now, so I'll return to our topic. I guess it's not
possible anymore to retrieve the 'Rejecting Classroom' and use it. This 'box' is already used up by the
'owner', so it's alright to just end the 'Rejecting Classroom'."
"So how can we do that?"
"By tearing out the 'box' from the 'owner'. Alternatively, by destroying it together with the 'owner'. That's
about it. Another possibility would be... to find him, the distributor of the 'box', since he might be able to
do something. But he shouldn't be inside the 'box', so that doesn't seem like an option."
The distributor of the 'box'?
I am about to ask her about him –– and stop.
I don't remember about this "*" I should have met already, and I don't want to, either.
"......so nothing will happen as long we don't find the culprit, right?"
"Oh? Nothing will happen, you say, huh? So you just implicitly complained to me that our conversation up
to now was completely meaningless, nonconstructive and a waste of time, right? You've got some nerve."
"N-No! That was just a confirmation..."
"Hmph, so there are prospects that you can solve this problem even I couldn't solve, with your knowledge
and wit? I'm sure you didn't say so without an idea in your mind, right?"
I winced. There was no way I'd have one.
"If I knew how, then there would be no way I wouldn't find him. But, right... unlike the other ones, the
'owner's death won't be forgiven inside the 'Rejecting Classroom'. For example, I died countless times
inside this 'Rejecting Classroom' but I'm here now and I haven't lost my 'box'."
"But the 'owner' is different?"
"Yeah, exactly. The 'owner' and the 'box' are connected. The instant the 'owner' dies, the 'Rejecting
Classroom' will be destroyed. That should be certain since I could confirm it in another similar case. The
'box' will break the moment the 'owner' dies, at the same time the characteristics of the 'Rejecting
Classroom' will be annihilated, and the concept of death will be restored."
"So he'll stay dead like this...?"
"So I can say I'm not the culprit. Also, naturally, you're not the culprit either."
So Mogi-san can't be the culprit as well. I mean, Mogi-san met with this accident already.
"Say, some of our classmates have disappeared, right? Has this nothing to do with death?"
"...I can't tell for sure, but there shouldn't be any relation. I still don't know the purpose behind this, but
probably it's another characteristic of the 'Rejecting Classroom'."
I suddenly notice. A simple way to determine the culprit.
At the same time, the blood vanishes from my head. What am I thinking? This is just too despicable. But,
Aya Otonashi. She could do it.
I mustn't tell her. But why doesn't Otonashi-san notice this method? There's no way she wouldn't notice.
But she didn't execute it. This means? What does that mean––?
My body jumps up when she calls me.
"What are you thinking? You surely didn't think of a way to find the 'owner'––"
My body jumps again.
"––so you did think of one, Hoshino?"
"Hiding it is futile. How much time do you think I have spent together with you? I have been chasing you
longer than anyone in this world. Unwillingly, but still..."
I am aware of that. Anyone would notice that I am trying to hide something.
But there is no way I can tell her that easily.
"Hoshino. Even you should be aware that I'm not a very patient person."
She isn't one to fall for a random lie. Even if I try to evade her question, I'll surely blurt out the method in
Otonashi-san seizes me by the collar. Ah, painful. She's serious. Well, of course she is. After all, she's
endured more than 20,000 recurrences just to obtain the 'box'.
"Tell me!! Tell me this method!!"
I will surely regret it if I tell her. But can I really keep quiet in such a situation?
"...you just need to kill all our classmates."
Thus I tell her.
It is simple. If you can exclude every person that has died at least once from the suspects, then you only
need to do that. You just need to kill them. It is kind of simple and devilish.
But people who die here will revive.
There is nothing to worry about. I couldn't ever do such a division, but I'm sure Otonashi-san is thinking that
After all she did produce corpses in order to retain her memories.
But did this really not come to her mind? Why didn't she think of not only using that method to retain her
memories, but also to trace the culprit? And assuming she did think of it, why didn't she execute that
effective method when she just needed to repeat it for only about 40 times?
She doesn't answer.
She doesn't show any reaction.
I slowly look at her face.
Otonashi-san is still holding me by the collar and stares at me, unblinking.
"That is ––"
Otonashi-san quietly removes her hand from my collar.
"That is –– not a method."
"That would be something like scientific tests on a living person. Of course it's the best way to use humans
if you want to know how many humans get influenced. But that act shouldn't even be considered as a
method from the start."
Otonashi-san spits out these words in a low voice without looking away.
"You want to know why? That goes without saying. Because such an act is inhuman. The moment someone
does such a thing, he isn't human anymore. ...yeah, I certainly am a 'box' itself. Is it because of that? Is that
why you ––"
Unmistakable anger is dwelling in Otonashi-san's eyes.
"–– aren't considering me as a human!?"
Aah, certainly, if she did perceive my words like that, then this anger is understandable. I realize that I was
But I can't comprehend.
"But you killed people to retain your memories, haven't you?"
"......what are you saying?"
Otonashi-san is apparently unable to endure my words and shoots me a sharp glance.
"...a-as I said, you produced events that remain in your impression in order to retain your memories, didn't
"Stop insulting me already––!! Didn't I explain it to you just now?! I can only resist because I am a 'box'!"
Aah, right. That she retains her memories by producing corpses was just Daiya's unfounded theory.
But even so, I can't comprehend.
"What's with that face? If you have something to say, then spit it out already!!"
Otonashi-san seizes me by the collar again.
At this straight scowl of her, I scowl back.
Yeah... I haven't prepared myself. I didn't really consider what it means to scowl back at her, which is a very
uncommon act for me.
I am completely under her control. And just because I am aware of that, I am resisting her in this way.
But I say something that breaks things between us.
"Then why did you kill me?!!"
And then the words between us are lost.
Those words irrevocably broke our relationship.
Otonashi-san erased all words or expressions towards me. Completely. With such an Otonashi-san standing
before me, I could naturally not do anything and, in the end, had no choice but to leave the hotel.
I loiter around the hotel but that was nothing but reluctance. I just waste my time aimlessly. I give the
'borrowed' bike we came riding on a side-glance and walk away. I go to the convenience store. I buy tea in a
PET bottle. I drink it bit by bit. It become empty. I notice that I can almost not remember what I have drunk.
This might be the end.
Unlike Otonashi-san, I am not certain whether I can retain these memories. If she doesn't consider me
necessary, I might forget everything and before I know it, I'd get spit out of the 'Rejecting Classroom'. Then
I'd vanish from here like a certain someone.
There is no sound on the path. And there are no street lights, nor are there colors.
It is almost as if the one who made all this didn't get around to do all details.
I put the empty bottle against my mouth. I feel like being swallowed if I don't act like I am drinking.
Swallowed by what? I don't know.
At once, the music of my favorite artist resounds on the silent road. What? ...aah, I see. That's my
phone. ...my phone? So someone's calling me? Right. Right! I can't remember having told her. I can't
remember having told Otonashi-san my phone number, but in some world I might have!
I take out the mobile phone from the pocket of my uniform.
The name «Kokone Kirino» is displayed on the LCD screen.
I look up to the sky. As if things could go this conveniently! I know it. But it can't be helped to have some
I put my breath in order and accept the call.
«Ah, hello... Kazu-kun.»
I don't feel the usual aspiration from her voice, though that might be just me. Or has Kokone always been
like this on the phone? We might be intimate, but I've almost never phoned with her before.
I have a hunch that I already know this conversation.
Ah, no, I surely know it. I just can't recall it right now.
«Can you come by for a bit? I'll tell you where to meet.»
What was it again? How did this continue again?
«There's something I have to tell you, Kazu-kun.»
I surely love Umaibōs, but in fact I don't like the Teriyaki Burger flavored ones so much.
I am at the deserted park in front of her house. We are facing each other in front of the water fountain
while I am chewing on the Umaibō I got from her.
"...how is it?"
"......mh, err, it's not a flavor I don't like, but well..."
"...I'm not really asking about... the Umaibō."
I know that much. But, I mean, how should I react?
"...so, will you go out with me?"
I don't have enough experience with such things to keep calm.
But the classmate before my eyes should be just about as flustered as me. At least I have never seen her
like this before.
Maybe it's because of the new mascara she has told me about this morning, but her eyes look even bigger
to me than usual. And those eyes are looking straight at me. ...there's no way I can hold such a gaze.
I don't know what to say, but I can't just keep silent, so I open my mouth.
"So... you love me?"
The face before my eyes blushes crimson.
I unintentionally ask back.
"......I-It's pretty mean to ask such a question, you know? You know my answer, right? ...O-Or do you want
me to say it?"
I finally notice how insensitive I was and drop my head in shame.
I reflexively apologize. She looks at me with upturned eyes and murmurs.
"......I love you."
Then she pulls herself up and says straight to my face.
"...I love you."
I can't help but avert my eyes because her face stuns me with its cute appearance. My heart is definitely
swaying - just by her show of affection.
I think she looks cute.
Her personality is bright, too, and there are always people around her.
I also know that a lot of guys have confessed to her just to end up being turned down.
It would be fun to go out with her, for sure.
But I answer her like this. So clearly I am almost surprised myself.
I know what I am doing is a waste. But I just can't imagine us going out. It doesn't feel realistic.
Her expectation vanishes from her eyes and is replaces by tears instead. Although I know that this is my
responsibility, I can't look directly at her.
I can't say anything. Because I'm sure I could only say 'sorry' if I started to speak.
"......you hesitated quite a bit, didn't you?"
I nod to her murmur.
"...say... you like Umaibōs, right?"
Words without context. I nod to them as well.
"But you don't like Teriyaki Burger flavor that much?"
"Which flavor do you like best?"
"Err... Corn Potage, I guess?"
I have no clue why she is asking this, but answer awkwardly.
"I see. U-huh, U-huh..."
She nods repeatedly.
"Ahaha... I failed, then."
These trivial remarks of hers. I don't know why, but for some reason those words strike me. It's like
watching a poorly edited video.
"Let's say the approach of my confession had been different. Would you possibly have accepted, then?"
She says so with while looking up to me.
I don't know. After all I'm wavering this much. No, that's not true - I know.
I would turn her down for certain.
It's evident that I would give her the same answer over and over, unless either the conditions or I myself
As long it's today, I cannot imagine myself going out with her. Therefore, as long it's today, there's no way I
would accept her confession.
"Your face tells me that you don't know."
I can't reply anything.
But she takes this as a 'yes' and finally smiles sweetly.
"Aah, okay. So I just need to continue confessing until I succeed, right?"
That may be a good idea. This way I can take at least a little responsibility for rejecting her feelings.
But still –– it has to be after today, you know?
I am surely just worn out after the complete breakdown of my relationship with Otonashi-san and the
sudden call from Kokone. ...which is only an excuse, though.
I had entirely forgotten.
That an accident would happen at the intersection for certain.
I myself am safe. I reflexively remembered when I came near the intersection due to the immense shock I
suffered from dying once. So self-protection is no problem.
But that's not satisfactory at all. After all, that means someone else is going to get run over by this
I had forgotten it. And because of that, I was too late to save that person. Even though I knew that
someone would get run over, I didn't stop it. 'Because I had forgotten it' doesn't even count as excuse.
I'm horrible. It's just the same as if I killed that person.
Kasumi Mogi is there.
The girl I love is there.
The truck is driving towards her at breakneck speed as always.
I am unable to save her from my current position. No matter how reckless I jump out, I won't be able to
save her from this distance.
She is going to get stained in blood. The girl I love is going to get stained in blood. The girl I love is going to
get stained in blood because of me. The girl I love keeps getting stained in blood, over and over, with my
responsibility, over and over, because I keep overlooking it, over and over.
I run towards the truck. In order to save Mogi-san? No. Certainly not. I just can't endure my feelings of guilt
and thus want to act like I did something. It's merely self-satisfaction.
Horrible. Just how horrible am I?
Then I see it.
The girl that was past all hope gets thrust away.
It wasn't me.
I am too far away to ever reach her in time.
Consequently, there is only one person who could have done it.
Only the girl that continued fighting even when I abandoned my memories and acted like I didn't know her.
Even though she wouldn't make it in time. In time to save herself.
But yet, she ––
–– Aya Otonashi jumped out.
Ah, right. I remember.
I've already witnessed the exactly same scene countless times.
For her, it will all repeat anyway. Even the fact that she saved someone will disappear. What remains is only
the memory of the pain she suffered until death. The fear of the encountering death. The despair that
emerges from knowing that she will have to go through the same thing again.
And yet, Aya Otonashi jumped in the front of the truck. In order to save someone else from getting run
Over and over. Many thousand times.
Why did I only forget that?
The loud sound of a crash resounds, but the truck does not stop its course and smashes the wall down with
a roaring sound. I approach Otonashi-san while still getting overwhelmed by this noise. Next to her, Mogi-
san is lying stiffened in the same posture like when she was thrust away. Apparently she's suffered a shock.
I look at Otonashi-san.
Her left leg is bent in an abnormal direction.
She is full of cold sweat, but speaks with resolution almost as if she weren't hurt at all.
"Last time, I killed you."
Although speaking should be painful for her, she says so clearly.
"I thought everything would end by killing the 'owner'. I didn't want to. But at that time I believed that this
was the only way to get out of the 'Rejecting Classroom'. I accepted becoming a being below human. I don't
want to admit it, but I didn't mind at that time. I thought that the 'me', that became a being below human,
would also get reset and disappear after getting out of the 'Rejecting Classroom'."
I finally understand why Otonashi-san acted like she forgot everything at the beginning of this time.
She couldn't forgive herself.
For approving of my death when I met with the accident.
So much that she was about to abandon getting out of the 'Rejecting Classroom' and obtaining the 'box' she
is so tenacious about.
«Then why did you kill me?!!»
So much she wasn't able to object against those words.
Just how cruel have I been?
And they weren't even true at all.
Last time, I jumped out to save Mogi-san and died due to the accident. I thought this was Otonashi-san's
fault, just like I always thought Mogi-san's death was Otonashi-san's fault.
Because of this prejudice I blurted out something like «You killed me». I should have noticed this
misunderstanding the moment she denied murder. In truth, she was merely unable to save me.
For some reason, this accident occurs always. Someone gets run over for certain. It's just that it
coincidentally was me that time.
"Mph, I can only laugh about my own stupidity. Guilt doesn't just disappear by forgetting it. And really, the
'Rejecting Classroom' did not end and I now have to cope with myself, having become a being below human.
I can't think of any situation where the word 'retribution' would apply better."
As she says this, Otonashi-san coughs up blood.
"Otonashi-san, you don't have to speak if it hurts..."
"Will there be another chance to talk? I've already become used to this pain. This is nothing. It's just
momentary pain, so it's much better than feeling pain chronically due to some disease."
One doesn't call that «accustomed»!
"I didn't lose my memories, nor did I get out of the 'Rejecting Classroom'. Fufu... I probably knew it. That I
wouldn't be released from the 'Rejecting Classroom'."
"It's simple. I know: My tenacity won't release me that easily."
Otonashi-san stands up totteringly. Even though she could stay lying down, but I guess she can't stand me
looking down to her.
Her left leg doesn't function at all. Otonashi-san coughs violently and bloody. But she then stands upright
using the block-wall as support and looks at me.
Probably because Otonashi-san moved, Mogi-san, who has been petrified expressionlessly, starts to move
as well. She then timidly looks at me.
"Are you alright, Mogi-san?"
She suddenly screams up.
"W-What have you been talking about... just now...? Mmhm, not just now, since yesterday... what are you
...what? Who are you looking at with those eyes? Who are you looking at with those scared eyes?
...I know. I am the one her glance is directed at.
Somehow I am unable to leave her alone and unconsciously reach out for her cheeks.
"D-Don't touch me!"
Aah...you're right. What am I doing? Why am I reaching out for her mistakenly, although I'm the one that
scares her? Or did I even think it would calm her down? Did I even think I'd be able make her calm
down? ...there's no way I'd be able to.
"...what... are you...?"
I clench my fist. I can't explain anything to her. Thus, I have no choice but to endure her stare.
I'd love to explain the entire situation right now. Maybe she would even understand me.
But––I mustn't do so.
After all I have to fight. I have to fight against the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
And for that sake I have to refuse the fake everyday life produced by the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
I came to that determination when I took Otonashi-san's hand, back then. I refuse it. That Mogi-san smiled
upon my words someday, that she blushed in front of me, that she let me sleep on her lap –– I refuse all of
Mogi-san gives up trying to understand me when I keep silent, and stands up, still scared.
She steps backwards with tottering legs while looking at us as if praying that we won't come chasing after
her. Then, she escapes.
I gaze after her.
And make sure I don't avert my gaze.
Because this is supposed to be the outcome I desire.
"–––I grasp how determined you are."
Otonashi-san says so, still leaning against the wall, after watching us.
"Therefore, I came to a determination as well. I shall give up my goal of trying to obtain the 'box'."
This troubles me. This definitely troubles me. I need Otonashi-san power. Without thinking it through any
further, I open my mouth to stop her.
Just as I do so...
"––Therefore, I shall lend you a hand."
I didn't expect that.
Lend me a hand? Aya Otonashi-san will lend me a hand?
"Why are you gawking like a gibbering idiot? I just said that I'll lend you a hand. Could you not hear me?"
But this is as impossible as the sun going up in the west and going down in the east.
"I lost my way. Just like you criticized, I became a being below human by killing you. No, even worse. I am a
coward that abandoned her own goal and tried to run away because I didn't want to admit it. To say it
plainly, I gave in to the 'Rejecting Classroom' once. And I continued to run away while telling myself that
there's nothing more to do for someone like me who's merely a defeated 'box'."
Although she is abasing herself, the glint in her eyes is still sharp. I am a bit relieved.
"But there's no reason to waver. I certainly did something to be ashamed of. But there's no reason to dwarf
just because of that. Nothing will start from regretting. Therefore I won't run away anymore. So––"
She shuts her mouth once, hesitating to finish her sentence.
But since I am almost scowling at her, she restates.
"So please––forgive me."
Aah, I see. That's what she meant.
This weird speech was supposed to be an apology to me.
This entreaty is completely meaningless.
"I can't forgive you."
Otonashi-san looks surprised for an instant upon my clear words, but then returns to her serious face right
"I see... getting killed is certainly not something you can forgive. I understand."
"That's not it."
Otonashi-san frowns, failing to comprehend my words.
"What I mean is...I don't know what to forgive anyway."
Right. It's not like I won't forgive her. I just can't forgive her. Because there is nothing that needs to be
forgiven to begin with.
"...Hoshino, what are you saying? I..."
"You killed me?"
"What's this nonsense?"
I smile spontaneously.
"I am here!"
Right. This is a certain fact.
"I am here, Otonashi-san."
However much responsibility she may feel, it's nothing that cannot be undone.
I don't understand why she's feeling such strong responsibility anyway. She is not the creator of the
'Rejecting Classroom' after all. Otonashi-san just got involved in it––
––no, that's not correct.
Otonashi-san isn't just a victim. She is a ruler who grasped our personalities and read through all of our
behavior patterns. She knows how the ripples in the water will expand by throwing the stone at a certain
place. She is a ruler of at least the same degree as the creator of the 'Rejecting Classroom' himself.
But because of this power, she feels responsible for the things that happen. Because she thinks that things
could be prevented if she acts correctly.
Therefore, since she couldn't, and didn't, prevent someone's death, she feels like the killer herself.
But Otonashi-san said it herself. Death within the 'Rejecting Classroom' is just show.
"I really don't mind. But if you insist on it, how about using a certain appropriate word?"
Otonashi-san doesn't move for a while and keeps frowning. When I think she's finally going to move again,
she looks downward.
Her shoulders tremble. Eh? What? What does that mean? I get nervous and sneak a peek of her.
––she's laughing! On top of that it's an explosive laughter!!
"H-Hey! Why do you laugh there? Sorry, but I don't get it!!"
Otonashi-san continues laughing out loud for a while, my protests not reaching her.
Geez... what's this about? I am actually confident that I have said something 'cool', but it seems my words
are just a laughing matter in the end...
Otonashi-san finally stops laughing, returns to her usual gallant expression and speaks to me with pursed
"I have experienced 27754 'school transfers'."
"...I know that well."
"I was convinced that I had grasped your behavior pattern completely by now. But I couldn't predict your
statement just now at all. Can you imagine how amusing this is for someone who got used to boredom?"
She says, looking delighted. I can still not grasp her real intention and incline my head.
"Hoshino. You're truly amusing. You're a human I've never seen before. At first glance you look like an
ordinary person with no values, but actually there's no one who is more attached to everyday life than you.
For exactly this reason you're able to clearly distinguish this fake everyday life from the real one. Even
better than me."
Better than Otonashi-san?
"That's not true. I can't distinguish it clearly at all. After all, my heart hurts when the accident happens,
even though I know it's going to be undone..."
"Of course. That has nothing to do with distinction. For example, when you watch a movie or read a book,
you also feel discomfort when the characters experience bad times, don't you? It's the same here."
Is it really like that? I wonder.
It's so sudden, I don't get what she's apologizing for. Before I know it, the delight has disappeared from her
"Really, I'm ashamed of my own incapability. I'm sorry."
I only feel uncomfortable when a person that stands obviously above me earnestly apologizes to me like
this. I falter as if I were criticized by her. I have to admit I'm pathetic.
"That was just a simple apology, but you're okay with that, right? I only have to keep understanding you,
grasping you and directing you. This is what you desire from me, right?"
"Apologizing, huh? Surely a necessity, but it seems to me that I haven't done it in years."
...I'm sure she really hasn't.
"Well then, it's time."
"For the end of the 27,754th 'School Transfer'. And the beginning of the 27,755th 'School Transfer'."
"Aah, I see."
I accept this queer fact surprisingly calmly.
When I looked around, naturally people have already gathered because of the big accident. Many among
them are wearing very familiar uniforms. Kokone is there as well and watches us. We have been talking
with each other while ignoring all of them. Well, I guess I can understand why Mogi-san was scared. A
blood-stained Otonashi-san and me having a chat is most certainly strange.
I offer my hand to Otonashi-san.
She takes this hand, which someone else has refused, without hesitation.
My heart gets crushed by an overwhelming power like being squashed by a vise. The sky starts to close like
a coin purse. Despite being closed, the world turns white. White. White. The ground becomes instable and
tastes sugary for some reason - not on the tongue, but on the skin. That sensation doesn't feel bad, and yet
it feels disgusting. Finally I understand that this marks the end of the 27,754th time.
We are inside soft, sweet and pure white despair.
I didn't notice that 'Love changes the world' isn't just a metaphor until I was sixteen.
Haven't you thought that life is too long with all those repetitions of habits several times as well? I'm
sure the number of times I've thought about dying quite seriously couldn't be expressed using both of
my hands, and not even by using my feet as well.
I was horribly bored.
But I did not put this into words and behaved cheerful as always. After all, it won't do you any good if
you show such an attitude open for everyone. Therefore I endeavored to be on good terms with
everyone. Which isn't all that difficult. If you don't think deeply about strong and weak points or likes
and dislikes, you can get along with everyone.
Quite a number of people gathered around me and they all said the same to me.
"You're always so cheerful. You sure have no worries, right?"
Ah, yes. Thank you so much everyone for being deceived so honestly. Thank you so much for not
recognizing my dark side until now. Thanks to that I've come to want to throw it all away.
I probably know the point in time this boredom began.
Each and every one is just too self-centered.
When I exchanged mail addresses with some boy and replied to his messages regularly, he got excited
on his own and confessed to me. When I tried to not leave out a boy that wasn't well received by the
girls, he mistook it for affection and confessed to me. When I was invited by someone to the theater
and accepted since it was hard to turn down, he confessed to me. When I went home together with
someone several times because we lived in the same direction, he confessed to me.
And then they all made faces as if I betrayed them, they got hurt selfishly and resented me. I was also
resented by the girls who loved those boys. Selfishly. Self-centered. It hurt me every time, I became
full of scars, and when I didn't even recognize the new scars when being hurt anymore, I finally noticed.
I would only need to associate with each and every one halfheartedly in my spare time. I would only
need to sense the mood and continue having shallow talks. I would not show them what's inside me. I
would only need to close like a shell in order to protect my soft inside.
And then I became bored.
No one noticed even when I only showed them my surface.
They all said the same to me.
"You're always so cheerful. You sure have no worries, right?"
What a great success.
You should all just disappear.
It was at an ordinary day after school. I was smiling as always while talking comically with the
strangers around me that pretended to be friends. Then, all of a sudden, without any special impetus.
Nevertheless, it struck me. This concept suddenly obtained a shape and made me think of a certain
Aah, I was completely –– alone.
Alone. I see, so I was alone. Despite being surrounded by everyone, I was alone. I felt strangely
pleasant. This word fit just too well.
But this word promptly sharpened its fangs and attacked me. It was the first time I learned that pain
comes together with such utter solitude. My chest hurt, I couldn't breathe. And even when I was finally
able to take a breath, it felt like needles were inside the air. Pain ran through my lungs. My sight turned
black for a moment and I thought that my life could just as well end now. But my sight returned right
away and life didn't end as easily as that. Therefore, I didn't know what to do. I don't know. Help me.
Everyone, help me.
Someone took notice of my change and addressed me.
"You look very happy smiling like this."
I touched my cheeks because I didn't understand his words.
Certainly, my cheeks were raised.
"Really, you're always so cheerful. You sure have no worries, right?"
I laughed out. "Yeah, I'm happy!" I laughed. I laughed without even knowing why.
At that moment, the color of the surrounding people gradually turned transparent. One by one they
turned transparent. Turned transparent and disappeared, so I couldn't see them anymore. Some
voices addressed me, but I couldn't hear them. But for some reason I still replied properly. I don't get
Before I knew it, the classroom was empty. Only I was left.
But I'm sure I was the one who made it like that.
I rejected them.
"I have an appointment, so I'll go now."
Although I couldn't see anyone, I said so with a smile and took my bag. My relationship with the others
probably could have been established even if I didn't address anyone in specific. I should have spoken
to the wall from the start if that's what it's like.
And yet, why?
"...excuse me, are you alright?"
Although there should have no one been there, I could hear those words clearly for some reason. I had
just left the school gate when I was brought back in an instant and the invisibles changed back as well.
A boy from my class was standing there out of breath when I turned around. As it seems, he ran after
His name was certainly Kazuki Hoshino. We weren't intimate, nor did he have any special
characteristics - I knew no more than his name.
"What do you mean?"
While I asked so, I noticed that a strange expectation enveloped me.
After all, he wouldn't ask whether I'm «alright», if he hasn't noticed my abnormality. Meaning he might
have been able to sense my change, what wasn't even possible for the people that were near to me.
"Err... how should I put it? You looked very «distant»... or not, I'm not sure, but it seemed like you
weren't inside the everyday life..."
He said with difficulty. He didn't get to the point at all.
"Err... don't mind if it was just me. Sorry for saying strange things."
He seemed to feel awkward and was about to leave.
"...wait a moment."
I held him back. He inclined his head slightly and looked at me.
I might have stopped him, but what should I say now?
But hey––he was able to describe me as «distant», although I was smiling while being in this lonesome
"...do I always look cheerful?"
If he answered this like the others, then he'd be just the same.
Ah, I had giant expectations. I had giant expectations that he would deny it and understand me.
"Yeah. Well, ...you do look so."
He said hesitantly.
Upon hearing those words, I became disenchanted with him, lost my interest and hated him. I was
surprised by that pendulum-like sudden turn of my feelings, but my expectations had probably been
But then, he, whom I hated, added those words.
"You're really trying hard, aren't you?"
My feelings shook like a pendulum once more and my hatred was inverted all over. My face couldn't
follow that change - only my heart felt strangely warm.
Trying hard. Trying hard to look cheerful.
That's correct. Much more correct than denying it.
And so I –– fell in love.
I'm properly aware of it. It's just a convenient assumption. Just that he said «You're really trying hard,
aren't you?» doesn't mean he understands all of me. I'm aware of that. But even so - this assumption
of mine doesn't leave my mind anymore.
First, I thought this feeling would be just temporary. But it soon grew to a point where it couldn't be
undone. My feelings for him were being piled up, like snow that doesn't melt away until it covers my
heart entirely. Despite being aware that he might become my everything if it went on like that, it didn't
feel bad for some reason.
After all Kazuki Hoshino rescued me from that lonesome classroom and dispelled my boredom.
If he vanished from my heart, I was sure I'd return there.
I'd return to that lonesome classroom where I was all alone.
My world changed so easily. That I had been bored seemed like a lie. It is as if my feelings have been
plugged into a powerful amplifier. I get happy just by greeting him. At the same time, I get sad that I
am only able to greet him. I get happy by talking with him. I get sad that I can only talk a bit with him.
My heart that's obviously out of order feels complicated and good.
Yeah! I'll get on good terms with you without fail!
First, I'd like to start calling each other by our first names.
"Do you have a wish?"
He seems to exist everywhere, but does not exist anywhere. He seems to resemble everyone, but he
doesn't resemble anyone. Someone of whom I can't tell whether he is male or female speaks to me.
Of course I have one.
"This is a 'box' that grants any wish."
I accept it with my blood-stained hands.
I immediately understand this is the real thing. Therefore, I am determined to not let go of this 'box'.
It's the same for everyone, isn't it? I don't believe there's anyone who would pass it back.
So I wish.
While knowing it's impossible, I wish.
"––I don't want to, regret."
"Come on, isn't there something different about me today? Isn't there?"
Kokone comes asking with her usual face. She's asked me the same question sometime in the past already.
What's the right answer again?
"...you've applied mascara."
"Ooh! Thumbs up, Kazu-kun!"
Seems like I was right.
"...so, how is it?"
"Yeah, looks cute."
I say without hesitation. Once again the correct answer. I wasn't too serious about it, but Kokone is satisfied
just by hearing the word 'cute' and nods, smiling.
"Mhm, mhm. I see, you have great prospects. Hey, you lad there with that twisted personality! You ought
to follow his example."
She folds her arms contentedly and turns her head to Daiya.
"I'd rather bite off that tongue than saying that."
"Ah, that would be a relief for the entire world. Please go ahead."
"No, I'm talking about your tongue."
"Haha! So you desire an intense deep kiss with me? Please don't get carried away too much by your
fascination for me~"
With no hunch of the situation I am in, the both of them start insulting each other at high speed - like
Shortly after, Daiya brought up the matter of the transfer student.
Please come soon, Otonashi-san.
"I'm Aya Otonashi. I have no interest in anyone but Kazuki Hoshino and the 'owner'."
The classroom becomes noisy at the same moment.
Umm, Otonashi-san? You're a transfer student, so sure, you can put some distance between yourself and
your classmates on the first day. But I've been in this class for almost a year, so it doesn't work like this for
me, you know?
"What does she mean by 'owner'? Who's the possession? Does she mean 'the person possessed by
"Isn't that simply «girlfriend», then?"
"Which means that Kazuki-kun has a «girlfriend» and the transfer student Otonashi-san is searching for
"I guess there was something between him and Otonashi-san. Maybe they're going out... so he's two-
"Exactly! That's it without fail! That way seems funnier, so let's go with that!"
"So while having complex feelings of love and hate for Hoshino, she's chased after him and transferred to
our school. I'm sure."
"Which means Hoshino has... seduced such a beauty?! Damn it!!"
Our classmates carry the subject on as they please, ignoring us, the concerned. Where the heck do those
ideas come from?
"So, Hoshino actually... only toyed with me..."
"What?! You were the other one?!"
"No... I was probably just an extra... the third, no, there must have been more."
Kokone pretends to be crying while Daiya takes the opportunity and raises his voice in a way he usually
wouldn't. Geez, those two sure cooperate only at such times.
"Because of you they got interested in me all the more instead of being put off."
Err... is that my fault?
Right after the first lesson, Otonashi-san and I rush out of the classroom. While some of my classmates
naturally cheer me on, I also sense the thirst for blood in the glances of some guys, but there's no time to
care about such things.
We arrive at our usual spot - the back of the school building.
We won't participate in the lessons anymore.
"I see. Working with you means to automatically get dragged into your relation network. Jeez... that's
No, I'm pretty sure the problem's how you talked to them.
"But it's the first time in those 27,755 times that I experienced demerit in rejecting them. This is truly
"Umm, I don't know if you should find this amusing..."
"Don't be like that. Even to me new experiences are more or less exciting. Also, things changed this much
just because we started operating together. That's a welcome change."
"What do you mean?"
"There may be a new clue which I haven't seen when I was alone."
Looking at it like this, it's surely worth it to cooperate, but well...
No, she may surprisingly right. After all, she doesn't know how our class 1-6 was before today. She can't
compare today with previous days. For example, she doesn't know that my love for Mogi-san evolved
between today and yesterday - in other words during the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
"But what should we do now, concretely?"
"...about that, Kazuki. I brooded over it and arrived at the conclusion that you may still be the key for the
"Eh? So you're still suspecting me?"
"That's not it. Let me ask you: why can you retain your memories?"
"Eh... who knows?"
"It's a mystery, isn't it? Sure, I can sense certain differences between you and other humans. But isn't it still
strange that you're the only one who can retain his memories?"
"Well... of course."
"Thus, I assume that this fact may be included in the goal the 'owner'."
"You're dull as always. In other words, it might also be in the interests of the 'owner' that you keep your
It's a goal of the 'Rejecting Classroom' that I keep my memories?
"That's not possible. It's not like I retain my memories for sure, you know? If it wasn't for you, I probably
would have kept losing my memories like the others."
"Indeed, you can say that's the flaw in my hypothesis. However, it's also possible that your memory
retention is flawed just like the recreation of the past by the 'Rejecting Classroom'. That contradiction
would support my hypothesis, since the past cannot be redone anymore if you retain your memories."
That might indeed be possible. But for some reason it doesn't make sense to me.
"In the first place, what meaning is there in letting me retain my memories?"
"How should I know?"
...she answers bluntly.
"But I know what feeling moves people the most."
Otonashi-san looks deep in my eyes and speaks.
Due to the scary face she makes, I can't grasp the meaning right away. Aah, love?
"Otonashi-san, that was quite cute of you."
Otonashi-san looks at me with cold eyes.
"What is? Such deep-rooted love doesn't differ from hatred in any way."
"The same as hatred?" I'm taken aback. "...t-they're completely different!"
"They're the same. ...No, they are certainly different. Love's a worse feeling than hatred because people
themselves aren't aware of its dirtiness. It's just repulsive."
"That doesn't matter now. Kazuki, is there nothing that comes to mind?"
"You mean someone who's in love with me, right? No way, there––"
I am about to deny when I suddenly recall.
There is one.
If she wasn't joking when she called me out by phone –– there is one.
"Looks like you can think of someone."
"What is it?"
"...err, well. The girl that's in love with me doesn't necessarily have to be the culprit, right?"
"Of course not. That alone is far from enough to conclude whether that person is the culprit or not. That is,
however, no reason to not investigate this matter."
"No... well... there's no way she could be the culprit."
"What makes you so sure that she isn't the 'owner'?"
I simply don't want her to be the culprit. I'm aware of that.
"We have unlimited chances as long we're in the 'Rejecting Classroom'. We will take every possibility to
come closer to the 'owner'."
"...but so far you haven't been successful with that method, have you?"
"You're quite offensive today, huh? But it's as you say. However, we have the new clue that your memory
retention is another goal. I have never investigated with that in mind. We might be able to obtain new
information I wasn't able to obtain before."
"Don't you want to clear our doubts all the more because it's someone you trust?"
Right. It's just as she says.
Somewhere in my heart I'm doubting that person, thus, I don't want to investigate.
"......I got it. I'll help you."
"You shouldn't just help me but rather take the lead, though."
She's right. I am the one who wants to slip out of the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
...Still... something has been extremely bothering me for a while. Something feels off.
"Well then, let's go."
"W-Wait a sec!"
"Why are you wavering! I'm rather near to the end of my patience, you know!"
What is it that bothers m–– ah, I see.
When I recognize the origin of this strange feeling, my ears become hot.
"Mh? What's wrong, Kazuki? You're face is all red."
"Ah, no, it's just, you're––"
Why did she change her way of calling me from «Hoshino» to «Kazuki»?
"What? What are you talking about? ...Hey, why is your face reddening even more?"
"...S-Sorry. Never mind."
When did she start calling me by the first name? Not even my parents address me like that.
I guess my face is turning redder even now.
"...? You're weird. Anyhow, let's go."
«Otonashi-san» turns her back to me and starts walking.
Should I use another name than «Otonashi-san» as well? If I followed her example, I would have to call
...Nonono!! I can't I can't That's out of question!!
Make that «Aya-san» at least... no, that's still too hard. But «Otonashi-san» is too reserved. It should be a
name that's a easy to say and a bit more casual.
One came to mind. It's quite embarrassing to say, too, but since I've used that name several times already,
it should work.
When I murmur this name in a low voice, «Otonashi-san» stops and turns around. Her eyes are wide open.
I apologize reflexively as I see her unexpected sharp reaction.
"...Why are you apologizing? You just surprised me a little."
"...So you're not angry?"
"Why should I be angry? Call me as you like."
"I, I see..."
Otonashi-sa... no, 'Maria's' mouth relaxes.
"But still, of all things you chose Maria... Heh."
"Ah, well... if you don't like it..."
"I don't mind. I just affirmed something again."
"Err... what did you affirm?"
For some reason, Maria smiles gently.
"That you, Kazuki, are an amusing fellow."
I've returned to the classroom and now I'm rummaging through the belongings of the girl that seems to be
fond of me.
Of course I'm not doing it because I want to, and I also feel extremely immoral for doing this.
They have gym class at the moment. For that reason, Maria judged that we should better use this chance to
look for a hint in her belongings instead of directly talking to her.
Since I've been silently thinking the same by myself, I obeyed her while having these feelings of immorality.
By the way, it only has meaning if I'm the one doing it. Maria has already searched through everyone's
belongings several times. Judging from the current state of things, she hasn't found anything. Which is fair
enough. Maria can't notice anything that has changed from earlier since she's only known us for today.
She has made clean markings in various colors in her text books. Her notes are neatly written with small
well-formed letters. And also here, she has used lots of colors. At the left edge is a drawing of a cat. And so
is one on the next page at the same spot. The same on the next page... then I notice. This is meant to be a
flip book. When I try flipping through it, the cat flies away on a rocket that it has built with a tin can. I smirk
spontaneously before I get stopped by Maria scowling at me.
All in all, there are a lot of girlish things. The colors are generally pink or white. Her iPod is filled with J-POP.
Her wallet isn't here, so she's probably carrying it around with her.
I find a neatly decorated mobile phone. A treasure chest of personal information.
I've had some expectations for a clue, but the mobile phone is locked so I can't look into it. ...But in a sense,
I'm relieved that I won't have to.
I try looking into the make-up pouch next to the pink hand mirror. This should be the foundation, this is the
color lipstick, this is the eyeliner to draw eyebrows, these are the scissors to trim the eyebrows, and finally
something that seems to be quite new... mascara, I guess.
"Did you find anything, Kazuki?"
"......I don't know, yet..."
I rummage through the contents of the make-up pouch. There's nothing special in there, I think.
"Maria, does something catch your eye in this make-up pouch?"
"No? I've searched through it already before, but I didn't find anything special––"
She starts speaking but then her face freezes.
"––wait, that can't be. She shouldn't have that. There's no way I didn't notice during these 27,755 times.
But... in fact,––"
"Eh? Did you find anything?"
"...Kazuki. You should have felt something else, looking at this."
"...eh? ...mhh, well, I thought that using make-up does surprisingly not seem like her."
Maria contorts her face bitterly.
I go on searching the bag for further clues. Inside it, I discover a familiar touch. I take it out.
They get pulled out.
When I see the familiar wrapping, my memories resurface.
«Let's say the approach of my confession had been different. Would you possibly have accepted, then?»
«Aah, okay. So I just need to continue confessing until I succeed, right?»
I won't believe such nonsense.
This is just a coincidence. It has to be a mere coincidence, but the memories that surface in my mind are
way too offbeat for being made up by me––
"––Maria, what's your favorite dish?"
"...What's with that, all of a sudden?" Maria looks at me and frowns. "...Hey, what's wrong Kazuki? You
don't look well!"
"...You know, mine is Umaibō."
I reveal the object I've taken out of the bag just now.
An Umaibō package.
"I especially like Pork Cottage flavor. But I haven't told anyone because no one cares. I often eat them in
the classroom, but regarding the types, I'm quite unfaithful so to speak, and eat different flavors all the
time. No one should know that I like Pork Cottage flavor the most!"
«But you don't like Teriyaki Burger flavor that much?»
«Which flavor do you like best?»
I pray it's just a mistake of mine and look at the snack again.
No matter how often I look at it, it stays the same.
It's not Teriyaki Burger flavor. It's an Umaibō with Pork Cottage flavor.
The resurfaced memories tell me.
Even if it's just coincidence that she has an Umaibō with pork cottage flavor in her bag - the images of my
pulled-out memories tell me undeniably.
That she is –– the 'owner'.
Maria grasps my shoulders powerfully. Her nails eat into my shoulders and bring me back to reality.
"She is the 'owner' for sure. We've finally arrived at our goal... well, not quite."
When Maria bitterly spits out these words, I ask, "What do you mean?".
"Someone who makes such a stupid mistake could never deceive me for 27,755 'School Transfers'."
"But Maria, you have to admit that you didn't know who the 'owner' was, right?"
"That's not true. I probably arrived at her several times already. But I couldn't keep the memories that she's
"Eh? Why not?"
"I can't say for sure, but I guess that's another rule of the 'Rejecting Classroom'. It would make sense. The
'Rejecting Classroom' works as long the 'owner' herself believes that she's inside an unchanging loop. But if
someone knew that she's the 'owner', this prerequisite would crumble down. Hence, as soon someone
discovers that she's the 'owner', that memory gets erased."
"...But we know who's the 'owner' this time."
"Sure enough. But that's not something to rejoice about by any means."
Maria speaks vexedly.
"If we don't do something about it this time, we're going to lose this clue again."
I see. If we lose now, we will forget everything we found out this time and begin our search for the culprit
Maria bites on her lips, annoyed. Having only one chance might be very irritating to someone like her who
has gotten used to being able to redo things.
"...But Maria, life's a contest decided by a single round, isn't it? No matter how small the matter is, there's
no reset button to return to the last save point."
I'm pretty fond of that line myself, but Maria looks at me with cold eyes.
"What's this misdirected encouragement supposed to achieve?"
She even sighs.
"S-Sorry... you looked a little irritated."
Upon hearing my apology, Maria relaxes a tiny bit.
"Yeah, I sure am. But not because our situation is not favorable."
"Don't you get it? Although I found out several times that she's the 'owner', the 'Rejecting Classroom' has
not ended yet. Do you get what that means?"
I tilt my head.
I don't know if it's against me, the culprit or herself, but Maria then spits those words out in irritation:
"I've lost to the 'owner' many times already."
"Oh, the man of love, Kazuki Hoshino in person has arrived!"
Kokone teases me jokingly as always.
It's lunch break at the moment. In the end, we didn't participate in this morning's classes and got teased by
the others because of that. But thanks to Maria's complete silence, they gave up on that very quickly. The
curious glances of our classmates were still focused on us, though. Well, nothing to be surprised about.
"Listen, Kokone. To tell you the truth––"
I stop myself. Because Kokone has changed her soft face to a serious one and caught me by the sleeves.
After taking a peek at Maria, Kokone leads me out of the classroom.
"Kazu-kun, please don't evade my question and give me an honest answer."
Kokone lets go of my sleeve right beside the door and continues.
"What's your relationship with Otonashi-san?"
"...Why do you ask that?"
I ask despite knowing the answer already. Kokone drops her gaze, but can't reply.
"I can't describe my relationship with Maria so simply."
Kokone still keeps quiet, looking at the ground.
"But I love someone other than Otonashi-san."
Kokone widens her eyes when she hears my words and looks at me.
But Kokone doesn't say anything more and moves her eyes. I didn't overlook that.
She peers into the classroom and searches for someone.
Her eyes stop moving.
And they are directed at –– Kasumi Mogi.
As of March 01 I haven't fallen in love with Mogi-san yet. And during this time, the 27,755th time, I haven't
come in contact with her in any way.
"Kokone, to tell you the truth, there's something I'd like you to do. That is––"
"Yeah. You don't have to say it. I think I've understood with our conversation up to now."
Kokone says with a smile.
"Cooking room after school - that okay with you? I'll tell you everything there!"
Why the cooking room? - I wonder for a moment, but right, Kokone is in the home economics club.
"Probably, there'll be no one else there today."
When I nod, she looks at me again. I can't guess the thoughts behind her face.
Maria, who has been watching us from beyond the door, calls me. Probably that's the sign for me to retire.
I tell Kokone, "Later," and am about to turn around.
"Ah, wait a sec!"
Kokone stops me. I stop turning around and look at her again.
"Um, can I ask? Ah, but you don't have to answer of course..."
"What is it?"
"Who is the person you love, Kazu-kun?"
I answer on the spot.
The instant she hears that, Kokone looks down and hides her face. But I didn't overlook her expression
before she could do so.
Kokone was smiling.
Then, after school.
We hear a scream coming from the cooking room and as we enter, we immediately realize that everything
We missed this exceptional chance.
There are, as planned, Kokone Kirino and Kasumi Mogi in the cooking room. No, strictly speaking –– what
has once been Kokone Kirino and Kasumi Mogi is there.
The cooking room is stained in blood.
The culprit is holding a blood-stained kitchen knife.
Even though she has noticed me, her expression stays exactly the same.
I don't get it. Why did she do something like that?
Mogi-san looks at me, blood-stained. Expressionless like always. But I notice that a light flickers in her eyes
that condemns me.
Aah, yeah. Right. I'm most certainly also to blame for this situation.
"Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die,
die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die"
Mogi-san restlessly murmurs something resembling a curse.
I don't want to hear that. I want to just block my ears. But I can't even do that. I lost control over my body
right in the moment I saw Mogi-san's blood-stained body. Her words invade my ears. I desperately try to
not grasp the meaning of those words. But it's futile - the words overwhelm me like an avalanche, they
descend upon me and cover my paralyzed body.
Mogi-san is speaking.
She is speaking these words that condemn me.
"It may be a bit late, but I noticed that I do not need you."
She tilts her head. Maybe it is too sudden for her.
"Actually, I noticed long ago that you are a hindrance, you know? But I did not want to be cruel. After
all, we were «friends», originally."
But, we are not friends anymore.
I guess she still considers me a «friend». Until yesterday, we were so intimate we would listen to each
other's love troubles. But now that I have changed, I cannot think so anymore. Therefore, we are not
That is not just a problem on my side. She cannot possibly doubt me, although I have changed. Even
when I talk to her completely different from the past, she cannot notice.
––«Nobody can disturb my change».
That is the rule of this world.
Let us assume that, in the normal world, I change while the others stay the same. In her case, she
thinks of me as a friend. So if I change, she perceives it as unusual for me. That would already disturb
my free change. It would probably resemble the reaction towards someone who suddenly dyed his hair
blond during summer vacation. My possibilities would get limited when being put in such an
environment where I cannot change freely.
In that case, I would not be able to grant my one and only wish, «spending today with no regrets».
That is why there is this convenient rule.
Right. This world is entirely made to be convenient for me.
And yet... what? I cannot think of what lies ahead of that.
I have the feeling that I must not think about it.
Therefore I omit that thought and bring up another subject.
"Do you not think that 'love' resembles spilling soy sauce on a white dress?"
She does not seem to understand my metaphor and tilts her head.
"Let us say you spilled soy sauce on your white dress, okay? Even when you wipe it up, stains remain.
They stay forever. Thus, you will keep remembering 'Aah, I spilled soy sauce there...' when you see
them. There is no way you can forget since the stains remain there forever."
I open a drawer in the cupboard.
"It makes me sick, you know."
I grasp the kitchen knife in the drawer tightly.
"The fact that it was such a stain that broke me, I mean."
I take out the kitchen knife.
I have used this kitchen knife for the same purpose several times already. This kitchen knife here is the
She turns pale when she sees me grasping a kitchen knife. She asks me, "What are you going to do
with that?" although I bet she can predict it to a certain degree. But she cannot believe that I would
ever do what she is «predicting».
"You want to know what I am going to do with this? Ufufu..."
But you know? I'm sorry. It is probably––
"I will reject you!"
––just what you expected.
I *****ed ****** with a *****.
I try to not comprehend this dark, painful feeling that's about to arise. Even though resistance is futile,
even though I have to comprehend it for my purpose, I try to resist. Because I don't want to sense this
feeling. Because I've acted as if I couldn't comprehend this feeling all the time up to now.
She has collapsed and is spitting out blood.
She must be suffering. How pitiful.
Probably, I failed. I should have ****ed her as painless as possible.
"You know, failing at this can be kinda scary. Boys develop an absurd power when they're desperate.
Even a slender boy is much stronger than I am. Being hit with such strength is very painful. But much
scarier are their eyes when they hit me. They look at me as if I'm trash. Why did I fail again? ...ah,
right. Because I used a cheap knife just because it looked cool. It's pretty hard to kill people with such
a thing, you know? And it's unpleasant at that. Stabbing or cutting people is. It's gross! I could vomit
because of it. I've also cried, asking myself why I have to do such unpleasant things. But you know? In
the end, the same will happen over and over as long as the person in question takes the same actions.
And because of that, my desired future will never come. So what should I do other than erasing that
person? It can't be helped, can it? Isn't that just cruel? Why do I have to do such things?"
She's looking at me with powerless eyes.
"But you know? Maybe I wouldn't even need to stab you like that. In the end, 'Rejecting' is just a
matter of one's mindset. But you know? I didn't find any other way. I couldn't 'reject' anyone with
another method than killing him with my own hands. It's not that easy to 'reject' someone from the
bottom of your heart. I put a burden on my heart. And by creating these feelings of guilt, I force myself
to flee from the person. Thanks to that I can truly think that I don' want to meet the person anymore - I
'reject' them. Nobody can remember that person anymore then, no matter what happens."
She hangs her head, apparently unable to hold it up anymore.
"I know! It's my fault, right? It's all my fault, right? But tell me, what should I do then? ...Sorry. You
have no idea, do you? Aah, why am I even talking so much? I know why. I'm so anxious, so anxious,
so anxious, I can't be quiet. I secretly hope that you might forgive me when I tell you my reasons. But I
know; there's no way you'd forgive me, is there? I'm sorry. Really, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm
sorry for being so selfish. But you know? I'm the one that suffers the most. I'm properly blaming
myself. I know that I'm doing something bad. So, to be honest, I couldn't care less about what you
think of me."
I wonder who I'm talking to?
But I have a gut feeling that it doesn't matter. I've never talked to anyone in specific, anyway. I've
never even considered that collapsed person a «friend».
I'm alone anyway.
And yet, I don't want to admit it.
Even though it makes me all the more aware of just how alone I am, being at such a place, I can't
help but scream:
I wonder when... when have I become able to address him so casually? Although I've gotten his
permission to address him like that so often in these recurrences, he never remembers it.
At this instant the door opens.
The one I've been longing for, Kazuki Hoshino, is here.
Kazu-kun loses his words upon seeing this terrible spectacle. Next to him is that annoying girl, Aya
Otonashi, who's living in my 'box' like a parasite.
"...so you've finally come, Kazu-kun."
I'm amazed at my own words.
Just how stupid am I?
Just how many times did Kazu-kun belie my expectations? Didn't I give up on him several times within
those uncountable number of betrayals?
It's not even a coincidence that he's appeared here. I decided to invite him here, in order to show him
And yet I can't help but expect a miracle from him because he appeared with that timing, just like the
one long ago. I'm starting to expect that he will take me back to the real world.
Although –– there's no way that would happen.
Kazu-kun has his eyes wide open.
"Kazuki. I can guess your feelings. But you should have known."
The redundant girl says something.
"That the 'owner' is –– Kasumi Mogi."
Kazu-kun turns his widened eyes to the collapsed ******.
What was her name again? Oh well. I forgot. I even forgot when I forgot.
You want to know why I did that?
I can't hide my irritation at Kazuki's slowness.
Putting reproach into my eyes, I cry out my thoughts at him.
It's not enough.
It's still not enough.
"Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die,
die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die"
I just don't want to––
Now that she mentions it, Mogi-san hasn't applied makeup right now. Since I obviously don't have any
habits of using makeup, unlike Maria, it was pretty hard for me to notice, though.
But she owns a makeup pouch.
Maria presumes as follows.
––She got tired of using it.
I can't remember anymore, but I suppose Mogi-san originally cared a lot about her looks. However, she
stopped caring because she couldn't find a reason to do so anymore in the 'Rejecting Classroom'. She left
the pouch untouched in her bag since March 01 before the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
2 Actually, Kasumi says "イタイ". This can mean both "痛い" (It hurts) and "居たい" (Want to be). In this case, it
would be natural to assume the former meaning at first. But later she uses the Kanji to make it clear.
Mogi-san became tired of applying makeup as well as of taking it just out of the bag.
Only someone who has the memories of over 20,000 loops would ever become like that.
And the only one who can possibly have those is –– the 'owner'.
Hence, the girl I love, who also loves me, Kasumi Mogi, must be –– the 'owner'.
«There's something I have to tell you, Kazu-kun.»
That's how Kokone called me out during the previous time, the 27,754th time. Then she told me as follows.
«Kasumi loves you!»
Kokone knew of Mogi-san's love for me. I'm sure that Mogi-san consulted her about this matter since they
were good friends until yesterday.
We wanted to lure out Mogi-san.
But if we did so, she would naturally be cautious. If possible, we wanted to give Mogi-san no chance to
prepare herself because Maria has already lost to her numerous times.
Therefore, we decided to use Kokone as a middleman. We concluded that she would lure out Mogi-san for
us if we could make her think that I have the will to confess.
As a consequence of that –– we killed Kokone.
I recall Mogi-san's words.
«...so, will you go out with me?»
How often did she confess to me? For how long has she been in love with me? If the love was mutual, then
«Please wait until tomorrow.»
Why did she say that?
Mogi-san seems to be unaware of the blood all over her and doesn't show any expression.
Has she always been expressionless like that? No, she hasn't. In some fragments of my memory there is the
image of Mogi-san smiling brightly. But that smiling Mogi-san doesn't seem real to me at all. To me, Mogi-
san is an expressionless and reticent girl.
But what if that bright Mogi-san, who doesn't seem real, is the original one?
Where did the girl called Kasumi Mogi go?
"She got dragged in."
As if to answer my question, Maria grumbles those words.
"She got entirely dragged into this endless recurrence."
She declares with her scorning eyes focused on Mogi-san.
There's this thought that already occurred to me previously: The human psyche can't possibly endure such
a giant number of recurrences.
But Mogi-san has experienced the same day for 27,755 times.
And after repeating it so many times, Mogi-san is stained in blood right now.
"...it's your fault, Kazu-kun."
She says so, gazing at me.
"It's all because you cornered me!"
"...Mogi-san, what have I done?"
Mogi-san repeats after me and twists her mouth.
"I told you. I definitely told you. I told you many hundred times, didn't I?"
"W-What are you talking about...?"
"I told you to call me «Kasumi», didn't I...?!"
...I don't know. I don't know of this...
"I said it hundreds of times and you accepted hundreds of times, didn't you? And yet, why? Why do you
always forget it right afterwards?"
"It can't be...helped..."
"Can't be helped?! Tell me, why can't it be helped?!"
Mogi-san shouts hysterically. But her face is still almost expressionless.
Probably, she has forgotten how to change her expression during those thousands of recurrences because
she has lost the reasons to do so. She can't properly laugh, cry or get angry anymore.
"Kazuki, don't listen to her."
Mogi-san releases me from her gaze and scowls at Maria.
"Don't address Kazu-kun so over-familiarly!"
"I can call him however I like."
"You can't! ...Why does Kazu-kun remember you, but not me...?"
"Kasumi, you designed it this way. Because it makes it easier to do things over again."
"Shut up! I didn't mean to do that!"
Come to think of it, in the 27,754th time Mogi-san looked frightened when she saw how I remembered
At the time I was sure that she was terrified by my strange behavior. But now that I know she's the 'owner',
my point of view has changed: In truth, she let her accrued discontent burst out because I remembered
Maria and not her.
I'm not used to being addressed like this by her, either.
Perhaps, she has once asked me if she may call me «Kazu-kun», just like she has asked me to call her
I may have forgotten it, but Mogi-san remembers everything.
"Kazu-kun, you said that you love me."
"...Yeah. I probably did."
"I agreed gladly! I told you that I love you, too!"
I only remember that she said «Please wait until tomorrow». Nothing else. I don't remember anything else.
"You don't remember, huh?"
I can't give her an answer.
"Can you imagine how happy I was? I tried my best all the time during those recurrences in order to make
you look at me. I tampered with my hair, I tried applying mascara, I tried to appeal you, I found out about
your hobbies, I learned about your talking habits... and you know what happened then? A miracle occurred!
Your attitude changed clearly. I realized that you had gotten interest in me. You accepted my confession
which you had been turning down previously. You even confessed to me. Every time you did so, you got my
hopes up. I thought a joyful «continuation» was awaiting me, each time. I thought that this recurrence
might finally stop. But you know what? ...Kazu-kun––"
Mogi-san looks at me expressionlessly.
"––you forgot each time."
I can't bear her gaze and look downwards.
"Even when you forgot, I had high hopes that you would remember next time. Each time you accepted my
confession, each time you confessed to me, you raised my expectations over and over. But in the end you
didn't remember. I soon gave up my hope. But you know, if someone confessed to you, you can't help but
hope! A miracle could happen, after all. And that's why I was hurt each time."
I can't imagine going out with her. But Mogi-san made real what I wasn't able to imagine. She made me fall
in love with her. Perhaps, this is the reason why my memories are vaguely preserved.
But winning me over like that was meaningless in the end.
There's nothing ahead of there.
When she wins me over, it ends right there.
What awaited her was a perfect one-way love.
An absolutely one-sided love that stays unrequited even when she gains my affection.
"Therefore, I didn't want you to confess to me anymore. But you came nevertheless. You still said that you
love me. And although I was so happy, the pain was greater... so I had no other choice but to tell you this
Mogi-san speaks out those words that I have certainly heard many times before.
"'Please wait until tomorrow'."
My heart is wrung.
All this time, she herself was hurt the most by those words - much more than me.
But why doesn't she just end the 'Rejecting Classroom', then? Her one-sided love won't be requited. Even if
it's not her only aim, she definitely suffers like this.
"Kazu-kun... do you get it? It's your fault that I'm suffering. It's all, all, aaall your fault."
"What's with that nonsense you're blurting out there?"
Maria interrupts her with an ill-humored face.
"What an extreme lack of responsibility. You're just forcing the responsibility of your pain upon Kazuki
because you can't endure the agony of your own 'Rejecting Classroom' anymore."
"...No! It's Kazu-kun's fault that I'm suffering!"
"Think whatever you want. But Kazuki doesn't think so. He can't even remember you. Kazuki has only
preserved his memories right now for the sake of his own goal. Not for your rotten heart."
"Why... why would you know that!?"
"Why, you ask?"
Maria straightens up her back and sneers at her.
"The answer is simple."
She answers nonchalantly.
"Because I have watched Kazuki Hoshino more than anyone else in this world."
On hearing these caustic words, Mogi-san loses her train of thoughts.
She tries to utter an objection, but her mouth just opens and closes without forming any words.
I close my mouth for a different reason. I mean, it's embarrassing when someones says such a thing!
"N-No, I've watched him for the same amount––"
"Your time is worth nothing."
Maria denies with an irrational argument.
"Don't you understand how worthless your time is just by looking at what you have achieved? Look at
yourself in the mirror. Look at your hands. Look at your feet."
On Mogi-san's face was solidified blood that was about to turn black.
In Mogi-san's hand was a kitchen knife.
At Mogi-san's feet was Kokone's corpse.
"Please, feel free to object. Insist that you watched Kazuki as long as I did. If you really believe that your
words have any weight."
Mogi-san seems to be stricken and turns her gaze downwards.
I'm not able to say anything to her.
"......heh, fufufu. You have watched Kazu-kun more than anyone in this world? I guess so. Perhaps it's just
as you say. Ufufufu, but it doesn't matter! Why should it?"
She chuckles, her head still turned downwards.
"Hmpf, I pity you. So you broke at last."
"At last...? Ufufu... what are you saying?"
She points her kitchen knife at Maria, still looking downwards.
"Did you think I was still in my right senses in the first place?"
She raises her head.
"Let me teach you a nice fact, Otonashi-san! Everyone that gets killed by me disappears from this world!"
Her face is expressionless as always.
"Thus, it doesn't matter! It doesn't matter how long you have watched Kazu-kun if you're going to
Mogi-san grips the kitchen knife and charges Maria. I reflexively shout Maria's name. But Maria just boredly
gazes at Mogi-san, not seeming concerned in the least. She plainly grabs the arm Mogi-san is holding the
knife with and constrains her just like that.
Their difference in power is clear. So much that I'm embarrassed having called out her name.
"Sorry. But you know, I have learned all major martial arts. Seeing through your straightforward
movements is as easy as twisting the arm of a baby."
The kitchen knife falls out of Mogi-san's hand and makes a sound.
Disarmed, Mogi-san dumbfoundedly gazes at the kitchen knife on the ground.
"...as easy as twisting the arm of a baby...?"
Mogi-san whispers painfully with her glance still directed at the knife.
And yet, even though she's supposed to be in pain, Mogi-san smiles.
"What's so funny?"
"«What's so funny?» she asks! Ufu... haha, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
She laughs with her mouth wide-opened. Her blood-stained face, however, is far from smiling. Despite her
laughter, the corners of her mouth aren't raised. Rather than narrowing her eyes softly, she has opened
Maria wrinkles her forehead, seeing this loud laughter.
"Of course it's funny!! After all, you compared grabbing my arm with twisting the one of a baby! You of all
people! You, Aya Otonashi, did! What a masterpiece! If not a masterpiece, what else is this?!"
"I fail to see what you find so enjoyable."
"Really? Then tell me, could you actually twist the hand of a baby?"
I still can't understand why she has laughed.
But Maria seems to be bereft of speech.
"Oh well, you captured me. Nice for you. Congratulations. So? What was your goal again?"
"I know. I've heard it numerous times, after all. It's to end this repeating world, right? It's to obtain a 'box',
right? So what will you do for it? You just have to kill me in order to end it, right?"
"I know that you have mastered all those martial arts, Aya Otonashi! You told me yourself! Why are you...
why are you acting like you outwitted me? Isn't it ludicrous? Did you think I didn't know that or what? How
embarrassing! It's embarrassing, isn't it? Listen... I've returned to the past just as often as you, you know? I
know very well about you! You disarmed me. You're holding my arm. So what––?"
Mogi-san returns to a serious look and speaks her next words in a low voice.
"What are you going to do to me next?"
Maria does not reply.
"Oh you gentle, gentle Otonashi-san. You, who can't kill me. You, who can't torture me. You, who can't
even break a single bone. Are you able to twist the hand of an oh-so weak baby while being so elegant to
dislike violence? No. You can't. Of course you can't."
I see. So this is the main cause for Maria's losses.
As soon as violence is the only solution, Maria can't do anything. And Mogi-san is aware of that.
"Think about it for once. Don't you think that I have had the chance to kill and 'reject' you all this time? Do
you know why I did not do so, although you clearly were a hindrance? For one, it's convenient that you
rescue me from the accident! But that's not all. I noticed it the first time when you found out that I have
the 'box' and failed to corner me."
Maria clenches her teeth.
"You're not even worth –– being my opponent."
Sometime ago, Daiya told me that the «Protagonist» is inferior to the «Transfer Student» because of their
difference of information.
But his thesis is wrong.
The «ProtagonistK a s u m i M o g i
» has more information than the «Transfer StudentA y a O t o n a s h i
"I've had enough of this pattern."
Mogi-san says in a purposely bored tone.
"...but unlike the other times, Kazuki's here now."
"Well yeah. So, should we try out something new?"
Mogi-san kicks the grip of the kitchen knife. The knife spins loops in the blood and slides to my feet.
"Pick it up, Kazu-kun."
Pick what up? The kitchen knife?
I look down at the kitchen knife again.
The blood on it has increased even more now. It shines deep red.
"Say~, Kazu-kun. Do you love me? If so––"
I raise my face and watch her lips move.
"––I'll kill you. So give me that knife."
I don't understand. I know what her words mean, but I can't understand what she just said to me.
"Did you not hear me? I told you give me that knife so that I can kill you."
She repeats herself. Looks like I didn't mishear her.
"Mogi, have you gone mad?! Don't you love Kazuki?! Why do you request such a thing?!"
"You're right. I love him! But exactly because of that I want him to die. Didn't I say that it's Kazu-kun's fault
that I'm suffering? Therefore, I want him to get out of my sight. Isn't that the logical conclusion?"
Mogi-san says as if it were completely natural.
"To begin with, why do you think I took your bait, although I knew that Kazu-kun would come? Well, I've
got a proper goal! I've made a decision. ––the decision to kill Kazu-kun."
Mogi-san spits out her words with a peek at me.
"I can 'reject' Kazu-kun by killing him. He will get out of my sight. If that happens, I'm sure I won't suffer
anymore. I will be able to stay here forever."
"Mogi, what's with that nonsense––ugh! Ah––"
Maria groans suddenly and kneels down. She's holding her left side.
Something is stabbed into her left side.
Maria looks at what is stabbed into her left side. Clenching her teeth, she pulls out this foreign body
without hesitation. She moans again in pain. Scowling at Mogi-san, she throws away the object she has
I look at the object that's rolling on the floor. It's a folding knife.
"You were off-guard. You may have mastered all kinds of martial arts, but that doesn't make you immune
to surprise attacks. This cheap knife isn't effective against boys at all, but it should be more than enough for
your slender body, right? I'm sorry, but your constitution stays the same in this world no matter how much
you train it!"
Maria tries to stand up, but apparently the place of her wound is bad, so she fails at it. Blood is steadily
leaking out from her left flank.
"I've been through a lot as well, you know. So I thought it might be better to have this with me. I'm always
carrying this knife hidden on my body."
Mogi-san walks until she stands before me. She crouches down and picks up the tumbled kitchen knife.
Although she is completely off guard, I'm not able to let out anything but such a sound. I can't move as
though I am petrified. I can't do anything but stand still like a nail in the wall.
My body is left behind. My mind is frozen because it cannot accept the reality that's taking place before my
"Didn't I say so, Aya Otonashi? People who are going to disappear anyway don't matter."
Mogi-san sits astride Maria and raises the kitchen knife.
She swings it down with no hesitation. Over and over. Over and over. Until Maria's breath stops for certain.
Maria does not raise a single disgraceful moan during the whole process.
"If you had stayed being a mere eyesore like a bunch of flies that swarm around feces, I would have spared
you. But no, you had to make a move on my Kazu-kun!"
Mogi-san complains and stands up.
Maria doesn't move anymore.
Mogi-san looks at the kitchen knife she has stabbed Maria with several times. Then, she throws it at my
I reflexively look at the knife. The knife that is soaked in the blood of Kokone and Maria.
"Well then, you're next Kazu-kun."
I crouch down and reluctantly touch the kitchen knife. I remove my hand immediately when I feel the slimy
touch of blood. I gulp down and reach out once again. My hand quivers. I can't grab it properly. I close my
eyes and force myself to grab it. I open them again. The fact that I'm holding the weapon that killed Kokone
and Maria makes my hand quiver even more. I almost let go of it. I grab it with both my hands to suppress
Aah, I can't.
I definitely can't do anything with this knife.
"What are you doing, Kazu-kun? Come on... give me the knife!"
No, it's not only me. No one could do anything with this knife.
"...Who made you do all this, Mogi-san?"
Mogi-san shouldn't have been able to do anything with it, either. She can't possibly have been able to do
Unless she's been manipulated by someone.
She stares at me in puzzlement.
"...what are you talking about? Do you want to suggest that someone directed me? Are you alright in the
head, Kazu-kun? That couldn't possibly be, now, could it?"
"But I fell in love with you."
"......what are you getting at?"
"Even after experiencing more than 20,000 recurrences, even after getting cornered, you would never do
such a thing, Mogi-san. The girl I fell in love with would never do such a thing!"
For a moment Mogi-san is struck by my words, but then she scowls at me and replies.
"...I see. So by appealing to my emotions, you want to make me spare you, huh? I'm disappointed. I never
thought you were such a coward. So you really don't want to die for my sake, huh?"
There's no way I would want to. For one, I don't want to die, and I don't believe that she would be saved by
me doing so.
"......Kazu-kun, do you think it's an absolute taboo to kill?"
"Ufufu, how upright. Yeah, you're right. You're perfectly right!"
She says and peeks into my eyes.
"––so, for a lifetime... no, please enjoy your stay here for all eternity."
She tells me with a cold voice.
Probably because she knows that this is what I'm wishing for the least.
"Because –– if I hand over my 'box', I'll die."
In other words, she will die if the 'Rejecting Classroom' ends? Maria hasn't mentioned that with a single
"Do you understand? By slipping out of this 'box' you'll kill me. Do you think I'm lying? Do you think I'm just
saying random excuses to protect the 'box'? I'm not! You'll understand if you think about it! I mean, why do
you think I've had the wish to return to the past?"
When does one want to go back in time? Maybe at times when some tragedy happened...?
"Didn't you wonder why I'm always run over by that truck? Admittedly, there were times when Aya
Otonashi sacrificed herself for me... ah, by the way, there were also times when you sacrificed yourself. But
most of the times it was just me, right?"
Don't tell me––
Finally I realized a possible explanation.
Why does Mogi-san not end the 'Rejecting Classroom'?
That traffic accident is an inevitable phenomenon within the 'Rejecting Classroom'. Someone, especially
Mogi-san, meets with that accident. I don't know why, but that's for certain.
«I think –– once something has happened, it can't be undone.»
I have once said these words. Maria answered as follows. 'Your sentiment is normal. And apparently, the
creator of this 'Rejecting Classroom' also thought like you'.
So, assuming I had the opportunity to destroy the 'box'. Would doing so also mean––
"Are you prepared to make me the victim of an accident?"
––killing the girl I love?
A dull sound resounds. I first wonder what that sound was, but then I realize that my knife has fallen to the
"You're not even able to hand the knife over to me? How miserable..."
Mogi-san walks to my side. She picks up the kitchen knife.
She will probably kill me now.
Because she has committed so many sins, she can justify herself only by continuing to do so. If she doesn't,
she will be crushed by her conscience. She can't return anymore. She has lost the ways to control herself,
so she will run wild and kill me.
Most likely –– «Kasumi Mogi» stopped being «Kasumi Mogi» when she killed her first victim.
On her expressionless face is the blood of two girls.
She crouches down to the same height as me because I can't stand up.
She lays her arms around me with the knife in her hand. She lets her arms intersect behind my neck and
applies the blade to my carotid artery.
Mogi-san's face draws nearer, then she opens her mouth.
"Please, keep your eyes closed."
I close my eyes as she told me.
Something soft touches my lips.
I instantly realize what this touch is.
At last, a certain emotion wells up in me. The emotion that didn't well up even when I saw Kokone's corpse
or in the moment Maria was stabbed.
I –– can't forgive this.
"It's not the first time I kissed you, you know? But I'm sorry that it's always so forced."
I can't forgive this. I mean, I can't even remember that. And I'm sure I won't remember this time, either.
"Bye, Kazu-kun. I loved you!"
Is she really satisfied with memories she can't share with anyone? Well, Mogi-san might be satisfied with it,
considering how much she has gotten used to being alone already.
A sharp pain runs though the back of my neck.
I betray Mogi-san's request and open my eyes.
Mogi-san gets upset but can't avert her eyes in time. Aah, finally our eyes met properly.
I grab her hand.
In the corner of my eyes I can see how the red liquid flows from my neck to her hands and drips down from
"...What are you doing?"
"I... can't forgive..."
"You can't forgive me? Fufu... I don't really care. I'm aware of that. But it doesn't matter! It's already
"That's not it."
"...What is it, then?"
"It's not you whom I can't forgive. It's the 'Rejecting Classroom' that's far away from everyday life!"
I strengthen my grip on her wrist. Her delicate hand is pinned down by mine. My sight turns black for a
moment. The bleeding at my neck might be fatal.
"Le-let go of me––!"
I still don't know what to do. I'm sure I can't kill her. But I clearly realized one thing: this 'Rejecting
Classroom' is unforgivable. Therefore, I must absolutely not disappear at this point.
"Let me kill you! Please, let me kill you!"
She shouts. Even though these are supposed to be words of rejection, it sounds to me like she's crying in
pain. Almost like a lamentation.
...ah, I see. I finally noticed.
She is crying.
On the surface, she's expressionless as always. She hasn't shed any tears. I look straight at her. She averts
her eyes immediately. Her fragile, thin legs have been trembling all the time. She cannot notice her own
feelings, having lost her facial expression. She can't even notice that she's crying. Her tears don't flow
anymore. Probably, because they dried up long ago.
Sorry that I didn't notice earlier.
"I won't let you kill me. I won't let you reject me."
"Don't mess around with me! Don't torment me any more than this!"
I'm sorry, but I can't listen to this entreaty.
"I will absolutely not leave you alone here!"
Maybe it's just my imagination, but I've had the feeling that Mogi-san relaxed for a second.
My sight turns completely black. A blow on my cheekbones temporarily returns my sight. The scenery has
changed. Mogi-san's blood-stained slippers are right before my eyes. My hands aren't grabbing her wrist
anymore, but are lying powerlessly on the ground.
It's not like she has done something to me. I merely collapsed on my own.
Even though I was sure that I had finally found a way to persuade her, I can't move anymore now. I even
have problems moving my mouth.
"I'm, an idiot."
I hear her voice.
"Just because of this, just because of such a phrase, I––"
I don't know what her face looked like when she said that, being unable to raise my face.
"............I must... kill. I must kill. I must kill. I must kill. I must kill. I must kill. I must kill. I must kill. I must kill.
I must kill. I must kill. I must kill."
Like instructing herself, she repeats the same words.
Her slippers move. Someone's blood splashed on my face. I see the light of the kitchen knife slightly. ––ah,
she's planning to use it.
"Now it really is farewell, Kazu-kun."
She crouches down and gently strokes my back.
"––I must kill..."
And then she plunges the blade––
"––I must kill myself."
––into her own body.
"––I must kill myself."
I desperately instruct myself. This is the only way. The only way to prevent myself from being
possessed again by my fake «self».
I will abandon everything.
This is the only way I can think of to atone for my sins.
I thrust the kitchen knife into the middle of my body.
I fall on top of Kazu-kun. His face is right before mine. He has finally realized what I have done and is
looking at me with wide opened eyes.
Please don't make such a face. I try to calm him down with a smile –– but then I notice that I cannot
smile anymore. I have neither smiled, nor cried, in ages, after all.
My body temperature is dropping more and more.
I hope the dirt inside me will leave along with the temperature...
«I will absolutely not leave you alone here!»
Thank you. But that is not possible. It has been impossible from the very beginning.
How could anyone disagree? I mean––
––I already died a long time ago.
Aah, I'm going to die.
While still living on for an unbelievable time after being blown away by the truck, this thought continued
on and on. I can't possibly survive such an impact. I'm going to die. My life ends here.
N-No, I don't want to––
These are the silly words of someone who has never seriously thought about the concept of death,
despite having thought about dying several times.
To die. To end. There's nothing ahead. I realized its dreadfulness, now that I'm about to die.
If this was going to happen anyway, then couldn't it at least have happened before love changed my
By now, I know love!
I have a goal!
I haven't done anything for him yet!
––this is just too cruel.
"Mhm, a situation that draws my interest."
A man (woman?) appears out of the blue. I have no clue how he appeared. To begin with, why can he
even speak to me normally? Neither can I clearly perceive where he is standing. I'm twisted all over so
I don't even know which direction I'm looking. And still, that person doesn't avert his eyes from me.
This is an impossible situation. Ah, no, that's not right. I am at another, unfamiliar place and stand in
front of that person. I don't know where I am. I don't receive any impression from this place, but it's a
"Do not get me wrong, I am not talking about your accident. Such incidents are ordinary and happen
everywhere in the world. What draws my interest is that this accident happened close to the boy I am
What is he talking about?
I have heard that you see a playback of your life when you die, but I haven't heard anything about
being brought to this weird place here and talking to that person.
Is that person the grim reaper or something?
A person who doesn't look like anyone, while looking like everyone.
But one thing is for sure. He is charming. His appearance, his voice, his fragrance fascinate me.
"I want to see how this boy reacts to 'boxes' used in his vicinity. Ah, but I am also interested in how
you use your 'box' of course. After all I am interested in all of mankind. Well, but naturally you are just
Saying these incomprehensible things, that person smiled.
"Do you have a wish?"
Of course I have one.
"This is a 'box' that grants any wish."
I accept it.
I immediately realize that this is the real thing. Therefore, I'm resolute to not let go of this 'box'.
Please, if I can't change this end, then please, just let me redo a bit. I'm fine even if it's just yesterday.
There is something I have left to do. Even if it's just yesterday, I can convey my feelings. If I'm able to
do just this, I'm sure that I won't have any regrets. No matter what his answer is, I won't have any
regrets. Please, turn back the time for a tiny little bit. I'm aware that this is not possible. But still, it's
what I wish for.
When I wished so, the 'box' opened like the mouth of a carnivore and vanished, merging with the
Alright. It should be fine like this.
The charmingly smiling person comments on my wish with a single sentence.
"––see what you get from restraining yourself."
Then he disappears.
And I get thrown out of this special place that didn't leave any impression on me.
I arrive in a chamber enveloped in darkness, in which an intensive stench strikes my nose as if
countless corpses had been left alone here. It's a disgusting room, to which a prison would seem like
paradise in comparison. Aah, if I stay here for just an hour I'll collapse. But the room starts to get
painted in white. The whiteness makes me lose sight of the boundaries of the room. Then, as if
someone ignited an incense made of sweets, a sweet fragrance erases the rotten smell. Each time I
blink, necessary things like a blackboard, desks and chairs appear. The room finishes being filled up
and the only thing left is to call the necessary actors. Insert the people that entered our classroom
yesterday. If that's done, I can redo things. I can redo yesterday.
But no matter how cleanly painted over this place may be, it is still that chamber worse than any prison.
The world after my death, packed with white, white, white hope.
So, yeah. If it looks like I can't achieve my goal––
––I will have to destroy this box myself. Before the pretty decoration here comes unstuck, exposing
that shameful sight to me.
"Why not just kill him?"
Haruaki-kun jokingly suggests such bizarre nonsense when I consult him.
"Why not just kill him?"
Haruaki-kun jokingly tells me the same solution for the nth time when I consult him.
"Why not just kill him?"
Haruaki-kun jokingly tells me this logical solution.
"Why not just kill him?"
Haruaki-kun jokingly suggests his theory to me.
"Why not just kill him?"
Haruaki-kun jokingly tells me this fact when I consult him in my grave situation.
He has already told me the way to erase him himself.
"How you can make sure that you definitely don't want to meet a certain person anymore?"
Haruaki's suggested various methods to me. So many methods that I'm sick of hearing them.
Eventually, we arrived at the conclusion that feelings of guilt are the best way to make oneself avoid a
certain person. Again, just like always.
And, just like always, he also tells me how to create those feelings towards someone.
"Why not just kill him?"
Haruaki-kun jokingly suggests the last method that's left to me.
"Which is the ultimate solution. Well, but if you do kill him, it's not even a matter of meeting or not
anymore, though, heh!"
Why is it necessary to 'reject' Haruaki-kun? Well, it's because I think his disappearance will have a big
impact on Kazu-kun and me.
Living in this world resembles playing a Tetris game you cannot end. At first you give your best to
reach a new high score. That's fun, too. But midway you stop caring about your score. After all, it
doesn't matter whether you reach a new high score or not; it's just a game that is going to be reset.
And then you have to start all over again. Nothing changes even when you reach Game Over. You still
try your best to have some fun, but if you play with that half-hearted effort, the screen fills up in no
time. It gets boring. It gets uninteresting. It gets tough on you. It gets painful. You lose the spirit to
even turn the block. You just don't care. But even though you don't care, the blocks keep coming. No
matter how often they reach the top, you can't stop the game. If I stop, I'll die. And I don't want that.
After all I have a goal to achieve. I have to spend today with no regrets. That's why I must change this
system as a whole somehow.
And Haruaki's an important part of this system.
Therefore, I have to 'reject' him.
"......can you tell me once more how I can create feelings of guilt?"
"...what's wrong Kasumi? Well, I don't mind, though..."
Haruaki says, just like always.
"Why not just kill him?"
With this, it's exactly the 1,000th reply.
Right! That's the only way. Yeah, it can't be helped. You understand, right? You told me so 1,000
times, so you understand, don't you? Rather, you want me to do it, right?
––you want me to kill you, right?
"Please stop! Please, don't kill me!"
I will not lend him an ear.
I will kill Haruaki Usui.
After all, he suggested it himself, did he not?
I ****ed Haruaki Usui.
And then I vanished. The person that was once Kasumi Mogi vanished. I guess I won't ever see the
'me' again that was crushed in agony, ground to dust and blown away somewhere. Nevertheless, my
body will keep resurrecting. My body will keep resurrecting forever, even though it's empty inside.
I feel something entering my empty body.
Something filthy that was born in this 'box'. Something unbelievably grotesque that smells as nasty as
a bunch of dead bugs stuck together with feces. I refuse it. I continuously refuse it. But I know very
well: I can refuse it as much as I want, this something will gradually enter my body through its gaps. It
sniffs out my weak spots like a hyena and starts to dye me pitch black by eating into those. I become
pitch black and even lose the awareness of who I am. I become a fake that's still no one other than
But still, I can't let it end yet.
I will definitely spend today without regrets!
––today without regrets?
Am I stupid? How would I be able to do that here? This is the world after my death. So how would my
regrets in the real world disappear by doing something in this different world? Even if Kazuki confessed
to me in this world, it would be meaningless. I mean, how would I ever become satisfied in a perfectly
separated today? ...look, nothing comes to mind.
The outcome I longed for.
In order to pursue this, during all these iterations so far I've tried my best in this utter standstill.
But I didn't even know what this outcome I've been longing for was.
I've groped for it all this time without even knowing what it was.
And then, I came to the conclusion that in the end, there is no such outcome.
"I don't want to die!"
Aah –– Heh. Finally, I figured it out.
So that was my 'wish'.
So that's why my 'wish' can't be fulfilled for an eternity.
And because I couldn't figure that out earlier, I distorted the 'box' so much. This distorted 'wish' of
mine changed to an «attachment» and won't disappear anymore. It's in the 'box', thus it won't
This «attachment» remains in me and continues moving my fake.
So I'm sure that even when I disappear, this 'box' won't. Ever.
"I will absolutely not leave you alone here!"
Thanks to only those words, I could return to the Kasumi Mogi I once used to be for just a moment.
"I am an idiot."
Didn't I decide already? Didn't I decide at the very beginning that I'd destroy the 'box' before I lose
sight of my goal and disgrace myself?
But those countless recurrences weakened my determination more and more until it disappeared in the
Once, when I killed a certain someone whose name I don't even remember anymore, I should have
lost all ways to return.
"Just because of this, just because of such a phrase, I––"
––it was still possible.
My love has saved me at the very last moment.
But I know that I'm going to get captured again right away.
I'm going to get captured by the 'box'.
Therefore, while I'm still «Kasumi Mogi» –– I must kill me.
And now, my 'box' that couldn't bring me happiness despite being so convenient, is going to end.
I can pass away this close to my beloved one. Maybe this is a rather happy turn of events. So, it is fine
like this. I am fine.
I close my eyes.
I will certainly not open them any––
"Who allowed you to die?"
I get startled and open my eyes.
The unidentifiable person that once gave me the 'box' stands there. Kazu-kun doesn't seem to have
noticed him, so I'm the only one who can see him.
When our eyes meet, that person smiles calmly.
"I still want to observe that boy. It troubles me if you end this outstanding opportunity of unlimited
observation on your own accord."
What? ...What is he saying?
"But well, I suppose it's not so thrilling with similar situations all the time. Let's see... it's against my
principles, but may I take care of the 'box'? I'll tamper with it just a little. You were planning to destroy
it anyway, so you don't mind, do you?"
Without waiting for my answer, he places his hand on my chest. The moment he does so...
"Ugh, aaaah! AAaaAAahhh!!"
An intense pain exceeding imagination. A pain that makes me scream out, even though I've gotten
used to the collision with a truck and didn't even raise my voice when I stabbed myself. This kind of
pain is different. It is a sensation as if my soul is cut into a thousand pieces. A pain that directly
attacks the nerves and can't be eased.
He takes out the hand-sized 'box' and smiles.
"Aah, I think you've already figured, but this 'box' can't work without you anymore. So you'll have to
get into the 'box'."
As he says so, he starts to fold me up.
He folds me and folds me, and then he stuffs me into the 'box'.
Kazu-kun. Please, Kazu-kun.
I know I'm being selfish. I also know it's insolent after doing such things to you. But, but –– I can't––I
Kazu-kun, help me––
I have to end the 'Rejecting Classroom' and regain my everyday life.
What is the worst that could happen to hinder me from attaining that goal?
To come upon a big obstacle? For example, one where I have to traverse a thin thread from one building to
another? Or one where I have to repeat the same day for a million times?
I don't think that's it. I mean, in that case I know how to clear the obstacle. No matter how hard it seems, I
could acquire the skills needed to overcome it during this almost unlimited time.
No, I believe not knowing what the obstacle is, that is what's worst.
If I don't know what to do, I'm simply at a loss. But time does not go on in here. So time won't possibly
solve the problem for me.
And I've just –– come upon this worst case scenario.
"What's wrong, Hoshii? Somehow you're acting strange today."
The break after the first lesson. Haruaki addresses me with with a light laugh.
The lesson has just ended, so no one's left the classroom yet. Mogi-san is sitting at her seat, too. Right –– all
my 38 classmates are inside the classroom.
I try thinking about why the 'rejected' people are here, but for some reason I have forgotten almost
everything from last time. I have a hunch that we found something out, but I can't remember anything.
But that's fine. That's still fine.
If we managed to find out something important, we'll find that out again in no time. It's a riddle for me why
all my classmates have come back, but that doesn't affect what I have to do.
That's not the problem.
"But still, today sure is boring～. Nothing special happened today at all!"
Nothing special happened.
A dull pain runs through my chest due to Kokone's remark.
I don't want to believe this. I don't want to admit the current situation.
I address Daiya behind me in a pleading voice. He turns only his head to me, waiting for my concern.
"Did you hear anything about a transfer student today?"
I say so with the faint hope that he would nod. But my question is––
"Haa? What are you talking about?"
––denied with a frown, as expected.
Right –– Aya Otonashi doesn't 'transfer' anymore.
Thus, I'm at a loss what to do now.
Find the 'owner'. And then, what? Take out the 'box'? Destroy the 'box'? How do I do that?
I intended to find a solution together with Maria. But that was just me leaning back. I was completely
dependent on her, so I don't know what to do now that she's not here.
"But listen, isn't it the same whether this is our everyday life or that 'Rejecting Classroom'?"
Haruaki replies to my question like this.
I consulted him during the breaks because I was at a loss what to do. And that is the answer I got from him
at the back of the school building when I finished telling him everything during the lunch break.
I know Haruaki's personality. He didn't say that because he can't believe my absurd story.
"Ah, no. It's not like I don't believe you, really. Just, well, let's say we really are inside that 'Rejecting
Classroom'. What's different from the everyday life you long for then?"
"What's different? They're completely––"
"Equal, aren't they? The guys that seem to have disappeared, including me, have come back. Aya Otonashi
wasn't a member of this class anyway. It just returned to how it used to be at the beginning. Or am I
It just returned to how it used to be?
After all, I might have never met her without the 'Rejecting Classroom', either.
No one knows about Maria. That's perfectly natural. Aya Otonashi's existence doesn't belong into the
classroom 1-6 to begin with.
Maybe it was all a dream? Maybe Aya Otonashi was just an illusion of mine?
...I don't know. But it's still «March 02» today.
"But you know, if this is the 'Rejecting Classroom', then today's «March 02» will never end. So, can you still
call it equal to our everyday life?"
I was sure Haruaki would agree with me. But...
"I said so with that in mind, actually?"
Rather, he tilts his head.
I am bereft of speech since he answers me so straightforward. Haruaki scratches his head awkwardly when
he sees me like this and continues.
"I know what you want to say. But look, don't you get that uncomfortable feeling just because you know it's
a cycle? What if, for example, your everyday life up to now had consisted of such long repeating days as
well? You wouldn't have noticed, right? And indeed, I don't feel anything like this right now, either. I'm
convinced that I'm in my usual everyday life at this very moment. Even if, for argument's sake, this is that
He's –– right.
I get this feeling of discomfort and disgust because I'm aware of this recurrence. If I didn't know it, I
wouldn't mind it at all.
I wouldn't even have this conflict right now if I didn't know about the 'Rejecting Classroom'. Even if the day
was repeating, I could fully enjoy this everyday life provided to me. I could spend my time without knowing
of a certain someone's tragic fate. It would be full of happiness, and convenient.
To destroy this is no more than mere self-satisfaction.
"I'm sure you've got it now, Hoshii. What do you have to do?"
"Yeah. I've got what I have to do."
"Right? Well then––"
Haruaki stops suddenly. I turn around in wonderment, and see Mogi-san standing there.
"What's the matter?"
"I'd like to borrow Kazuki. Okay?"
Haruaki and I exchange glances as we hear her.
"Umm, Hoshii. You're okay with this much for now? If there's still something you want to tell me, I'll listen."
"Yeah, thanks Haruaki."
Haruaki leaves, saying "You're welcome".
I wonder what she wants from me. Did she specially search for me?
I focus on her face. What a pretty face. When I think so, I can't endure looking at her anymore and avert my
Even though she is the one that came to me, Mogi-san frowns.
"...let me ask you something. It may sound strange, but please answer without wondering."
I nod, but Mogi-san just keeps frowning, having trouble getting started. After a while, she apparently comes
to a decision and looks me straight in the eye.
"Am I Kasumi Mogi?"
Because I didn't expect such a question at all, I can't even be surprised and just keep standing still with a
Mogi-san averts her eyes uncomfortably.
"......err, Mogi-san? Did you lose your memory or something?"
"...I can understand you. But please answer my question."
"Of course you're Kasumi Mogi, Mogi-san..."
Oh wow, I'd never say that in my ordinary life.
For some reason, Mogi-san murmurs so, looking a little desolate.
"Well then. It may sound unbelievable, but be prepared and listen. I am––"
Then, Kasumi Mogi, the girl I love, says something completely contradicting.
"––––Huh? Aya Otonashi...? Mogi-san is Maria? What's the meaning of this?"
As I am overcome with surprise, Mogi-san continues.
"Yeah, I am Aya Otonashi. I was about to lose confidence myself because absolutely everyone absurdly calls
me «Kasumi Mogi» in spite of my different looks and behavior, but I am definitely «Aya Otonashi»."
Well, the person standing in front of me is «Kasumi Mogi». Admittedly, I also have the feeling that this
looks and way of speaking exactly fit the «Aya Otonashi» in my memories, but...
"Err... right, there's that split personality thing that happens all the time in mangas, right? Aren't you
perhaps in such another personality right now...?"
That's quite absurd as well, but it's still within common knowledge.
"I had this kind of thought, too. But if it was like that, you should rather doubt my different behavior and I
shouldn't know the name «Aya Otonashi». Right?"
Right, I never said the name «Aya Otonashi» out loud in front of her.
"In the first place, why did you suddenly turn into Mogi-san?"
"...don't phrase it so ambiguously. I merely changed into the position of «Kasumi Mogi». It's not like I
transformed into her. Well... anyhow, how could I explain this situation... Right, you gather that there can't
be a «Kasumi Mogi» in this 27,756th time if I'm «Aya Otonashi», don't you?"
"«Kasumi Mogi» disappeared. Her position got empty. Do you still remember that I told you that I didn't
become a transfer student on my own accord? Perhaps, I was placed into that empty position this time
instead of becoming a transfer student."
That's just too... forced.
"There's no way I, no, the entire class would mistake you for Mogi-san!"
"Indeed, that was a big question for me. But a certain other one was solved in return. The 'owner' of the
'Rejecting Classroom' experienced all 27,755 loops. Thus, her personality should have changed, too. Yet, no
That may be right.
"It's safe to assume that there's a rule to the 'Rejecting Classroom' that hinders others from noticing the
change the 'owner' goes through. Furthermore, the owner's change isn't affected by her relationships.
Kasumi Mogi was the 'owner' but disappeared for some reason. And I replaced her. The rule applies, so no
one notices anything, although both the appearance and the personality of me, «Aya Otonashi», are
Mogi-san's explanation sounds plausible for now.
If she really is Maria, that would be a reason to rejoice. It should be. I mean, on my own, I have no clue
what to do. But if it's for Maria, she'll surely be able to guide me.
"I don't believe this."
––I can't accept it.
Mogi-san seems surprised at my distinct resistance and widens her eyes.
"...I know it sounds unbelievable, but that's no reason to oppose me like that."
I bite on my lips.
"Ah, I see. You just don't want to accept that fact. Accepting it would also mean to admit that Mogi's the
'owner'. And you don't want to admit that if possible. Which is fair enough. After all you love M––"
I shout reflexively.
You're exactly right! I absolutely do not want to accept that. But I'm not talking about the assertion that
she's the 'owner'. What I can't accept is––
"......I love Mogi-san."
I wring out my voice.
Mogi-san raises an eyebrow, signifying me that I don't have to tell her this now.
"Therefore –– you can't possibly be Maria...!!"
I clench my fists. Seeing my trembling fists, she should have noticed what I'm trying to say. She opens her
eyes wide and closes her mouth.
I love Mogi-san.
That feeling has not changed, even now.
That feeling has not changed –– even now that Mogi-san acts just like «Aya Otonashi».
If everything Mogi-san says is true, then I'm a hopeless fool. Not noticing that my beloved person changed.
Not noticing that my beloved person was replaced by Maria. There's no problem with her, it's just that I
can't deal with my own feelings.
Love is blind, they say. But this is a whole new level.
The love that I have felt for such an unbelievably long period would turn out to be fake.
Therefore, I cannot accept it. I can't accept that she's «Aya Otonashi». The moment I accept it, this love is
going to end.
"I love Mogi-san!"
Thus, I say this, what must sound like a proclamation of war to her.
She wordlessly casts down her eyes.
This just now was the worst confession ever. I didn't even think about the other party while confessing. I
only did it to deny this situation.
I clench my fists even stronger. But still, I have to say it.
"If you insist on being Maria, then prove it to me!"
She keeps looking down for a while.
But then she opens her eyes determinedly and speaks.
"Kazuki. Even if you give in to the 'Rejecting Classroom', my mission won't change. So at first, I thought
about letting you be. However, I don't want to do that after all. I don't want you to fall down on your knees
because of something like this.
She grasps my right hand. My glance wanders to her. She is staring straight into my eyes.
"So you shall realize now that I'm no one other than «Aya Otonashi»."
She approaches her chest with my hand.
"W-What are you––?"
"I am a 'box'."
She says scornfully.
"Therefore, I am not the same as the human «Kasumi Mogi»."
"Your 'wish' is still being granted and that's it, right? If so, Mogi-san's just the same! Even if you show me
your 'box', that doesn't prove that you're «Aya Otonashi»!"
She shakes her head.
"In fairy tales there are those fairies that grant only a single wish, right? When you hear of such a story,
have you ever thought of this: «Why not just wish for unlimited wishes»?"
I nod. By doing so, one would have endless wishes. I've already thought about it as well.
"It's a bit embarrassing, but my wish is similar to that."
She says so in self derision.
"My wish was –– «I want to grant others' wishes». I became a being that grants wishes."
Just like the 'box'.
But I think that's a very upright 'wish'. So why does she make such a self-derisive smile?
"But I couldn't fully believe in it's feasibility. The 'box' couldn't completely grant my 'wish'. Every single
person that used me, a 'box', disappeared. Because the 'box' had surmised my doubt that says «there's no
way 'wishes' would be granted so conveniently in the real world»."
I'm left speechless. Just how much does the 'box' need to toy with our lives until it's satisfied?
"Kazuki, I'll let you touch my 'box'. After that you won't be able to ask such a stupid question like who I am
She unfolds my hand and pushes it against her chest.
I feel her heartbeat.
At that moment––
I sink to the ground of the sea. Although it's supposed to be the ground of the sea, it's bright as if the sun
has been sunken here as well. It's beautiful. I'm fascinated by the water. But it's cold. I can't breathe.
Everyone seems happy. Everyone seems happy. Everyone seems happy. At the ground of the sea. They
frolic around with deep-sea fishes. They suffocate, swell, freeze, get crushed by the water pressure and
smile. Nothing has any meaning here. Nothing is important here. Puppet shows all over. And people playing
house. And picture story shows. And comedies. A tragedy where everyone is happy.
Amongst them, someone is crying.
Only a single one is crying, surrounded by the others who are happily laughing "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA".
I shake my head. This is my imagination. Just my imagination. I can't see anything here!
But it was already enough to make me realize one thing. Realize someone's emotion, which I'm not likely to
get off and away anymore.
I crawl out of the ground of the sea and return to where I was before.
She has released my hand.
I slowly remove my hand from her chest and exhaustedly drop on my knees.
At the same time I also notice that my cheeks are wet with tears.
I can't deny it anymore. After being shown that, I can't deny it anymore.
"This is my 'box' - 'Flawed Bliss'."
She is –– «Aya Otonashi».
'Mogi-san holds a box, too'? That doesn't matter. It's no argument that could be used to deny Maria.
There's no need for logical reasoning. I realized just by touching. I realized that she's Maria.
I'm sure she didn't want to show this to others. Nonetheless, she showed it to me.
So that I won't lose to the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
"Maria, I'm sorry..."
Maria shakes her head with a smile.
I hate my feelings.
I realized. I realized that she's «Aya Otonashi». And yet, my feelings towards her haven't changed. Her smile
looks terribly cute to me. The remains of my love still confuse me without going away.
I feel so mortified that I'm so attached to that love, my tears just won't stop.
Maria calls my name.
And then she takes an unbelievable action.
She embraces me.
Despite knowing what she is doing, I can't understand her action.
She doesn't embrace me the way I'd expect from Maria - she is timid.
"You were the only one that remembered my name."
Maria speaks in riddles.
"If it wasn't for you, I would have been alone. I don't like to admit it, but you supported me. Even during the
time I considered you to be the 'owner'. So––"
I finally recognize what she is doing.
"––at least for now, I will support you."
She embraces me tightly. In contrast to her tone she does so only weakly, more like she's enveloping rather
"Let me be gentle to you at least for now, while you feel love towards me."
I don't know.
I don't know if this emotion is turned towards «Kasumi Mogi», «Aya Otonashi», or both of them.
The only thing I know is, that I'm unbelievably happy about it.
Perhaps, Maria didn't only let me touch her 'box' for my sake. Maria didn't want me to call her «Kasumi
Mogi». Meaning she wanted me to admit her existence.
After considering that thesis for a only moment, I have to admit that's over-thinking it and laugh
"Hoshii, what did you talk about with Kasumi after I left?"
After school. Haruaki pokes my chest with a big grin.
"She confessed to you! Or something like that?"
She confessed to me that she's «Aya Otonashi», so in a wide sense he's correct, though.
"Oh? You just beat around the bush! Most suspicious! Did I hit the bull's eye?! Damn, I'm jealous! Kasumi
has become pretty recently, at that!"
Ah, I see.
Watching Haruaki talking happily, I finally realize what I have to do.
Although it's reassuring that I've reunited with Maria, I had been at a loss what to do because «Kasumi
Mogi», the 'owner', disappeared.
«If you make Kazuki Hoshino your enemy, you'll also turn an immortal against you. Me!»
I recall the words Haruaki once said to Maria. This happened pretty long ago, so I'm not too sure about the
exact words anymore, though.
Right. I must gain his support, no matter what.
"Haruaki. Can we resume the talk we had before?"
He is taken aback for an instant when I ask him out of the blue, but then he nods with a smile.
"I told you earlier that I realized what I have to do, right? Let me tell you the conclusion that I've arrived at."
I look into Haruaki's eyes and proclaim the war I'm going to fight.
"I will –– fight against the 'Rejecting Classroom'."
He widens his eyes when he hears my sharp declaration.
"Umm, listen... Didn't I explain it to you clearly? Even if we are in that 'Rejecting Classroom', there are no
restrictions as long you don't know about it."
"Yeah, but I just can't! I can't possibly permit being in an everyday life where I can't proceed in my life
because everything's repeating!"
"Because –– I do know about it, right here, right now."
Maybe everything would pass by with no problems for me if I just forgot about being in the 'Rejecting
However, I do know about it. I know that this is nothing more than a fake everyday life.
Therefore, I can't ignore it.
Maybe it's just for self-satisfaction. Nevertheless, I'm convinced that I'm right and I can't act differently.
"...well, it's up to you. But so, is there a reason that you get so obstinate?"
Haruaki asks purely out of wonder.
A reason...? The reason why I insist on a real everyday life so much? I've thought about it. And really, my
attachment to my everyday life might not be normal.
"It seems to me that reason has also to do with life and death..."
Ah, right. That's it. The reason is so simple.
"It is –– the reason of life."
Haruaki opens his eyes wide as he apparently didn't expect this answer.
"The reason of life? What's that? What do you mean?"
"I can't spell it out well, but... for example, getting 100 points in a test you haven't learned for at all doesn't
make you happy, right? You're happy when you get 100 points as a result of learning with utmost effort
while aiming for a good mark. Or am I wrong?"
"Indeed, something you obtained after a lot of hardships has more value than something you didn't expend
any real effort for."
"In my opinion, pursuing this something is what it means to live. I don't think that's exaggerated. I mean,
everyone will die someday. The consequence of life is death! Pursuing only the result is scary for me."
"Everyone will die someday. ...Indeed."
"If this is the 'Rejecting Classroom', where everything is made void, then I can by no means accept it. I have
to stay in my everyday life in order to protect my reason of life. Therefore, I deny the 'box' that denies the
Haruaki listens to my honest opinion very interestedly.
...maybe I didn't even need to tell him all that. Haruaki would probably help me without conditions.
"Haruaki, will you help me?"
Haruaki gives me the thumbs up without hesitation.
At the suggestion of Haruaki, we decided to also let Kokone and Daiya in on the matter. The five of us had
gathered around the bed in that high-class hotel I previously visited with Maria.
I explained the state of things to Kokone and Daiya.
Actually, I expected Maria to complain about it being a waste of time, but in fact she didn't interrupt me
and just complemented what I said from time to time. Maybe she wanted to hear some new opinions on
"Umm... So you're telling us that Kasumi's actually Aya Otonashi-san and not Kasumi, while the real Kasumi
is the 'owner' who created the 'Rejecting Classroom' and we don't know her whereabouts... And now you
want a solution, huh...? ...No idea what your talking abooout! You've lost me theeere!"
Kokone dumps down on the bed.
"Aah, this bed is awesome."
"I didn't ask for your impressions about the bed, though."
She angrily replies to my joking remark. Probably, Kokone's seriously mulling over it, though, despite
behaving like this.
"Let me ask a question..."
"If we're in the 'Rejecting Classroom', that supposedly inevitable accident will occur again, right?"
"It should, yeah."
Maria answers his question.
Huh...? Daiya's serious about it?
"What's with that stupid look, Kazu? You look like a carp in front of its bait, flapping its mouth open and
"Eh, no –– I was just surprised that you believed us about the 'Rejecting Classroom' so readily."
"As if I would believe such a thing!"
Daiya says disdainfully.
"I wouldn't care if it was just you who has a nut loose, but even Mogi's talking weird stuff right now. There
may be some other circumstance behind this, but it's too tiresome to think about it. So I decided to accept
that 'Rejecting Classroom' for now, and stopped doubting there."
In short, he wants to help us?
"And then, Daiyan? The accident might occur again. And then?"
Haruaki urges him to continue.
"Aah. If the accident will occur as usual, who's going be the victim? Mogi isn't here anymore, is she?"
"Probably... it will be me. It's safe to assume that I took over that role as well, since her position was forced
"Was it always Kasumi that was run over?"
"No, there were also cases of others getting run over after trying to rescue her. I, Kazuki, Mogi and even
you because you tried to save me while I was trying to save Mogi. And not only once. You did so several
"Whoa! No kidding? Wait, isn't several hundred times kinda impossible? ...ah, no, not necessarily, huh. It's
also plausible that the same person would take the same action in the same situation."
"Even worse, in most cases you had confessed to me beforehand."
"A man that sacrifices himself to save the woman he loves... oh wow! Ain't I cool?!"
"To be frank, you should have minded your own business."
"Well, then try imagining our positions reversed. Imagine how much it takes to endure seeing someone
sacrifice himself for you because he loves you... your actions tormented me because they made my
haughtiness for seeking after the 'box' stand out magnificently. It was the utmost effective way of breaking
But I guess he won't be able to reconsider since his actions themselves weren't wrong.
"While we're at it, how many times did I confess to you, Aya-chan?"
"Exactly 3,000 times."
"W-Wow, I'm passionate... "
"So you were dumped 3,000 times! That has to be an unprecedented getting-dumped record! Your
hopelessness is pretty amazing, Haru!"
"Just shut up, Kiri!"
Those two sure are funny.
"Mogi... ah, no, I'll call you Otonashi for now. Otonashi, why did Mogi head to the scene of the accident
each time, despite knowing that the accident would occur?"
Maria raises a brow to Daiya's question and answers.
"Because it's defined in the rules of the 'Rejecting Classroom'. Oomine, I think that you've already seen
through me, but I've tried to prevent the accident numerous times."
"Well, of course you wouldn't sacrifice yourself right away. It's more natural to think that you arrived at
that way of action after some time. I for one would never choose being run over myself, though."
"Hey, why are you talking about the accident? Nothing will settle as long we don't find Kasumi, right?"
Kokone tilts her head as she interrupts them. Daiya looks away unpleased.
"This humanoid noise player is getting on my nerves."
"Ahaha. If only you were run over by a truck 20,000 times, no?☆"
"Just asking, Kiri, but how will you find Mogi for us?"
"Well... beats me. And anyhow, do you know?!"
"Oho... I'm amazed that you're able to play innocent while calling me a noise player. Why don't you scrap
your last name 'Oomine' and call yourself 'Mr. Innocent', instead? Daiya Innocent. Whoa, fits perfectly!"
"I'm not the only one who doesn't know. The others don't know, either. Right?"
Haruaki and I exchange glances. Well, he's right. If we knew, we'd propose something right away.
"Hence, we have to search for another solution. Consequentially, I addressed the truck accident, which is
obviously a special event in this recurrence. A completely normal thought. Ms. Humanoid bullshit player,
was my explanation able to reach you?"
Kokone grits her teeth vexedly, beaten by his explanation.
"Anyway, we might make some progress by preventing the accident. Hence, it's worth trying. That's your
point, right, Daiyan?"
Daiya nods to Haruaki's summary.
"Exactly. But there's no meaning if we can't prevent it."
"No––" Maria denies his statement. "It may be worth trying. I was limited when I was alone, but with this
number of people it may work out somehow."
"Does the number of people actually matter? Zero stays zero, no matter by how much you multiply it. Isn't
it the same for this kind of impossibility we face?"
"I get your point, but I believe there is a possibility. The conditions have changed after all. I am not Mogi,
but «Aya Otonashi». The chances might not be zero anymore. So it can't be wrong to improve the chances
by increasing the number of people, don't you think?"
Daiya crosses his arms and ponders for a while. At last he nods, "You have a point".
"Alright! It's decided, we'll try it! We'll prevent the accident somehow! Any objections?"
No one objects to Haruaki's summary.
Yeah. That should, probably, work out.
Early morning. One hour before the accident has usually occurred up to now.
We are standing with umbrellas at the scene of the accident, the crossroad.
Haruaki and I have the role to save Maria if needed. It's dangerous if the accident really occurs, but both of
us applied for this position of our own free will.
Maria was supposed to find and enter the truck in question. She had voiced the opinion that chances of
getting run over by the truck are lowest if she just sits on its driver's seat.
I'm nervous. We mustn't fail. I didn't sleep a wink yesterday. Out of anxiety, and the wish to confirm
something, I talked with Maria over phone for several hours.
I look at Haruaki's face next to me.
Unlike me, he doesn't seem nervous. His expression is just as always. The face I have always seen in the
This time we may be able to destroy it.
––No matter if the accident occurs or not.
"Haruaki, I'd like to talk a bit while we wait. OK?"
"Why so formally? Of course that's OK!"
I unintentionally look up at the sky when I heard the sound of rain drops on my umbrella.
"It's about Mogi-san."
"Kasumi? Umm, not Otonashi-san but the original one?"
"I didn't tell you that she... killed us, right?"
"...what's with that violent story?"
Haruaki raises an eyebrow.
It's not like I kept it a secret from him. I simply couldn't remember until I realized that Mogi-san's the
And as if my shackles were broken the moment I recalled who the 'owner' is, I regained all of last time's
"I, Maria, Kokone and probably even you were killed by her."
"...we were killed? By Kasumi? Why so? For what purpose?"
"She did so in order to 'reject' others! Originally, everything is made void in the 'Rejecting Classroom'. So
even if you kill someone, it's going to get undone. But it seems Mogi-san is able to 'reject' others by killing
them with her own hands. I think she does so because then she can wish to never meet that person again
from the bottom of her heart."
Haruaki nods with a serious expression. I have already explained 'rejecting' to him. That by doing so, one
can't recall the other party anymore.
"Our Kasumi has, huh... quite unbelievable. But... well, no surprise that even Kasumi gets like this after
experiencing almost 30,000 recurrences, I guess. Fair enough."
"Do you really think so?"
I ask him.
"Mh? I mean, it may be hard to imagine, but anyone would get strange being in such a standstill, right?"
"Indeed. But you know what? Even if you went insane, you would still not kill. That thought just doesn't
"You think so? Aren't you too fixated on your own point of view?"
Maybe. But I can't believe it. I mean, murder could only become an effective way to 'reject' because she felt
guilt by doing so. I can't believe that such a person could think of such an inhuman crime on her own.
"...you confessed to Maria 3,000 times and were run over several hundred times in place of her, right?"
"Seems like that. I can't recall as I am right now, though."
"Yeah. But, regarding the result, your actions did torment her, right?"
"Ah––... not on purpose, though."
Haruaki says with a bitter smile.
"She was tormented by it so much because any message, no matter how absurd it is, gains weight
accordingly when being repeated so many times. For example: no matter how much you think that you're
beautiful yourself, if someone tells you a thousand times that you're ugly, you'll lose that self-confidence.
Even if the other party is only joking."
"Well, I guess so."
"Thus, Maria couldn't help but get conscious of you when you confessed to her 3,000 times. And we're
talking about Maria. Believe me, she wasn't unaffected when you opposed her."
«If you make Kazuki Hoshino your enemy, you'll also turn an immortal against you. Me!»
I recall those words again.
"...oh? Did I set the flag for Aya-chan's route?"
I smile lightly and ignore his joke.
"So, what if there had been someone who suggested murder to Mogi-san a thousand times? Wouldn't that
make Mogi-san believe that there's no other way? After all she couldn't even rely on anyone and was on
the verge of going insane."
"...I admit that would be tough. And it's actually possible. After all, the one who talks to her would be in a
standstill. His actions and values don't change. It would only be natural to say the same things over and
over. If he said something once, he'd probably say the same thing several thousand times."
"As you say. But it wouldn't be problematic in that case. That'd be like an accident, right? But look––"
Finally, I move my glance away from the threatening sky.
"––what if someone chose his words and actions purposely in order to corner her?"
And then I –– focus on Haruaki.
Haruaki doesn't show any signs of unrest even when I stare at him.
"Mh? But that's impossible, isn't it?"
Haruaki's expression is still just like always.
"It isn't! For example, it would have been possible for Maria and me if we wanted. I mean, in other words, if
there was someone who kept pretending having lost his memories in front of Mogi-san, it's possible!"
Haruaki listens to my words silently without objection.
"Being able to retain one's memory must be a superior power - is what I originally thought. After all, you'd
usually think that the more information the better, right? But that's not true. Continuing to retain one's
memory does also mean to be continuously attacked by those without memory and by those who pretend
to have no memories. The ones without memory are in a safe zone. They can attack us, who stand on the
foremost line, from there."
I experienced such an attack, too, when the girl I love replied with «Please wait until tomorrow» to my
confession. She wasn't in the safe zone, though.
"What if there was someone who attacked Mogi-san deliberately from that safe place? Someone who was
aware of her pain, who took care that she wouldn't find a way to escape and who prepared the answer
'murder' for her. If so––"
"If so, you can say that this guy controlled Kasumi and deliberately assisted the murders."
Haruaki casually says so.
He doesn't deny my claim.
"We can't be sure that Mogi-san was the only target."
"I mean, she wasn't the only one standing at the foremost line. Maria and I were there, too. It depends on
that person's goals, but maybe he also tried to control Maria and me. No... we may already be controlled
more or less."
«––wanna try killing me?»
I recall those words someone once said to me.
And really, I haven't heard those words only once. He said them to me countless times. Those words stuck
to my head like a curse.
That's not all. I was shown corpses.
Maria was confessed to, had to watch someone sacrificing himself for her and was met with rejection.
This was all information I managed to pull out from my fragmentary memory. Probably there were also
smaller traps I didn't notice.
Continuously attacking from a safe place with no risks. Even if it didn't go as expected, one could redo this
attack unlimited times.
"If we assume that our actions were controlled by that person to a certain degree––"
I gulped down.
"––he also planned the situation we're currently in."
Haruaki keeps silent. His face is hidden by his umbrella, so I can't see his expression.
The silence continues. The sound of the rain seems strangely loud to me. I hear a small voice. At first, I
wonder what it is, but when I perked up my ears, I realize that it is a suppressed laughter.
Haruaki moves his umbrella and shows me his face.
He stares at me and laughs amusedly.
"Umm, Hoshii. What's this joke, or rather grand hypothesis supposed to be? First, it's definitely impossible.
It's not that easy to control others, is it? Sure, it's a funny story. But to be honest, I don't know whether it's
okay to laugh or not because you make such a serious face... wait, I already laughed anyway because it's so
"Yeah, I guess I was too indirect for you."
"...Indirect? Anyhow, I don't even get what that guy would want to achieve. But whatever it is, there should
be an easier way."
Haruaki is still talking in a bright voice.
"Yeah. I don't know his motive, either. So I thought about asking you."
When I say this, I won't be able to withdraw anymore.
But I've lost the intention to withdraw long ago.
"––why did you corner us into this?"
He doesn't answer.
His face is once again hidden by his umbrella.
He doesn't say anything. Probably, he doesn't intend to tell me anything.
"I don't know what the occasion was anymore, but we became friends shortly after I entered school. And
thanks to you, I could also become friends with Kokone and Daiya. Probably, my school life would have
been a bit more boring if it wasn't for you. It's all thanks to you."
If so, I have to do the talking in his place.
"It hasn't been a year yet since we became friends, but––"
"So, you say that you can't judge whether I'd do something like this?"
I shake my head. Haruaki probably can't see me, though.
"There are lots of things I don't know about you. But there is something I know for sure. I can say at least
this without fail."
"Haruaki Usui would never do something like cornering us."
I can finally see his expression.
Haruaki looks at me with widened eyes.
I finally say it.
"So–– who are you?"
«Oh? You just beat around the bush! Most suspicious! Did I hit the bull's eye?! Damn, I'm jealous! Kasumi
has become pretty recently, at that!»
Haruaki has said those insignificant words.
But I noticed something there.
There is a rule to the 'Rejecting Classroom'. The surrounding people don't notice Mogi-san's change. They
don't notice anything even when she's replaced by «Aya Otonashi». So how? Just how?
––how could he say that Kasumi has become pretty?
That's not the only suspicious point.
Haruaki has been 'rejected'.
Even I had forgotten about him. But I managed to remember him again.
'I remembered because he's a dear friend'. That's how I interpreted it. But why could I remember him when
I couldn't remember a single other person that had been 'rejected'?
It's just a hypothesis, but I think I didn't forget him completely because someone else had been mixed into
Both of them don't count as proof. No, they're full of gaps.
But that doesn't matter anymore.
Because I have remembered.
Because I have remembered something that I shouldn't be able to remember.
"Do you have a wish?"
"This is a 'box' that grants any wish."
The words of someone who could be everyone, but couldn't be anyone either.
"Tell me what you're up to!"
And then I say his name.
I say the name of the distributor of the 'box', whom I had forgotten all the time.
His name is––
And the moment I say this name––
––Haruaki vanishes from Haruaki's face.
It's not like the shape of his head changed. Haruaki just isn't in the smile on his face anymore. The fake that
has only disguised himself in Haruaki's skin.
The image that has chased us all the time is finally about to become clear.
"Geez. Nobody should actually know this name except the current 'owner' of this 'box', you know?
"You were careless with your words."
'0' giggled, seeming truly amused.
"I wasn't careless at all. I don't need to be careful of anything originally. You are abnormal because you
were able to become aware of me with those hints!"
"You think so?"
"Then tell me; when you see someone acting a bit unusual, do you think right away 'This is someone else.
Someone took him over.'?"
I have to admit that he's right. No matter how suspicious someone acts, it's unreasonable to consider him
to be another person.
"And yet, you found me. Which means that you knew of me, a possible cause for such an occurrence.
Though nobody should be able to remember my existence."
"If I shouldn't be able to, why did I?"
"Who knows? It's really mysterious. Maybe Aya Otonashi's existence influenced you? Well, just because
you were taught by someone, you should still not be able to notice me, though."
'0' is talking pleasantly. But at the current point I don't care about such things.
"...Aah, you want to know my intention? Okay! There's nothing to hide. I –– only wanted to observe you
from up close."
As I hear this, I start to feel it.
Aah –– again.
The same strange uncomfortable sensation that I felt when I met him the first time. I feel it once again.
What is it? What is this feeling again?
"...I don't get it! How does this make you corner Mogi-san?"
"The intention why I cornered the 'owner'? As I said, because I wanted to observe you. But well, let's
explain it a little easier."
'0' starts to talk amusedly.
"I wanted to see how you react to someone else's 'box'. When Kasumi Mogi's flawed 'wish' of redoing her
past was granted, I was so thoughtless to rejoice for an moment. I was happy because I became able to
observe you, involved in a 'box', over a long time period. ...but it didn't take long to notice that this was a
mistake. Because, naturally, I want to observe you in as much various situations as possible. But I can't do
that within this 'box' that you people call 'Rejecting Classroom'. Everyone takes the same action all the time,
naturally including you. No matter how much Kasumi Mogi and Aya Otonashi stabilize their own memory,
it's not interesting at all if the important one, you, doesn't retain his memories."
I embrace myself because of this uncomfortable sensation.
"Therefore, I decided to interfere with you. I turned into Haruaki Usui because of his central position from
where I can easily influence all three of you. Well, I allowed myself to build a desirable environment for me
by taking advantage of Haruaki Usui, Aya Otonashi and Kasumi Mogi, and implemented the retention of
your memory in the system. Thanks to that I was able to observe you quite nicely!"
"So, could it be that you manipulated Mogi-san to kill me because you wanted to...?"
"Yes, I wanted to see how you react to a deadly attack by the girl you love."
...for that, Mogi-san had to suffer non-stop.
"Ah, and it was also for that reason that I induced this love to you, of course."
My feelings were induced––?
"Oh? I was sure you had noticed. Ah, I see. So you didn't want to notice. Fufu... such moments are what
makes it worth being close to you. To tell the truth, I don't need to be in this 'box' to observe you. But then
I would probably overlook moments such as this. Watching from outside the 'box' is really bothersome, yes,
almost like peering through the lens of a super high efficient telescope from far in space. It is possible to
see. But the focusing is bothersome. That's about the feeling of it. So, while being a byproduct, it was really
fortunate that I could watch you from close up as Haruaki Usui!"
I finally realize what this uncomfortable feeling really is.
Right. It is –– dread.
It's not like I haven't felt dread until now. But this dread differs just too widely from its usual form, which is
why I failed to recognize it.
"Well then, Kazuki Hoshino-kun. What are you going to do?"
I can't form any words.
Because I became aware of this dread, I can't open my mouth.
"Did you think that everything would settle by exposing that «I» am inside Haruaki Usui? Surely, I seem to
be human right now. And since I'm also a murderer, you could just hand me over to the Police and call it
settled. But that's not it, right? Your goal is to regain your everyday life, isn't it? Nothing settles by talking to
He is dangerous. More dangerous than anything else I've come across so far.
"This is also a reason why I didn't hide the fact that I turned into Haruaki Usui more than necessary. Indeed,
the 'box' is in my possession now because I stole it from the 'owner'. I could show it to you right now. But
there's no need to do so. Neither is there the need to hand it over to you, just because you remembered
me. You haven't got the power to force me to, either."
He is interested in me. But only as a test subject. No more, no less. And naturally I have no idea how to deal
with someone who treats me like this.
"––yeah, surely not."
––of course I could never speak that disrespectfully.
"Kazuki alone doesn't have that power."
'0', however, looks at me, searching for the origin of this voice.
But he is correct. The voice came from my bag.
The klaxon of a truck resounded. With its engine roaring, a big truck drives towards us. '0' looks in its
direction and frowns slightly. The truck that is rushing towards us is awfully familiar to me.
And sitting in its driver's seat was, Maria.
"I missed you, '0'!"
This voice resounds from the mobile phone in my bag that I have left turned on for our entire conversation.
The truck, driving towards us. Us, standing our ground. The sound of an emergency stop. The braking
doesn't go as planned due to the rain. The truck drawing closer and closer. But '0' doesn't step back. And
neither do I when I see him not moving. I instinctively close my eyes.
The sound of the emergency stop fades away.
I open my eyes. The truck has literally stopped before my very eyes.
"What is this bluff supposed to achieve?"
'0' smiles faintly and poses this question to the figure in the driver's seat.
"Just a little welcome. How fortunate that you weren't run over as substitute of Kasumi, huh?"
I can hear this voice from both ahead of me and from my bag. After getting out of the truck, Maria finally
removes the Bluetooth headset and terminates our telephone call.
'0' is staring at Maria who stands in front of us without an umbrella.
"So you listened to our entire conversation. In other words, you two didn't care about this strategy to begin
with. Too bad - I would have loved to see Kazuki getting discouraged by the outcome of this strategy."
"I was seriously considering this strategy the time you proposed it. But as it seems, Kazuki knew of your
true form and let me in the dark."
I didn't really mean to, though. I merely didn't know when to tell her that I found out.
However, I did choose the timing to effectually talk to Haruaki after making him cooperate.
"But that was the right choice in the end. Because if I had been by his side, you might have continued to
"Did you go stealing the truck just to appeal being far away? Well, thank you for your efforts. But why
should I play dumb when you are here? You might be a 'box', but that does not mean that you are able to
"What, so you didn't know? Seems like my efforts were pointless. Well then, let me ask; you know of my
'Flawed Bliss', right?"
"Yeah, I know of it. And I also know that you cannot do me any harm me with it."
Maria laughed at '0'.
"Fufu, you really won't ever comprehend us humans. Maybe you get it if I phrase it like this: 'I have made
the preparations to erase you'."
'0' reacts to her words with a wry smile.
"You can only cram others into your own 'box', can you not? So how would you be able to do that?"
"It seems you still don't know why I was fixated on Kazuki."
She suddenly calls my name. '0' looks at me. Although these eyes are kind, they look scary to me. They
seem like the eyes of someone who looks at pork and thinks about how to prepare it.
"So you got it at last. Kazuki's got a gift for using 'boxes'. He might be able to master even my 'Flawed Bliss'.
And he would certainly wish for his everyday life to continue. For his everyday without beings that menace
it - like the 'boxes'. Like you"
Maria scowls at '0' as she declares.
'0' isn't overwhelmed by those words, nor is he surprised, nor is he amazed. He just casts down his eyes
"I see. So you haven't changed at all."
'0' replies like this.
He says this to her who has surpassed everyone else after going through 27,755 loops.
"By doing so, an inferior 'box' like you would disappear as well."
Maria doesn't even flinch.
"I'm aware of that."
'0', however, still looks sorrowful. He doesn't even seem to worry about the possibility of himself getting
"Can you still not live for your own sake? Can you only move for the sake of someone else? I pity you from
the bottom of my heart for such a miserable way of life!"
"Your pity can't even be used as fish bait."
"At first I was interested in this uncommon characteristic of yours, but it is worth nothing. A human that
does not have any desire is just the same as a machine. I could as well use a vacuum cleaner as an object of
observation. To me you are the most boring existence there is!"
Maria vexedly grits her teeth upon hearing '0's words. Fair enough. Instead of being perceived as an
opponent, she gets pitied by the enemy.
"Okay. I do not want to get erased, so let's make a deal. I will hand over the 'box' to you. In return I want
you to leave me at large. What do you think?"
"...hmpf, quite selfish conditions, considering that you're about to get erased."
"You should be thankful that I even respond to your very doubtful threat. It is not certain that Kazuki
Hoshino would really use your 'box'. And I do not even want to imagine how low the chances are that I
would disappear if he used the box. I am doing this unnecessary conciliation only to express my respect to
Kazuki-kun for finding me, you know?"
"Conciliation? What you'll hand over to us is an old birdcage in which you caged Kazuki. You can prepare
new birdcages as much as you want, can't you? You have already had enough of it and would have changed
it to a new one soon anyway, right?"
"I'll leave that up to your imagination."
"Hmpf... Kazuki, are you okay with that?"
Maria asks for my affirmation. I nod. I'm fine as long as we can do something about the 'Rejecting
"Kazuki Hoshino-kun. May I give you one word of advice?"
'0' asks me such a thing.
"You are someone who doesn't wish for change. But most of the 'owner's wish for just that when they
obtain a 'box'. They may want to obtain something. They may want to become something. They may want
to get rid of something. They all try to make a desire of that kind come true. Consequently, you're naturally
I frown since I fail to grasp the intention behind his words.
"Kazuki Hoshino-kun. Do you consider yourself abnormal?"
He asks me this.
When he hears my answer, he smiles.
"I see. But I'm afraid you're abnormal! However, you needn't worry if you don't like that. The time you'll be
able to stay abnormal is rather short. Eventually, people like you either get repelled or lose their
abnormality, adapting to society. Don't worry! You're one of the latter, no doubt about it."
He says without stopping to smile.
"And that is why –– you are truly ill-fated."
He speaks, looking really glad.
"What I mean is that you have learned that such loopholes do exist. Every time you meet with a regretful
event you will think: «If only I had a 'box'...» No matter how much you'll struggle in order to forget about it,
unfortunately the 'boxes' do exist. The 'boxes' that grant any wish do exists. You won't ever be able to
forget about the existence of that loophole. And eventually, when you've been living with that knowledge,
the time you need the 'box' will definitely come!"
He is still smiling.
Aah, I see––
I handed back the 'box'. But it was futile to do so. By then I was already bound by '0's curse.
"At the point you need the 'box', you might have already lost your abnormality. If so, you won't be able to
master the 'box' anymore. That will reduce my interest a little. Therefore I'm going to continue interfering
with you and your surroundings a bit from now on - to arouse your interest in the 'box'."
What should I have done to prevent getting cursed?
––Probably, there was no way to prevent it.
I –– no, we had already lost at the very moment we encountered '0'.
"Naturally, I'll provide you with a 'box' even if you lose your abnormality. I don't mind - as long as you let
me listen to your sound."
"Yes, I like any tone color you humans produce, but there is a sound I like predominantly. If possible I'd like
you to let me listen to that sound. ...Mh? What sound it is, you ask? My taste is completely ordinary, so I
think you know already. It's ––"
He smiles and said,
"–– the sound of creaking hearts."
With these words '0', who looks like Haruaki Usui, disappears.
A small box falls to the place '0' has been standing. When I reach out for it, it starts to expand itself
Right after this, the entire scenery starts to get folded up. I can see the walls of this world. The white
wallpapers start to crumble to dust. The sweetness that has stuck to my skin disappeared, leaving behind
dull discomfort. My semicircular canals go crazy and start to turn around. The sound of destruction. The
sound of destruction. The sound of someone's destruction. This place is filled with despair. Undeniable
The faked background has been erased and we are standing inside a dark chamber. A small, small chamber
in which I would surely get sick if I had to be there for even just half a day.
This is probably –– the inside of the 'box'.
And in this prison-like room, she is crouching. With her forehead pressed on her knees and her arms around
This is the girl I loved.
Upon hearing my words, she slowly raises her face.
A faint light flares up in her eyes that seemed almost dead just now.
"I can't believe it! There's no way everything could go that well for me!"
Tears flow down her cheeks.
At first that seems very strange to me, but I quickly notice the reason.
"––you really came to save me."
You can shed tears again.
"Mogi-san, I'm sorry. But I plan to destroy the 'Rejecting Classroom'."
Mogi-san nods while in tears.
"I plan to let you die in the accident."
She wipes off her tears.
"You may destroy the 'box'. You may also end my life. But please wait a moment. There's something I want
to tell you."
Saying so, Mogi-san starts to look for something in her bag. She takes something out and hides it behind
Maria frowns at Mogi-san's behavior.
"Mogi... not again..."
Mogi-san ignores Maria and approaches me, hiding her hands behind her back.
"...wait, Mogi! Please stop this alrea––"
"That's not it, Maria."
I admonish Maria. I can't see what Mogi-san is hiding. But I already know already what it is.
Maria reacts to my words with a dubious expression and goes around Mogi-san. When she recognizes the
object in Mogi-san's hands, she only smiles wryly in amazement.
"Kazu-kun, do you think there are unchanging feelings?"
Mogi-san asks me.
I know what to answer right away. But for her, it isn't a pleasant answer.
Thus, I have quite some trouble saying it.
I guess my answer would be different if I hadn't experienced the 'Rejecting Classroom'. But I have
experienced it. I have experienced this world that is close to eternity. Therefore I can't help thinking so.
"––there aren't, I think."
Mogi-san listens to my answer patiently.
Then she smiles.
"Yeah, I think so, too."
I peer into her eyes without thinking. As it seems she has already predicted this reaction, so she keeps
smiling and continues.
"My feelings for you didn't stay the same at all. You stopped being dear to me. I started disliking you, I
hated you, I considered you a hindrance. I was even about to kill you, once. But you know? That means that
I was depending on you all the time. Because I was always believing that you would rescue me from here.
Always, always... I couldn't ignore you. I know that it's the worst and most selfish feeling there is. But you
know? I couldn't help it. Even while knowing that I was being selfish. I know how this feeling is called. Even
if you don't believe in unchanging feelings, please believe just that. During all the time I've spent in the
Mogi-san embraces me very reservedly.
And gives me the object she has been hiding.
Her lips tremble right beside my ear.
"––I loved you, Kazu-kun."
Her lips approach mine. Just as they are about to touch, she stops. After staying like this for a while, she
retracts her lips peacefully without having touched mine.
Initially I want to ask why she had stopped, but I reconsider.
Because of what she has handed over to me.
In my hands is the reason why she couldn't do anything.
I understand and chewed on my lips.
It is something different from I expected.
It is an Umaibou.
That is still as expected. But it's not my favorite flavor 'Corn Pottage'. It is Teriyaki Burger flavor. The type I
don't like that much. Furthermore––
––it is the type that Mogi-san was supposed to give to me, originally.
Why did Mogi-san embrace me so reservedly? Why didn't she kiss me?
This wasn't the confession of the Kasumi Mogi that has already confessed to me countless times, that has
already kissed me and has experienced the 'Rejecting Classroom'.
It was the first confession of the Kasumi Mogi before the 'Rejecting Classroom', who could only call me
'I want to redo March 02.'
The deepest regret she had on that day
She set it right just now.
So –– I have to answer as if it were the real March 02 now...?
I look at Mogi-san.
Mogi-san is smiling gently. She is waiting with a gentle smile, though knowing my answer already.
That's just too cruel!
I don't want to say such a thing.
I mean, I loved Mogi-san. Even if these feelings were controlled by '0', the feelings themselves weren't fake.
Why do I have no other choice but to speak words that will hurt her?
Aah, of course.
I 'rejected' this 'box'. I denied Mogi-san's wish. I'm going to let her die in that accident. I don't have the right
to say kind words to her.
I open my mouth.
Still, it is quite hard to say it. I hesitate, opening and closing my mouth numerous times, but then I get
startled by a salty liquid in my mouth.
But I can't think of any other words to say to her.
"Please wait until tomorrow."
Mogi-san casts down her eyes sorrowfully.
She is definitely hurt by these words. And yet, she instantly changes her expression again. She tells me,
––with a smile.
With a smile coming from the bottom of her heart.
Due to this smile, I finally remember.
A conversation from some time ago.
The conversation that made me fall in love with her.
The conversation that was the trigger for this ephemeral love.
A dear remembrance.
«Hoshino-kun. Can you please call me Kasumi...?»
«Eh? W-Why, all of the sudden?»
«It may seem sudden to you, but I've wanted you to address me like this all the time, you know?»
«So... is it okay?»
«A-Also, err, well –– can I call you Kazu-kun?»
«Err... yeah, I don't mind.»
«O-Okay, so try calling me.»
«...please say it once more.»
«Wha...! W-Why are you crying...?!»
«Mh? Am I crying?»
«Then... it's because I'm so happy, Kazu-kun.»
And then Kasumi laughed, still with tears in her eyes.
I have never seen a smile like that before.
It was a smile that was full of pure happiness.
It was the first time I was able to bring so much happiness to someone. This sensation was very new to me,
so I got extremely happy.
To bring happiness to someone is happiness.
I was happy to have discovered such a side of me and she, who taught me this feeling, became a special
existence to me.
Maybe I'm simple.
But that smile managed to change me, without a doubt.
But I'm going to erase this recollection.
I'm going to erase this newly known feeling.
I think that's just too cruel. I think there was not need to for such an obstacle at the very last moment. I
think it's just too cruel to make me destroy such a thing with my own hands.
But even so, I have already chosen.
I have already chosen a long time ago.
I mean, even this remorse would get erased by the 'Rejecting Classroom' right away, won't it?
"Maria, can you grant me a request?"
So I just want someone to give me a little push while I'm hesitating.
"You should know what I'm going to do now."
"Yeah, because I've watched you more than anyone else in the world."
"What am I going to do now? I just want you to tell me this."
Maria nods with a serious expression. Maria doubtlessly knows the reason why I'm asking for this.
"You're going to trample it down!"
But Maria doesn't use any gentle words.
"You're going to trample down the clumsy 'wish' of someone else for the sake of your own 'wish'! It's the
one thing you won't abandon under any circumstances, Kazuki."
Yeah. I believe that I am right.
"Therefore, you will –– destroy the 'box'."
I nod to Maria's words.
I use my entire left arm and wipe off my tears.
"It's as you say."
I stand in front of the wall.
The gray wall surrounding us is thin as if it were made of paper. This 'box' has no power anymore. It's
merely enclosing my recollections and hinders them from disappearing for just a little longer.
I want to turn around and check up Kasumi's expression.
But I have the feeling that I mustn't.
I hold my right hand aloft.
In order to destroy the 'box', Kasumi's 'wish' and my recollections.
"Thank you. So in the end it really was you who rescued me, Kazu-kun."
You don't have any reason to thank me. I am only trampling down. I'm only trampling down your mistaken
Please forgive me for not being able to save you.
Therefore I ignore her voice.
But, thank you.
Because you smiled at the end, I can finally believe in myself.
I scream from the top of my lungs and beat the wall as powerfully as I can.
The wall breaks easily, like glass, with a loud sound.
Within one of the scattering pieces I can see Kasumi and myself. We are happily smiling at each other.
This piece falls down, breaks, and crumbles to dust.
White light starts to shine in from the outside. The more the wall crumbles down, the more is the darkness
corroded by the light. Except for us everything gets painted over and disappears.
It is bright; I can't see anything.
But cruelly, Kasumi is there. The original Kasumi is clearly there.
Kasumi is lying tumbled on the street. Stained in blood. It looks so painful that I want to avert my eyes.
But Kasumi is smiling. She is smiling with all her might for me.
Her mouth opens.
And then we are enfolded in pure white and disappear.
The white light enters my body. The light violently searches for my gaps and encroaches me. It paints my
insides, my blood, my heart and my brain white. The white light invades even my memory and paints it
white. My fake, but valuable recollections. This new feeling I have learned. The words we just exchanged.
Everything gets erased into white.
Everything gets erased into white.
Everything gets erased into white––
"I am Aya Otonashi. Pleased to meet you."
The transfer student says with a faint smile.
Astonished by her looks, the girls start to get noisy while the boys are completely bereft of speech.
Of course I am no exception. I think I've never seen anyone as charming as her before. I couldn't avert my
eyes even if I wanted. Our eyes meet. I am instantly captivated by her eyes. The transfer student seems as
though she is used to my reaction and smiles softly at me.
It almost makes me dizzy.
Falling in love with her is probably impossible. We are just too different. It's almost as if we we don't live in
the same world. This may sound a bit mean, but I think anyone would agree after seeing her.
"At first I would like to make a declaration."
Aya Otonashi says without losing her perfect smile.
"Please, –– do not make friends with Aya Otonashi –– with me."
The classroom sinks into silence at once.
This declaration is enough to put the entire boisterous class to silence. It's almost like magic.
"Please do not take offense at this. If possible, I would love to make friends with everyone. This is, however,
not possible. Because ––"
"–– the existence of Aya Otonashi has to be an illusion."
I swallow even though I still have no clue what she's talking about.
"We are a bad match anyway. We are just phantoms seen from the other. Because I am the 'transfer
student'. I am not acquainted with anyone - no one knows me either - and I am going to constantly return
to this state. I will have to endure and maintain this state of no relations for a long time. So I think it's
accurate to call me a phantom. But even while being a phantom I still have a self. I feel sad about it as well.
But I have no other choice but to accept it. Because as soon as I stop being able to accept being an illusion -
as soon as I cannot endure it anymore - I am going to be taken in by this false recurrence."
I still don't get it at all. The only thing I understand is that she's dead serious and won't let anyone make fun
"In order to become an illusion, I abandoned my real name inside this 'box'. I fear that if I use my real name,
I will become my own burden. And if I get taken into this false recurrence, you will most likely all be
She continues with a steady voice.
"Therefore, I –– have to continue being a illusion, being Aya Otonashi."
I see. I don't know what that means, but she isn't «Aya Otonashi» yet.
She is going to become «Aya Otonashi».
She probably doesn't want to. It's not what she wishes for.
Still she has no other choice but to become «Aya Otonashi».
"But I am not strong."
She bitterly says.
"I suppose there will be times when I want to complain. However, I will stop being «Aya Otonashi» as soon
as I show any sign of weakness hereafter. Therefore, I will show this weakness right now. I––"
It's by chance.
Yeah, I guess it's just by chance, but without doubt––
––she is looking at me when she says
"I –– want someone to be by my side."
And then she smiles at me.
"Well then, please let me introduce myself once again."
She speaks as if to convince herself.
"I am «Aya Otonashi». I hope we can be on good terms during the long time that is ahead of us."
Aya Otonashi bows very deeply.
We are all still silent, unsure how to react.
Therefore, I applaud.
The sound of my hands clapping together is the only sound to be heard.
Finally someone joins the applause. After him, someone else starts to applaud as well. The sound of
applause gets steadily louder.
When all our classmates are applauding, she finally raises her face again.
But she's not smiling anymore.
She's clenching her fist strongly and looking straight ahead in an imposing manner.
It is magnificent weather with a deep blue sky.
The first thing I did after waking up was to confirm today's date on my mobile phone. «April 7». Today's
«April 7». I also checked in the newspaper and on the TV to confirm that it's really «April 7». Well, of course
I know that there's no meaning in such a confirmation. But since the time I was involved in the 'Rejecting
Classroom', I can't help but do so. Or else I become very anxious.
The events of the 'Rejecting Classroom' remained in form of knowledge. But I can only recall t hose
memories with a feeling of looking at pictures that were snapped at a place I've never been. The 'box',
Maria, '0' - I know what they are. But the corresponding emotions are not there anymore. No anger, no
sadness - nothing. So even if I was in love with someone, I would have probably forgotten it by now. Maybe
I'm going to gradually forget those memories because they are so faint.
I mean, we weren't supposed to meet anyway, so I'm sure we won't meet a second time.
Anyhow, today's «April 7», the day of the opening ceremony.
I've become a second year student.
My classroom changed from the 4th floor to the 3rd floor. It's not like the scenery really changed for the
better just because the classroom changed its floor and moved a bit westwards. Nevertheless, the air feels
completely different as I enter the classroom of the second year's 3rd class. I get so excited that I even
seized my chest.
After checking the seating chart placed on the teacher's desk I sit down accordingly. My new classmates
reply lively when I greet them lightly with a «Let's get along well». Yeah, I feel good vibes.
Another one enters the classroom.
He discovers me and raises his hand.
"Heyho, Hoshii! So we're in the same class again!"
Despite it being ordinary words, the glances of all the other 15 class members focus on us. Yeah, Haruaki is
as loud as ever.
"Mh, what's the matter?"
I look at him with suspicious eyes.
"...why do I look like a fake? Did you perhaps think I were some twin of myself? Were you influenced by
some super famous manga so that you now think that all high-school baseball pitchers are twins?!"
For some reason I start to doubt Haruaki's personality itself...
"Ah right, Hoshii! Come to think of it––"
"'Morning, Haru and Kazu-kun!"
A new voice interrupts Haruaki.
Kokone is standing by the door of the classroom. And beside her is Daiya.
Ah, did those two affectionately come to school together today as well? If I mentioned that, Daiya would
make me suffer mental harassment all day long, though, so I don't say it out loud.
"My heart beat faster for a second, being greeted by a girl, but whaat, it's just you, Kiri? What a waste of
"Hey Haru... What's with that reaction? Who do you think you are?"
"Er, well, I'd just like you to stop being so obsessed about me that you would chase after me just to be in
the same class."
"Haa... so you try to hide your embarrassment of being fascinated by me with such phrasing? You wea~~lly
are a child, Haru-chan, awen't you? Ah, right. Can you finally stop filling your mobile phone with my Moe
"Who would do such a thing!?"
"«My Masteer~»... come on! Now's the chance to add some new data to the Haru Moe-Moe voice
collection! Shall I give you one more chance? If you like, I can add a «Welcome home~» this time?!"
What's with this conversation... Please stop it, it's embarrassing.
"Haa... hey Kazu, do you have firecrackers by chance? I would love to ignite one and jam it into Kiri's mouth
"And then what about you, Daiya? You're jealous that I provide my Moe Moe voice only to Haru? Don't
worry! If you genuflect and kiss my feet, I'll say «Onii-chan» to you, bearer of a little sister fetish. Oh aren't I
"How about a «Sorry for being born»?"
...nothing has changed at all with the class change.
But this is what I wished for.
I feel a bit lonely without Maria and Mogi-san, but to regain this is what I fought the 'Rejecting Classroom'
"...why are you grinning all by yourself? That's repulsive, Kazu!"
Daiya points me out.
"Ah, really. Kazu-kun's grinning. How horny he is. I bet he's imagining the girl sitting beside him, stumbling
I deny it immediately, making Kokone pucker her lips.
"But who's sitting there anyway? Do you know? Some cute girl?"
Haruaki asks me while shamelessly sitting on said seat. I know since I also checked the name of the people
sitting in the neighboring seats when I looked up my own.
"Yeah. It's a cute girl!"
"For real?! Who is it?!"
She has a seat. I'm glad about that. The fact that she has a seat means that the possibility of her sitting
there also exists.
Her seat won't be beside mine anymore by the time she returns, but I don't mind.
I tell them the name of the girl sitting beside me with a smile
That day I almost thought the rain would continue for an eternity.
I headed to the hospital right after I heard of Mogi-san's accident from Daiya, therefore being absent from
school. I used a taxi since the hospital she had been transported to was not within the city. An unbelievable
behavior, considering that I value a peaceful life over anything.
But I had to do so. Since I have fought against the 'Rejecting Classroom', I had to know the outcome.
I was the first to reach the hospital, even before her family. Then I waited together with them, while being
mistaken for her lover, for her operation to end.
The operation succeeded... apparently. But Mogi-san didn't regain consciousness on that day in the end.
It was two days later that I could finally meet her, since I wasn't allowed to enter the ICU. By then she had
gotten moved to the general ward.
Mogi-san was on her bed looking very pitiful. The sound of the electro-cardiogram and the artificial
respiration made my eardrums vibrate. Both her feet and arms were fixated, her face covered with bruises
and one arm was hanging down, having turned violet due to the intravenous drip.
Seeing the wounded body of an acquaintance at an hospital alone almost made me reflexively shed tears.
But I was not the only who wanted to cry. I wasn't allowed to cry in front of her. I suppressed my tears and
looked at her face, peering just a little.
Mogi-san seemed a bit surprised when she saw me. I'm not too sure, though, since she didn't move her
Her family had told me that she may have regained consciousness, but not yet spoken a word because of
But Mogi-san opened her mouth, trying to tell me something with all her might. I told her not to over-strain
herself, but she didn't listen to me and tried to speak.
Mogi-san directed her first words at me, making her oxygen mask white with her breath.
"––I'm so glad. I survived."
I couldn't understand her well, but it sounded to me like this.
Mogi-san burst into tears after having said just that. When I let my gaze wander while being at loss where
to look, I discovered her dirty bag beside the bed. I saw a silver wrapping in the opened bag. Knowing what
it was, I took it in my hands unconsciously. A Teriyaki Burger flavored Umaibou. It was crumbled and not in
its original form anymore. When I kept touching it thoughtlessly, I suddenly couldn't endure it any longer
and broke out in tears.
I didn't know why it happened with this timing. I remember that she gave it to me in that world, but I can't
recall the reason why she did so.
But my tears were real.
After that I went to her hospital room in the general ward several times. Mogi-san tried to talk to me as
brightly as possible.
"While I was unconscious, I had a long dream."
Mogi-san told me this once. Apparently she believed it was all a dream.
A thought suddenly crossed my mind. Mogi-san couldn't escape from the fate of getting run over by a truck
in that world. And the fact that she survived each time didn't change either. This might be the reason why
the 'Rejecting Classroom' has remained intact, regardless how often she met with the accident.
But though she was able to survive, apparently she wouldn't be be able to move her lower body anymore.
At the time of the accident, she suffered a blow to the back which injured her spinal cord. Chances of
recovery were not just hopeless, it was actually impossible.
I couldn't help but stay silent since I didn't know what words to direct at her. To bridge the uneasiness
Mogi-san had said as follows:
"I always thought that I'd think 'I had better died' if it came to this. You understand those thoughts, don't
you, Hoshino-kun? After all I won't be able to walk with my own legs anymore. Even when I'd like to go buy
me a little dessert at the convenience store next door, I won't be able to do so carefreely. I can only go if I
depend on someone else or if I take out my wheelchair. All kinds of hardships just to buy a dessert! Isn't
that cruel? But it's kind of strange. I don't think of dying at all. I wonder why? I think so, really, from the
bottom of my heart––"
––that I'm glad being alive.
Mogi-san had said so without a bit sham or bluff.
"So I'm alright. I won't quit school either. No matter how much time it takes, I will recover. Maybe it won't
be the same school like you guys anymore, but I won't give up."
She had smiled and had shown me her biceps weakly.
It's embarrassing to admit, but at that point I burst into tears in front of her. I was glad. Glad that her most
important wish was granted.
––can I do something for you?
I want to help her as much as possible. I thought so in all honesty. Therefore I had asked her.
Mogi-san started off with, "I'm very happy that you ask this" and continued bashfully,
"I want you to reserve me a place to return to. I want you to build me a place to be once more."
––Once more? Did I ever build you a place to be?
"......within this long dream you have."
After responding like that, Mogi-san had averted her eyes for some reason.
At the entrance ceremony.
I recall something as Haruaki sighs during the ceremonial address of the principal at the gymnasium.
"Come to think of it, Haruaki. Weren't you about to tell me something this morning?"
"Mh? ...aah, right! Right! I've heard some rumors that there's a super cute girl among the new students!"
Haruaki batters my shoulders and gives me a wink.
"Well, then I don't care. As senior I won't have any occasion to talk to her anyway."
"Are you an idiot?! Just being able to watch a cute girl is already happiness!"
I don't want to believe that this is the common perception.
"But when did you hear this rumor? Today's the first time we're going to see the new first years after all?"
"Will wonders never cease! It's Daiyan's information!"
I can't believe this readily. I've never seen Daiya talk about a girl.
"You don't believe me, do you? But there is a proper reason that Daiyan knows! You know that Daiyan has
only mistaken two problems in the entire entrance examination, right?"
"Yeah. He boasts about it frequently. That he established the record for our school."
"This record was beaten in just one year!"
Haruaki says so, happy with all his heart. He really can't be helped. ...But I can understand him.
"Err? What does this have to do with Daiya knowing about this cute girl?"
"You're really really dull, Hoshii. What I'm saying is, that this cute girl has beaten his record by getting
perfect score in all subjects. Therefore, Daiyan was informed by the teachers, being the previous record
holder. The teacher told him at the time that she was so beautiful that even he, as an adult, got nervous."
That's exaggerating. Getting nervous... in spite of having lived much longer?
The ceremonial address of the principal has ended during our talk.
The chairman turns on his microphone.
"Thank you very much, principal. ...let's proceed with the greeting of the freshmen representative––"
"Look, she's coming out! The rumored beauty!"
I see. She's the representative who does the greeting since she's also the top student.
It's started to interest even me, so I look around in order to find her.
"The representative of the freshmen––Maria Otonashi."
A name that seems extremely familiar to me. ...no, no. That can't be. Maria was called Aya Otonashi, after
But this voice is without doubt hers. It's Maria's voice.
Aah, I see. I finally got it.
«If you've forgotten, remember now. My name's «Maria».»
Hah. So she was telling just the truth then.
...oh? So I was calling Maria all the time by her first name...? UWAA! UWAAAAAA!3
"...why are you getting all red, Hoshii?"
She mounts the platform with more elegance than anyone else. She already has a great presence, having
lived longer than anyone here.
The students get noisy just by her looking at her.
A face I know very well. This face of hers that has been beside me for a long time.
She's wearing a brand new uniform.
Yeah, I think that's against the rules. I'd never have thought she'd be younger than me.
Maria lets her glance wander about, standing at the platform. Her glance meets mine. And this wandering
gaze stops on me for some reason.
Then she smiles.
My body gets easily and completely paralyzed by this.
Maria begins her speech without releasing me from her gaze. Even the noisy students get silent upon
hearing her imposing voice.
"Isn't she somehow constantly looking over here? Oh shit, maybe she fell for me?"
Haruaki cracks jokes, but I am so absorbed by Maria's gaze I can't even respond.
I am only looking at Maria.
Maria is only looking at me.
"––I conclude the greeting of the freshmen. This was the representative of the freshmen, Maria Otonashi."
Maria alights the platform.
And right after doing so, the students became noisy again. No, not only the students. Even the teachers are
But I am, without a doubt, the most confused.
Because Maria doesn't return to her original place, but heads towards me.
The students automatically make room in the direction of her movement, impressed by her authority.
Maria takes advantage of this and heads to me straight ahead.
The path from her leading to me.
Aah, geez. Has she still not gotten rid of this habit from that world? It might be okay to have no reservation
inside that world, but it doesn't work like that here, does it?
I already realize that my everyday life is going to get destroyed.
But I laugh, nevertheless.
3 You usually call only intimate people by the first name in Japan.
It's a real bother.
It's a real bother, but no... it just doesn't feel like one.
At last, the students in front of me move aside. Haruaki moves away from me, too. We are surrounded by
empty room almost like the eye of the cyclone.
In the midst of the gaping wide space, Maria is standing in front of me.
I thought that we wouldn't meet anymore.
But thinking about it, there's no way she wouldn't come to my side.
After all, it's her goal to obtain a 'box'. She has no other choice but to approach me, who is targeted by '0'.
She opens her mouth easily.
"I'm always by your side no matter how much time passes––is how I declared war to you once, but this still
continues, as it seems."
After having said so, she introduced herself once again.
"I am «Maria Otonashi». Pleased to meet you."
The freshman bows very deeply, like she did long ago in the past.
Therefore, I applaud like I did long ago in the past.
For a while, my clapping is all that resounds in the gymnasium.
Then Haruaki starts to applaud without knowing the situation. Pulled in by him, someone else starts
applauding. Although nobody knows what happens, the applause grows louder.
In the middle of this magnificent applause, she raises her face.
But she's not smiling anymore.
She's clenching her fist strongly and looking straight at me in an imposing manner.
Hello, I am Eiji Mikage.
It has been right three years since my previous work. If there have been readers anticipating my new book,
I beg for pardon. And also, thanks for not forgetting me.
There was a period in which I came to a halt, but it's not like I gave up writing. The reason that I didn't
publish a book in three years is simply because of my own lack of power.
I wrote this book with the intent of a high entertainment value. My stance concerning my intention of
writing novels has changed as well.
But I couldn't help but to get anxious with all this change. Won't my quality disappear? Won't my faithful
readers feel betrayed by me? Won't it be buried under the numerous other great books?
This was the anxiety - and fear - I was fighting against at every moment of writing «Utsuro no Hako to Zero
But this anxiety and fear had disappeared before I knew.
Because I noticed that this book is nothing but my own book.
I believe that it has become a book, I'm able to say «Try reading it» to the readers that liked my previous
works, to the readers that didn't, and also to the readers that didn't know me at all up to now.
How was it? Was it amusing, now that you tried reading it?
If the answer is «YES», then there's no greater delight for me.
By the way, this is my 4th book and also my first one with illustrations.
To be honest, I was worrying that the interpretation of the reader would change due to illustrations at first,
but when I received a mail with a rough sketch, I changed my mind.
It was the sensation of my own characters stopping to be owned by only me.
It was the sensation of having my characters escape from my control.
This time, I didn't know the looks of my characters until I was almost finished with writing, so the influence
was only small, but I'm going to slip this "independence of my characters" in my future works.
I'm eager to know what the outcome will be.
Furthermore, I received support from lots of people while writing this book. To say it clearly, the weight of
my gratitude is just different this time. Because I finally could strongly feel for the first time that I was able
to complete a book like this.
Therefore, my thanks is going to become respectively long. I beg pardon.
All the people in the editor team of ASCII Media Arts. The proofreader. The designer. Thanks all of you.
415-san who had drawn the illustrations for me. I was anxious about illustrations at first, but as soon as I
saw 415-san's illustrations, this anxiety got wiped away. My days have since changed to having various
delusions while looking at his illustrations with a grin all day long.
My friends that have helped me develop myself, all my colleagues at my part time job.
My family that has watched over me when I had quite problems to get a book out.
Yuu Fujiwara-san. I'm really thankful that you encouraged me when I was about to rot because my
manuscripts were getting rejected non-stop.
And of course Kawamoto-san who's in charge of me. If it wasn't for you, this book would have never existed.
I'm amazed that you didn't abandon me, looking at how I was in the past - no joke. You helped me grow in
various aspects, not only regarding books. I'm really thankful. Best regards also in the future.
And then of course I'd like to thank all you readers that took this book into your hands.
Novels exist because there are readers who read them. All of you are part of this novel... which would be a
bit rude to say, but anyway, you are indispensable components.
I hope I could convey my gratitude to everyone at least a bit interestingly.
I hope that we will associate for a long time from now on if possible.
Ah, and then, somehow sorry for writing such a boring afterword!
- Eiji Mikage
I live in Saitama. My shoe size is 24.5cm. Men's shoes have no minimal size. When I went bowling with
some friends the other day, my rental shoes were the only ones that had a Hello Kitty printed on them.
I live peacefully in a corner of the Tokyo Metropolitan area with a mechanical pencil in my hand.
My room's always a mess with all the mangas and materials in there, so I have set “keeping my room
beautiful for more than a month” as my goal this year.
Under no circumstances would you be allowed to take
this work for commercial activities or for personal gain.
Baka-Tsuki does not and will not condone any activities
of such, including but not limited to rent, sell, print,
Story : Eiji Mikage
Illustrator : Tetsuo / 415
Translator : EusthEnoptEron
Editor : Kadi, Grrarr
PDF Maker : Arczyx